Sreesanth opens up on battles with South African players

  • Sreesanth told Sportskeeda about how Rudolph's comments before a tour match irked him.
  • Sreesanth also looked back at the infamous incident with Andre Nel during the Wanderers Test in 2006.
Modified 15 May 2020, 21:51 IST

Sreesanth celebrates after hitting Andre Nel for a six.
Sreesanth celebrates after hitting Andre Nel for a six.

Former Indian cricket team pacer Shanthakumaran Sreesanth opened up on his battles with South African players during an Instagram Live with Sportskeeda. He specifically spoke about the incidents involving Jacques Rudolph and Andre Nel.

Sreesanth’s history with Rudolph began during a tour match in Potchefstroom during India’s tour of South Africa in 2006/07. Rudolph, who was the captain of the Rest of South Africa team, brushed aside the fast bowler saying he was overrated. This did not sit down too well with Sreesanth.

“We had gone to South Africa in 2006. We were playing in Potchefstroom against a team captained by Jacques Rudolph. When he was asked about Sreesanth, he claimed to not know me. He also said that they do not consider me a fast bowler since I was ‘too slow’, and that I was overrated and wouldn’t make a difference in the series. History is going to repeat in the sense that India will come here and lose,” Sreesanth told us.
“The next day, I got him with my first ball. Then he got out first ball in the second innings. Three years later, when I was playing for Warwickshire, he was the Yorkshire captain. We were joking around but I got him out first ball once again,” the speedster added.

Sreesanth recalls the incident with Andre Nel

On being asked about the incident with Andre Nel, Sreesanth put it down to momentary madness. The former Kochi Tuskers Kerala pacer claims that the South African sledged him saying that the Indians had no heart and that the hosts were the better team. 

What followed was Sreesanth hitting the bowler straight back over his head and setting off on a jig that is not quite as common on a cricket pitch. Certainly, a moment that has stuck with Indian cricket fans for years since.

“Andre Nel was talking a lot. He kept saying that Indians don’t have heart and that they (South Africa) were the better team. I wanted to tell him to look at the scoreboard once, we had the upper hand. I had gotten out for a duck in the first innings, and a lot of our better batsmen hadn’t scored too many runs that day,” Sreesanth recalled.
“It was some momentary madness. I had that memory of Dada (Sourav Ganguly) flinging his shirt over his head after the Natwest Trophy final in 2002. I basically replicated the action of taming a wild horse with the bat. I didn’t get out to Nel in that entire series. I even hit him for three boundaries in Durban but I didn’t dance there,” Sreesanth fondly remembers.

A feisty player that wore his heart on his sleeve, Sreesanth last played a Test match for India back in 2011 after being part of the team that lifted the World Cup that year. In the time that he was away from cricket, he has forayed into other fields like acting and politics.

However, Sreesanth maintains that he aims to return to the Indian cricket team and win the 2023 ICC World Cup before calling it quits.

Published 15 May 2020, 21:51 IST
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