A captain who enjoys handling Sreesanth

In most circumstances,you can almost bank on Sreesanth to stay in the news.

Written by Devendra Pandey | Mumbai | Published: May 16, 2013 2:47:49 am

In most circumstances,you can almost bank on Sreesanth to stay in the news. If not for his exploits with the ball then certainly for the inimitable histrionics he’s prone to indulge in on the field. But unfortunately during IPL VI so far,the temperamental Kerala speedster has only graced the headlines once and that too for his unprovoked twitter rant against Harbhajan Singh for a long-forgotten misadventure from many years ago.

Sreesanth’s had little to write home about as far his collection of wickets is concerned (5),but he has been economical (7.52). But despite being the lone established Indian pacer in the Rajasthan Royals camp,he’s appeared in seven matches—that too intermittently. But come India’s next major Test tour,to South Africa in November,and the 30-year-old pacer might well be back in contention. If anything for his impressive past record against the Proteas in their backyard—27 wickets at 28.55 in six matches—not to forget the obvious inexperience in Team India’s present fast bowling ranks.

While Sreesanth has perennially come with a handle-with-care tag around his neck,Rahul Dravid has been one of the few captains who’s managed to channelize his fast bowler’s inherent aggression and bring out the best in him—both with India and now at Rajasthan. The Royals skipper though insists that Sreesanth’s destiny now lies in his own hands when it comes to his cricketing future.

“Sree’s got a lot of skill as a bowler. A lot of talent. There’s no doubt that when he’s bowling well,he’s probably one of the best that I’ve ever seen. It’s just a question of him realizing that he’s got to be able to be a lot more consistent to get selected,” Dravid told The Indian Express on Wednesday.

With five wickets at 32.60 and an economy of 7.52,Sreesanth for once hasn’t really prospered under Dravid’s captaincy so far this IPL. His inconsistent returns have meant that the Royals have been wary of giving him a long run in the tournament.

“If he’s going to go up and down (with his performances) obviously captains and selectors are going to say we don’t know which Sreesanth to get and expect. And they’ll go for a safer option,so it’s really up to him,” the former India captain added.

It was under Dravid after all that Sreesanth experienced his greatest hour in international cricket,at Johannesburg in 2006,where his inspired spell of swing and seam won India a famous Test. Greg Chappell,who was India coach back then,however,insisted that a fit and performing Sreesanth would be one of the first players he would pick for the South African tour.

“I have never seen anyone bowl out-swing at genuine pace with better control and a more perfect seam position than Sree demonstrated in that Test (Johannesburg) and the next one in Durban back in 2006. That includes the great Dennis Lillee,’ he wrote in a newspaper column recently.

The emotional state

The former Australian captain also revealed that while Sreesanth’s bowling could fluctuate based on his emotional state,the onus was on the team management to focus on his positives and ignore the negatives. Dravid though believes that the eccentric pacer was at a crucial juncture in his career and the onus was on him to to pull up his socks.

“He’s got to figure out what he wants out of his life and where he wants to go along with the legacy he wants to leave. And you can only guide him. The decisions only he has to make,” said Dravid.

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