Fast bowler Sreesanth will feature in Kerala Cricket Association’s (KCA’s) inaugural T20 tournament – the KCA President’s Cup – which is scheduled to begin from December 17, pending the state government’s approval. It will be Sreesanth’s first involvement in representative cricket since the end of his ban for his involvement in the IPL 2013 spot-fixing scandal. It will also be the 37-year-old’s first chance to push for a return to domestic cricket. His last competitive match was in May 2013.
Sreesanth’s ban – initially a life ban – had been revised to seven years in 2019 and officially ended in September this year, following which he had expressed a keenness to play competitive cricket again. Kerala coach Tinu Yohanan had told ESPNcricinfo in September that the door is open for a Sreesanth return, subject to his form and fitness.
Sreesanth had been training with the Kerala Under-23 teams earlier this year, and has been on record stating that he has been working on his fitness from as early as last May. He is, by far, the biggest name in this six-team tournament that will be held in Alappuzha until January 3. He will play for the Kerala Tigers, captained by Sachin Baby. Sanju Samson will miss the tournament as he is on national duty in Australia.
India’s domestic season is yet to be officially chalked out as the daily Covid-19 numbers continue to be in excess of 40,000 new cases. In a September interview with the Times of India, Sreesanth said that the uncertainty around the domestic season had left him “shattered” and on the verge of quitting cricket, before suggesting that he would look to play abroad if cricket in India wasn’t a realistic chance.
“From last May, I have put my heart and soul into training,” he had said. “So when I read about domestic season being a non-starter, I was shattered. I even thought of quitting the game but thought I wouldn’t be doing justice to myself as all the efforts I’ve made to play the game would have gone down the drain. If the domestic season in India is cancelled, I will have to look at other options. If there is no cricket here, I might as well request the BCCI to allow me to play abroad.”