Tried my hand at MMA because my anger and stress needed some outlet: S Sreesanth

India cricketer S Sreesanth is still harbouring dreams of making a comeback in the national team and even feature in the 2023 ICC World Cup as his ban will expire in September this year.

The BCCI had banned Sreesanth for life in August 2013 for his alleged involvement in the 2013 IPL spot-fixing scandal that rocked the Indian cricketing fraternity. In 2015, however, a special court in Delhi acquitted him of all charges.

Sreesanth recently received a massive boost in his comeback journey as Kerala coach Tinu Yohanan said the India pacer will be considered for selection if he can prove his fitness.

“I still believe I can play in the 2023 World Cup. I firmly believe that. 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,” Sreesanth told Deccan Herald.

In 2018, the Kerala High Court had struck down the life ban imposed on the cricketer by the BCCI and also quashed all proceedings against him. However, a division bench of the High Court restored the ban.

Sreesanth then moved the Supreme Court against the order. And last year in March, the apex court upheld his guilt but asked the BCCI to reduce his quantum of punishment. The cricket board then reduced his life ban to seven years which will come to an end in September this year.

“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.”

Sreesanth also opened up on how his family helped him overcome suicidal thoughts during the toughest phase in his life.

“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,” Sreesanth said.

Sreesanth has so far played 27 Tests, 53 ODIs and 10 T20Is for India. He last featured in an international match in August 2011.

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