Shanthakumaran Nair Sreesanth, better known as Sreesanth is a famous Indian cricketer who has represented the country in all the formats of the game. The right-arm seamer was a great addition to the Indian bowling line up in the late 2010s. Hailing from Kerala, Sreesanth is also the first Keralite to play in the international t-20 cricket. He was famous for his outswingers and aggression on the field, before ending up being banned for life in major IPL controversies. Still, Sreesanth has managed to remain in the limelight, working his way up and becoming a fitness model, a politician and a TV actor. Here is a detailed look at Sreesanth’s life and biography.-- Advertisement --
Shanthakumaran Nair Sreesanth
Date of Birth
6 February 1983
25 October 2005
1 March 2006
Born on 6th February 1983 in Kothamangalam in Kerala, Sreesanth was the youngest to 3 siblings. Inspired from the legendary Indian spinner, Anil Kumble he started as a leg-spinner in cricket. However, his elder brother encouraged him to try fast bowling after noticing his habit of bowling yorkers. Sreesanth debuted in first-class for Kerala against Goa in the 2002–03 domestic season. He made a mark from the very first season, scalping 22 wickets in 7 matches in the Ranji Trophy.
After his international debut, picked up for India A side, he was restricted after 12 overs against New Zealand A, due to a hamstring injury. Sreesanth got the awaited attention after claiming a hat-trick against Himachal Pradesh in a Ranji Trophy match in November 2004. This followed his best performance while representing India B in the Challenger Trophy in October 2005. He ended up winning the Man of the Series award after being the leading wicket-taker in the tournament. Soon after this, he got the national call for a home series against Sri Lanka in October 2005.
Sreesanth represented the national side in 53 ODI matches, scalping 75 wickets in the same. His best bowling figure of 6/55 came against England at Indore. Despite his inconsistent health and not so great performances, Sreesanth was fortunate to replace critical pieces in the line up in big tournaments. He made an unexpected entry in the ICC Champions Trophy 2006 Ajit Agarkar was ruled out due to injury, later in the competition. He was left out of the squad courtesy of his poor economy rate.-- Advertisement --
Similarly, in the ICC World Cup 2011, Sreesanth made it to the roster owing to Praveen Kumar injury. Nevertheless, he went wicketless in the tournament after playing in just two matches. He was dropped after being expensive in the first game, going for 53 runs in 5 overs. The story did not change when he was given a chance in the World Cup finals as he ended up being hit 52 runs in 8 wicketless overs. Sreesanth had his matches though, recording two 4-wicket hauls and the single 5-wicket haul. Anyways, his eccentric behaviour and celebratory attitude added up to the overall entertainment package for the better part of his career.
Sreesanth played in 27 test matches, striking 87 wickets in the 50 innings he bowled. He had a dream start in the test career, scalping four wickets in his debut game against England, followed by a 5-wicket haul, later in the same series. Sreesanth claimed another 5-wicket haul in the following series against West Indies. But the best was in store for India’s tour of South Africa 2006. India miserably lost the ODI series to the Proteas 4-0. In the first test match at Johannesburg, Sreesanth produced his best performance along with the best figure. India won its first test match ever on the South African soil as they bowled out the Proteas in the first innings on the back of Sreesanth’s 5/40. Sreesanth was the man of the match.-- Advertisement --
Sreesanth played his last test match on 18th August 2011 against England. He was also called as among the best bowlers of reverse swing by former Indian captain MS Dhoni.
T-20 Cricket and IPL
On 1 December 2006, Sreesanth became the first Kerala Ranji player to be capped in the T-20 international cricket. In his short span career of 10 international matches, he scalped seven wickets. 2 most important ones out of these 7 are of the Australian openers, Adam Gilchrist and Mathew Hayden in the 2007 ICC T-20 World Cup Semi-Finals. Sreesanth proved to be expensive in the Finals against arch-rivals Pakistan. Anyways, he is the man who catches the ball to dismiss Pak’s Misbah in the final over. And effectively help India become the first-ever T-20 Champions of the world.-- Advertisement --
In the Indian Premier League, Sreesanth started with the Rajasthan Royals in the inaugural season. With 18 wickets, he was the second-highest wicket-taker in the edition behind Pakistan’s Sohail Tanveer. Sreesanth also played for the Kings XI Punjab and Kochi Tuskers Kerala in the subsequent season before returning to the Royals in 2012. His IPL career has many long breaks due to severe injuries and health issues. In 2013, Sreesanth was allegedly involved in the spot-fixing case with some other Rajasthan Royal players which culminated with the termination of his contract and also a life-time ban from BCCI from cricket.
Throughout his cricketing career, the Indian pacer has been involved in various controversies. In the 2006 South Africa tour, Sreesanth was fined after breaching ICC’s advertising logo policy, and also for “conduct contrary to the spirit of the game” after sending off Hashim Amla after dismissing him. A 30% match fee fine was charged against him. Listed reasons were running towards Hashim Amla after picking up his wicket. And also wearing a branded garment under the jersey.
The Big Brother Slap
Sreesanth was also once slapped in the face by Harbhajan Singh over his aggressive celebration after Kings XI Punjab’s victory over the Mumbai Indians at Mohali. Sreesanth was famously caught by TV cameras sobbing inconsolably on the field. He later came out saying he had no complaints against Harbhajan who was “like an elder brother” to him. Harbhajan was then banned for the rest of the season for this act.
IPL Spot Fixing
On 16 May 2013, Sreesanth along with Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan were arrested by the Delhi Police on charges of spot-fixing during IPL 6. Sreesanth’s cousin, Jiju Janardhan, was another key figure in the case. According to police, Sreesanth confessed to spot-fixing on 17 May 2013.
On the contrary, Sreesanth has always denied the charges, claiming he was forced to confess. Sreesanth and the rest of the accused were later handed life-ban from cricket from the BCCI. Although Sreesanth was let off by a Patiala House court in July 2015, BCCI refused to lift the ban. The Supreme Court revoked the life ban and asked the board to decide again within three months. This was a lifeline to the 36-year old, although it was unlikely that he would ever play again.
Career Statistics: Sreesanth
Batting and fielding averages
Sreesanth was born Santhakumaran Nair and Savithri Devi in Kothamangalam, Kerala. He is the youngest among 4 siblings with 1 elder brother and 2 elder sisters. Apart from Sreesanth, the family has a celebrity status of its own. His elder brother, Dipu Santhan owns a music company in Kochi. Nivedita, his eldest sister, is a television actress in Kerala. Also, the other sister Divya’s husband Madhu Balakrishnan is a famous South Indian playback singer.
Sreesanth married his girlfriend Bhuvneshwari Kumari on 12 December 2013 at Guruvayur Sri Krishna temple in Kerala. Bhuvneshwari Kumari aka Nain Shekhawat is the daughter of Hirendra Singh Shekhawat and Muktha Singh.
Sreesanth acting and political career
Sreesanth was a part of a reality show ‘Ek Khiladi Ek Haseena’ alongside Surveen Chawla in 2008. After the life ban, Sreesanth participated in the dance reality show Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa in 2014. Recently, Sreesanth participated as a celebrity contestant in the Bigg Boss 12. His highly controversial stay ended up with him being the runner up in the 12th edition. In 2019, he also participated in the reality show ‘Khatron Ke Khiladi’ before getting eliminated in the 3rd week.
Sreesanth joined the ruling party BJP on 25 March 2016. He secured a total of 34,764 votes contesting the assembly elections from Thiruannantpuram. But unfortunately lost the election to VS Sivakumar (Congress) by 11,710 votes.