When cricket comes to Sreesanth's constituency

The out of favour India cricketer wants Virat Kohli and his boys to win the T20 series against New Zealand at the Greenfield International Stadium in Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala on Tuesday.

Sreesanth will not be able to attend the first international cricket match in his constituency but he is happy that his former colleagues will visit his state for an international match, which is the series decider.   -  Getty Images

S. Sreesanth, who contested from the Thiruvananthapuram constituency representing the BJP during the Kerala Assembly elections last year, finished third. V. S. Sivakumar of the Congress won the seat by a margin of 11,747 votes. A year has passed, but there seems to be no end to Sreesanth’s struggles.

The 34-year-old former India fast bowler — whose career choked following the IPL spot-fixing controversy in 2013 — will not be able to attend the first international cricket match in his constituency. The Greenfield International Stadium in Thiruvananthapuram is set to host the third and final T20I between India and New Zealand on Tuesday, thereby becoming the 50th international cricket venue in the country.

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“I would have loved to watch the match, as it is happening in my constituency. But since I am banned by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), I am not even allowed to watch the game, which is a little disappointing. But it’s alright, there are other things keeping me busy these days. I don’t even know whether I will be free that day. It also becomes difficult to follow cricket when you aren’t a part of it,” Sreesanth told Sportstar on Sunday.

The life ban imposed on him by the BCCI stays, and a division bench of the Kerala High Court in Kochi recently said that Sreesanth will have to stay away from the sport. But he still believes in his dreams. “I don’t want to give up on my dreams. I want to give my best every single time I take the field. I am fortunate to have a beautiful wife, lovely kids and a good bunch of friends who support me and keep me motivated in every possible way,” said Sreesanth, who played 27 Tests, 53 ODIs and 10 T20Is for India.

The bowler — who is also remembered for taking Misbah-ul-Haq’s catch off Joginder Sharma that heralded India's victory against Pakistan in the final of the inaugural ICC World Twenty20 in 2007 — said he will appeal to the Supreme Court to get his ban lifted. “Cricket is missing in my life, that’s true but the sport is controlled by the BCCI. Not only in India, but across the globe. I hope I will get some justice from the Supreme Court,” said Sreesanth.

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His equation with the Kerala Cricket Association, however, is smooth. “They are supporting me and are keen on making me play. But a few administrators in the BCCI aren’t giving me the green signal,” he informed.

Nonetheless, Sreesanth is happy that his former colleagues will visit his state for an international match, which is the series decider. “Don’t forget to quote me here. I wish the Indian cricket team the very best for this match. I hope they win the series and may Kerala see the best cricket match ever. Let’s hope the state gets to host more international matches after this one,” he added.

While Virat Kohli and his boys will battle it out against the Kiwis, Sreesanth will probably be running an extra mile on the treadmill in his gym. He has been training hard and trying to regain focus. “I just have to be patient. I am completely fit and I am training hard. All I need is the green signal and a few weeks. I need two or three matches and I will be back in the reckoning,” said Sreesanth, who was also a part of M.S. Dhoni’s World Cup-winning team in 2011.

“I love every cricketer who has played for the country, because it is not easy to make it to the national squad,” Sreesanth said.