S Sreesanth packed a lot of controversy during his relatively brief international career. But the Indian pacer also produced moments of brilliance that his supporters – as well as detractors – still remember. One such moment was the legendary celebration after he carted Andre Nel for a six right after a verbal exchange with the fast bowler during India’s South Africa tour of 2006-07.
Nel’s fellow South African pacer Dale Steyn remembers it well. In reply to a Twitter question from ESPNcricinfo about a batter and shot that gives fans the chills, the bowling legend has said: “Sreesanth and his slog off Andre Nel for 6 with the swinging bat celebration. Legendary,”
Years after hanging up his spikes, Sreesanth recalled the shot and the subsequent celebration that saw him wildly swinging his bat in front of Nel.
“Andre Nel was talking a lot,” Sreesanth told Sportskeeda. “He kept saying that Indians don’t have a heart and that they were the better team. I wanted to tell him to look at the scoreboard once; we had the upper hand. I had gotten out for a duck in the first innings, and a lot of our better batsmen hadn’t scored too many runs that day.”
Sreesanth, who won the ICC World T20 in 2007 and ODI World Cup in 2011 – called it “momentary madness” and said former India captain Sourav Ganguly’s shirtless celebration at Lord’s after his team’s victory in the final of Natwest Trophy was on his mind.
“It was some momentary madness. I had that memory of Dada flinging his shirt over his head after the Natwest Trophy final in 2002. I basically replicated the action of taming a wild horse with the bat. I didn’t get out to Nel in that entire series. I even hit him for three boundaries in Durban, but I didn’t dance there,” he said.
India lost that series 1-2 after winning the opening Test by 123 runs.