Andre Nel, the South African fast bowler, who S Sreesanth dramatically hit for a six after being given some lip service in Johannesburg back in 2006, is left wondering how a talented bowler has made headlines for all the wrong reasons.
Nel (35) played international cricket last in 2008 and was similar to Sreesanth in temperament. His on-field antics made him a controversial figure. However, he was never embroiled in a corruption controversy. “He (Sreesanth) was a decent bowler, but I don’t know why he got involved with fixing. I was shocked when I read about this. It’s pretty stupid that he got involved with fixing when everybody now is on the lookout for people who indulge in it. It’s pretty stupid of him to do it,” Nel told MiD DAY from Pretoria.
The incident involving Nel and Sreesanth caused much laughter when, after being sledged by the South African in India’s second innings, the tailender hit him over his head for a six. Sreesanth then danced and waived his bat emphatically.
In an interview to ESPNcricinfo, Sreesanth revealed what Nel said to him: ‘I am playing for this (pointing to the SA emblem on his shirt). You are a scared fellow, rabbit. I will get you next ball.’ While Nel may have not enjoyed that incident as much as Sreesanth, who had the last laugh since he led India to their first Test win in South Africa with an eight-wicket haul, he is saddened by the possibility of the closure of Sreesanth’s cricketing career.
“It is very tragic. Even Pakistani fast bowler Mohammad Amir got involved in fixing. It’s a tragedy that he is not playing despite being so talented. It’s sad he (Sreesanth) looked further — at the money — instead of just thinking about playing cricket for India.
“Hopefully, there is a clean-up and cricket gets a good name after being sullied by fixers,” said Nel.