Kolkata: Four overs, 29 runs, the wicket of Fabid Ahmed and in the end touching the crease with both hands before leaving – all these events summed as S Sreesanth made his comeback to competitive cricket after eight long years against Puducherry in the ongoing Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament on Monday (January 11) at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai – the place where it all began.
The 37-year-old, who had started his training back in June last year after completing his seven-year ban imposed by the BCCI for an IPL spot-fixing case, has the same stance, same run-up and the accurate line and length just like what was during his hay-days. But Sree has slowed down on his pace, maybe the pressure of a comeback got better of him.
Among all these, one thing that stood out for Sreesanth was patience – the hunger to be back on the field, to bowl those darting Yorkers once again, and above to don that blue jersey for which he took the game up for. For a lot of cricketers, even the youngsters, Sreesanth has become a role model. One such gentleman is Odisha spinner Pappu Roy.
The 25-year-old, who went wicketless on Monday in Odisha’s drubbing at the hands of Bengal in the same tournament, has been a fan of the Kerala pacer not for his bad deeds but for the things he had done to get back onto the field again.
“I have been a great admirer of Sree bhai. To wait for seven long years is a great thing. The patience that he has shown towards his comeback is incredible,” Roy told The Lateralz from his hotel in Kolkata. “The best part is that the events around him didn’t let him go down mentally. It only made him stronger.”
Roy, who won the Deodhar trophy playing for India C under the leadership of Ajinkya Rahane, is also playing the patience game waiting for a chance in the top flight – Indian Premier League and the senior India side. While his India dream may take time, an IPL call can be a reality if performs big in the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament.
For the information, the left-arm orthodox spinner had given trials at Mumbai Indians for two consecutive seasons but has to return empty-handed despite a good show during the camp. “The selection is not in my hands but what I can do is focus on my bowling and work hard every day,” Roy said.
He also has been a vital cog in the Odisha line-up in the limited-overs matches for several years now with 46 wickets in 31 games till now. The IPL has been the launching pad for many youngsters making their way into the national side and this Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament provides a great opportunity to get into that launching pad to relish their dreams.