Sreesanth makes the final cut

April 2nd, 2011 - 9:23 pm ICT by IANS  

Sachin Tendulkar Mumbai, April 2 (IANS) Shanthakumaran Sreesanth’s date with destiny continued Saturday.

The seamer, who was not part of the India’s original World Cup squad and came in as injury replacement for Praveen Kumar, played the opening game of the competition and then only in the final here.

After playing the opening Group B match against Bangladesh, he had to wait for 42 days to play his next game and that turned out to be the final against Sri Lanka here Saturday.

The temperamental Kerala speedster had bowled only five overs against Bangladesh Feb. 19, costing him and India 53 runs. For the next six weeks he warmed the bench, cheering the progress of the team as Nehra came into reckoning.

Nehra, who bowled impressively during India’s 29-run victory over arch-rivals Pakistan in Wednesday’s high-voltage semifinal, sustained multiple fractures on the middle finger of his right hand while fielding and Sreesanth had to be perforce included.

India’s skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who felt it safe to go in with three seamers against Sri Lanka on the Wankhede pitch rather than two spinners, took the gamble of picking Sreesanth over offie Ravichandran Ashwin.

When the original squad was announced a disappointed Sreesanth tweeted: “I will keep giving my very best to the game no matter how small my chances are… I truly believe in God. With the realization of ones own potential and self-confidence in ones ability, one can build a better world.”

As luck would have it, Praveen’s injured elbow failed to get the doctor’s nod and Sreesanth was back.

In the final Saturday, Sreesanth shared the new ball with Zaheer Khan and, to be fair, bowled his first fours overs pretty tight, going for only 18 runs and also extracting movement from the track.

He, however, soon lapsed into his charactersitic waywardness and was hit for three fours in the fifth over, one off a free hit for overstepping.

He returned later to bowl three more overs, but was unable to arrest the run flow. After leaking 52 runs in his eight overs, Dhoni had to ask Sachin Tendulkar to bowl two overs to complete Sreesanth’s quota of 10.

Interestingly, Sreesanth had tweeted on the morning of the match: “You owe it to yourself to be the best you can possible be — in cricket and in life. I believe in working hard and never ever giving up.”

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