World Cup: Is Sreesanth Being Sidelined Inside the Indian Cricket Team?

Abhijit RajaCorrespondent IFebruary 20, 2011

BANGALORE, INDIA - FEBRUARY 13:  Shanthakumaran Sreesanth of India and Ricky Ponting of Australia talk to each other during the 2011 ICC World Cup Warm up game between India and Australia at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium on February 13, 2011 in Bangalore, India.  (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)
Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

The 28-year-old pacer from Kerala has been quite the character in the Indian cricket team for the past three to four years. 

He has been involved in a lot of incidents, both on and off the field. 

If anyone meets Sreesanth outside the cricket field, they would not believe the kind of antics he performs on the field.

He has had more than his share of spats with the batsmen, with the match referees cautioning him more than once. 

The first time anyone took notice was the famous incident in South Africa, when he did his tribal dance after hitting Andre Nel for a six, though this time he had been provoked by the bowler. 

The media and the Indian commentators hailed him for the same, openly praising him for giving back to the bowler. 

His passion was being touted as one of the his biggest assets. 

However, the problem was that his antics were not only meant to rattle the opposition, but somehow became his nature on the field. 

He started getting out of control, even rubbing his Indian team-mates the wrong way.

IPL-1 saw the famous incident of Harbhajan slapping Sreesanth after Kings XI defeated Mumbai Indians. Although, in no way defending Harbhajan, who has had his share of disciplinary problems, most people agree he had been provoked by Sreesanth.

To this point, the Indian establishment seemed to be working on Sreesanth's issues behind the scenes.

Then came the public warning to Sreesanth from the selectors, cautioning him about his behaviour.

Even the captain, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, in a public conference in the tour to South Africa, talked about Sreesanth's behaviour.

Even in the first two warm-up games, he had run-ins with Ricky Ponting and Brendon McCullum. Both were cases of verbal volleys, with the on-field spat with Ponting concluding by Sreesanth pointing an L sign at Ponting.

After the match, even Ponting brushed off the incident by saying, "There's very few games go by that Sreesanth doesn't have something to say to a few of us. That's just the way it goes."

Even Dhoni said Sreesanth needs to be playing the role of rattling the opposition rather than his team mates and warned him about remaining within his "limits."

Such public statements just show that Dhoni is not a big fan of Sreesanth, and he is living on borrowed time in the Indian cricket team. Even a couple of bad performances might be enough to drop him. 

Even yesterday, in the post-match conference after India's victory over Bangladesh, Sehwag stated that, "Everyone had a good game except Sreesanth."

Even if the statement was true, rarely does one see a player pointing out a bad performance of a team member. Such statements just show that, the pacer seems to have lost the support of the dressing room.

The Indian skippers of the past have been known to back their players, through rough patches as well. 

Sreesanth though, seems to make a come-back into the Indian team again and again due to the injuries or bad form of his compatriots, rather than due to the management's backing.

No one doubts the obvious talent he has, but some improvement in the behaviour might just help him get the support that he requires to become a regular in the Indian Team.