Sreesanth - Early Years

Early Years

Sreesanth was born to Shanthakumaran Nair and Savithri Devi. He has one elder brother and a sister. His brother Dipu Santhan owns a music company in Kochi and his sister Nivedita is a television actress in Kerala. His brother in law, Madhu Balakrishnan is a famous South Indian playback singer. Sreesanth is Hindu Brahmin.

Sreesanth initially was a leg-spinner in his childhood, modelling his action on India's leading Test wicket-taker Anil Kumble, who was to become his Test captain. However, his habit of bowling yorkers led him to convert to fast bowling, after being encouraged by his elder brother. Following in the footsteps of fellow Kerala fast bowler Tinu Yohannan, who earned selection to the National Cricket Academy in 2000, Sreesanth was selected for the MRF Pace Foundation in Chennai. He then made his first-class debut against Goa in the 2002–03 domestic season, claiming 22 wickets in seven matches in the Ranji Trophy and winning selection for South Zone in the Duleep Trophy squad in the same season.

He was selected for India-A side in a tour match against the visiting New Zealand side at Rajkot. He claimed one wicket in twelve overs after being restricted with a hamstring injury. He also missed five Ranji Trophy games in that season, although he still travelled with the side for away games. This led to rumours that an astrologer convinced him to take a break from competition to preserve his longevity in the sport, which Sreesanth categorically denied, maintaining that he was training only to regain his fitness.

In November 2004, Sreesanth entered the record books when he took a hat-trick against Himachal Pradesh in a Ranji trophy game. He was selected to represent India B in the Challenger Trophy in October 2005, a domestic limited-overs tournament. He performed impressively in that tournament, earning the Man of the Series award and being the leading wicket taker (7) with the third best bowling average. This led to his selection to Indian team for the home ODI series against Sri Lanka.

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