Sreesanth quits Indian domestic cricket

S Sreesanth, the controversial right-arm bowler who won the 2007 T20 World Cup and 2011 ODI World Cup with India, has drawn on a career that began 20 years ago. The 39-year-old, who has represented his country 90 times in all three formats, finished with 169 international wickets.

Sreesanth announced his retirement on Twitter. “With great sadness but no regrets, I say this with a heavy heart: I am quitting Indian domestic cricket (first class and all formats). For the next generation of cricketers.. I have chosen to end my first class cricket career This decision is for me alone, and while I know it will not bring me happiness, it is the right and honorable action that I must take at this point in my life.”

This announcement brought down the curtain on a career that was recently rebooted after Sreesanth overturned a lifelong suspension from the sport for his involvement in the 2013 IPL spot-fixing scandal. He was one of three Rajasthan Royals players. who were punished, but in 2019 the Supreme Court set his sentence aside, prompting the BCCI to reduce his suspension to seven years, a period ending in September 2020.
As a result, Sreesanth became eligible to play domestic cricket again, and he returned as part of the Kerala T20 squad in January 2021. Sreesanth played the most whiteball games last season, but has announced that he will retire just one first-class game in 2021-22.
Even as a raw talent, Sreesanth caught the eye, culminating in the throw he threw to hit Sachin Tendulkar’s stumps in the Challenger Trophy. His outswinger was a thing of beauty, not to mention he was the architect of one of India’s greatest test victories. Fresh off a tour of the West Indies where he handed Brian Lara a duck, Sreesanth, then 23, grabbed a five-for that gave India their first test win in South Africa.

All that skill came with his series of quirks, best illustrated when he punched Andre Nel for a six and began to dance for the bowler, swinging his bat around.

Sreesanth’s star would rise even higher by 2007, at the T20 World Cup, where he took six wickets and the all-important title-winning catch. He went on to play two games at the 2011 ODI World Cup, including the final, and finished his career with two World Cup medals – a feat only a handful of players can boast of.

“Today is a difficult day for me, but it is also a day of reflection and gratitude,” Sreesanth said on Twitter. “Playing for Ecc, Ernakulam district, ranges from league and tournament teams, Kerala State Cricket Association, BCCI, Warwickshire County Cricket Team, Indian Airlines Cricket Team, Bpcl and ICC has been a huge honour.

“During my 25-year career as a cricketer, I have always strived for success and winning cricket matches, preparing and training with the highest standards of competition, passion and perseverance. It has been an honor to meet my family, my teammates and the people of India.”

Overall, Sreesanth took 87 Test wickets and finished with a bowling average of 37.59. In ODIs he took 75 wickets at an economy of 6.05. In his ten T20Is he took 12 wickets.

While Sreesanth battled it out against the BCCI to revoke its ban in the 2010s, Sreesanth also dabbled in the entertainment industry, appearing in regional cinema, reality TV shows and dance events. In 2016, he also took part in the Kerala assembly elections, but lost. Most recently, Sreesanth failed to shortlist for the 2022 IPL auction, despite having his name listed.

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