S Sreesanth’s chances of a comeback received a boost with Kerala Cricket Association and the coach Tinu Yohannan saying they’d be happy to take him in their side, should he prove his fitness once his ban ends in September.
Now, the pacer is eyeing a return to the Indian team and is confident of playing the 2023 World Cup, although he will be 40 years old then.
“I still believe I can play in the 2023 World Cup. I firmly believe that,” Sreesanth told Deccan Herald when talking about the influence of Tim Grover, a fitness coach. “One of the things he taught me was to be unapologetically me. I was always unrealistic with my goals but that’s with most athletes. If you don’t have unrealistic goals, you’re going to be mediocre. I think when you manage to convince your subconscious to believe in these unrealistic dreams, great things can happen. You can achieve anything.”
Sreesanth thanked the KCA and said he is in touch with Yohannan and a few players to organise unofficial nets to chart his way back to the side. The biggest hurdle could be fitness, considering he is 37.
“I am not at all concerned about my fitness. I am very confident. The movies and the shows kept me going, they required me to be in some shape. I fully immersed myself in the routine of working out to avoid depressive phases. In fact, I tried my hand at MMA too in between because my anger and stress needed some outlet. I couldn’t hit anybody so I did the closest thing: hit a punching bag or a mat. I think one of the best things I did was spend my money wisely on hiring some of the finest people for the job… Ramji Srinivas, John Gloster, Tim Grover…. all these people have helped me tremendously. I am in constant touch with them. See, it will be difficult but it’s not impossible. I look at it as a seven-year break. The young people were busting up their bodies while I preserved it. I am raring to go.”
Sreesanth also opened up on depression and suicidal thoughts, saying there was a phase where he was ‘living a dual life’. His family, he says, helped him battle suicidal thoughts by keeping him sane.
“It (suicidal thoughts) is something I battled with incessantly in 2013,” he revealed. “It was there everywhere I turned, the easy way out, but my family kept me sane. I had to stick around for my family. I knew they needed me. That’s why the news of Sushant Singh’s (Rajput) death affected me so much, besides the fact that he was a good friend.
“I was on that edge but I walked back because I knew how much it would hurt those who believe in me and love me. I am writing a small book, it should be out in a month or so, about this episode and about how you’re not lonely. And how if you are lonely, it’s not necessarily a bad thing because great things can come from this space of loneliness.
“These moments of loneliness can give you rare insights into your own being. That’s huge because people don’t appreciate who they are. I don’t like talking about this but there was a time when I was struggling to pay my bills. I didn’t know where my next meal would come from. That’s why I am so grateful for all the shows that hired me and trusted in me.”
Sreesanth was banned by BCCI in 2013 for his alleged role in the IPL spot fixing sage, before it was lifted last year. He last played for India in 2011.