Kochi: Pacer S Sreesanth, who announced his retirement from all forms of domestic cricket on Wednesday, alleged that his wish for a farewell match had been summarily denied by the Kerala Cricket Association (KCA).
"I was looking forward to playing the match against Gujarat in the Ranji Trophy. In the team meeting ahead of the game, I had made it clear that it would be my last match for Kerala. I believe I deserved a farewell match," the 39-year-old told Manorama after announcing his retirement through Twitter.
Excerpts from an interview:
What are your future plans?
I am open to playing franchise-based leagues across the world. I have received some coaching offers too. Also, I want to focus on my film career. My first movie in Tamil will hit the screens in April. I have already acted in a Kannada movie called Kempegowda 2.
Do you think you made the decision to quit at the right time?
I have been thinking over it for the past three months. I got an opportunity to play first-class cricket after a gap of nine years, but could not play any match due to the COVID-19 situation. In the 2021 IPL auction, I was not even considered. When I signed up for the 2022 auction, nobody showed interest in buying me. I did what any normal being would have done when one gets constantly ignored and sidelined.
Any plans to set up a cricket academy?
Yes. My first academy will come up at Mookambika in Karnataka's Kollur in September.
Are you still able to bowl well?
Of course. I can still bowl at 132 kmph consistently. I can bowl as quickly as any 19-year-old bowler. However, I do not want to eat up the place of a deserving youngster.
What are Sreesanth's contributions to Kerala cricket?
After I played for India, Kerala has produced around 25 fast bowlers. I am happy that I could inspire many youngsters to take up pace bowling and do well for the state.
Do you still harbour political ambitions?
In 2016, the Prime Minister's Office contacted me and asked me to contest the Lok Sabha elections from either Thrippunithura or Thiruvananthapuram. I do not want to be associated with any political party or ideology. I can say that I worked sincerely and dedicatedly for the party which gave me the opportunity to contest.