29th March, Delhi
Do you remember Santhakumaran Sreesanth? The breakdance celebrations after hitting Andre Nel for six, sledging Sachin Tendulkar, the crazy hair, Slapgate (involving Harbhajan Singh), the perfect wrist at ball release, the reverse swing, that outswinger and, of course, the corruption?
Scratch that, how could anyone forget him in the first place?
Well, Sreesanth is back. OK, not quite with bat and ball in hand on the field. He was banned for life by the Indian cricket board for his involvement in a spot-fixing scam with the Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
No, Sreesanth is stepping out into another, slightly different public field: politics. That’s right – Sreesanth will be contesting elections on behalf of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Thiruvananthapuram.
It is, he told the Hindustan Times something he had been thinking of doing for a while. "I feel more youngsters should join politics. I found it's the best way to serve the people and the country."
Policy-making, for now, sounds a little vague, though he is hardly alone as a politician in that. “Like in cricket, I will be aggressive in politics too,” he said. “But I don’t believe in mudslinging. I will tell people what I can do in my constituency. I have learnt about the problems plaguing my constituency.”
It could be that his legendarily abrasive style in cricket and general on-field histrionics are perfectly suited to this new career.
It turns out he has not quite given up hopes of a return to cricket. Even though a court in Delhi cleared him of the corruption charges in 2015, it is impossible to imagine he will return to the field anytime soon, if ever at all. He is 33 and the Indian board has adopted a hardline stance on the 2013 case. Still, expect the entertainment to continue.
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