Sreeshanth: Supremely Competitive or Simply Disgraceful?

I have always cherished watching expressive characters in the cricket field. Indeed, they play a critical part in making the game as thrilling a spectacle as it is. I, for one, used to watch Shane Warne bowl as much for his twirling skills as for his histrionics involving mostly the batsmen and sometimes even the umpires. Needless to say, he was among the most competitive players ever to have played cricket. Indian speedster Sreeshanth, in his shortish career so far, has shown a very keen desire to match him in that arena. In terms of sheer theatrics, he perhaps surpassed the Aussie legend when he broke into an inconceivable dancing spree mid pitch after smacking a six off Andre Nel.

All said and done, cricket is more about scoring runs and taking wickets than anything else. While skills are a must-have, the mental and behavioral aspects play no trivial role towards a player’s performance. Aggression has been much talked about in that respect, of late. Indians, led by Sreeshanth and Harbhajan, have been very liberal with their tongue in recent times, particularly against Australia. But, does blurting out ceaseless gibberish equate to aggression?

Being aggressive as a bowler is about the unflagging belief that I can get anyone out anywhere in any match situation. More so, it’s about being proactive wherein you create chances out of thin air as opposed to patiently waiting for them to come your way. The logic behind taking a (verbal) dig at the opposition batter is simply to aid this process of inducing reckless mistakes from him. I have a feeling that Sreeshath overlooks this fundamental objective altogether, leading him to behave like a toddler in the company of men. The way he carries on with his antics irritates the viewers more than the batsmen who, by now, have brushed him aside as a crackpot.

One quality I admire in all great competitors is the generosity to applaud a praiseworthy feat by an opponent. Sreeshath’s act of clapping in Symonds’ face after the latter returned to the dressing room following a combative knock is truly against the spirit of sports. He wasn’t even in the playing eleven in that match! Being a sportsman, the least you have got to be able to do is to respect the achievements of your counterparts. Sree has got this one miserably wrong as well. To my mind, this is the most disgraceful aspect of his play, much more lamentable than his endless, pointless chatter.

It was no coincidence that it was Sreeshanth who was at the receiving end of Harbhajan’s smack. Most of the cricketing fraternity opined that Sree “had it coming”. For his own good more than the team’s, I hope he takes a hard look at himself. Else, he is headed the Shoaib waybeing preoccupied with cheesy tantrums and ending up with a career that promised more than it delivered.

PS: One of my favourite two-way sledges (in the clean category):

Glamorgan quickie Greg Thomas to Viv Richards in a county match, after beating his bat a couple of time: “It’s red, round and weighs about five ounces, in case you were wondering.”

King Viv, after thrashing the next delivery out of the ground, into a river: “Greg, you know what it looks like. Now go and find it.”


About Pulkit Parikh

A computer science researcher by training. At present, I earn my monthly wages from Microsoft, where I am a software engineer. Prior to that, I had worked with KSS and HP Labs, after obtaining MS-by-Research from IIIT Hyderabad. I hail from Ahmedabad (Gujarat), where I spent the first two decades of my life. A few years later, Sejal was kind enough to pick me as her partner for life. I am avidly fond of bridge (a riveting mind game of cards). In late 2010, I made what I consider my most significant decision:

Posted on March 19, 2008, in General Musings and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I liked the South African side under Hansie Cronje. They were an aggressive fielding side. The famous run out of Inzamam by Jonty in ’92 world cup was the perfect example of aggression.They ‘attacked’ the ball in the field. They were the first side where the fast bowlers dived to save a single. Allan Donald was one such bowler. I considered that the best aggression I had seen in the cricket field. The Aussie side under Steve Waugh and then Ponting carried that aggression forward but they introduced sledging into it. The South Africans never sledged, just ‘attacked’. For me thats aggression.

  2. That’s a fine piece, neatly written. Agree with you 100%. So far the Articles about Sreesanth were either pro or con. He’s not aggressive, he’s- as you put it- simply disgraceful. Remember Courtney Walsh, the gentle giant? He was aggressive in the true sense of the word and gentle to the core. Remember how he sent the ball through the grill of Manoj Prabhakar’s helmet, who hit a century in the first innings of the Mohali Test in 1994 to win the test and draw the series? And one of the most aggressive fast bowlers I watched playing was Craig Mc Dermott of Australia, the fiery eys and zinc cream applied on his face made his appearance fearsome.

    And there’s a fellow blogger who has written a post about sledging. Just google Rang Vandana and you’ll be directed to her blog who writes under the pseudonym ‘Mixedblessings89’. Have you heard of a newzeland southpaw who welcomed Lara saying ” Welcome to the world’s number 2 lefthanded batsman”?

    Keep up the good work.

  3. Thanks, Arun. I couldn’t locate that Lara thing in that blog. Can you please paste it here with some details?

  4. Actually I referred her article on sledging and hope you might’ve read that in her blog. That ‘Lara’ thing I heard long back. In my blog, I’ve a piece about Lara titled “Alas! Curtains have come down for a scintillating entertainer”.

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