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Nowadays Sreesanth seems to top the list of “ Cricketers we love to hate ”. Infact I have recently read several articles online that call him rude, ill-behaved, arrogant or selfish. Now, I do not know the man personally but I felt compelled to share this story about him that portrays him in a completely different light.

Recently a Malayalam newspaper published a serialized biography of Sreesanth in about 7 or 8 parts. One part was exclusively devoted to Sreesanth’s early cricketing career and the path that he took to become part of the Indian national cricket team. In that he credits a Jayakrishnan for making him stick to the game when he was a teenager. JK was several years his senior, and knew him primarily as an enthusiastic youngster interested in cricket. He also was a friend of Sreesanth’s elder brother. For one entire chapter, Sreesanth specifies how JK intervened with the selectors of the Under 13 team in Kerala when he was suspended from the team, for a teenager’s outburst, despite getting plenty of wickets. He says JK encouraged him to go to Bangalore for a camp conducted by Brijesh Patel which proved to be the turning point in his career. He expresses in detail, his gratitude to JK and the affection with which he holds him. He also describes his emotional relationship with JK’s mother who is referred to as his second mother throughout the article.

JK is my cousin brother. He died in a car accident about 8 years ago, he was 29. My family has not come to terms with his untimely death—even now. He was a competent cricketer himself although he played only at the university level. His fame and exploits, cricketing or otherwise were legendary—but only within our immediate family.

There are very few people who give credit to the people who helped them on their way up—especially if they are not “somebodies”. But giving credit to a person who passed away 8 years ago, without any hope of getting credit or any thing in return is truly heartwarming. I very much appreciate Sreesanth’s gesture in doing that. He reassured my aunt, made her feel valued, made sure that her son is still being remembered and alone makes me respect the guy. Despite his busy schedule and “stardom”, he still makes time to visit my aunt or talk to her.

My family will always be very proud of Sreesanth, not for his cricketing skills but for his humanity and in acknowledging my brother’s contribution to his success. Sreesanth’s words keep his memory alive and make sure that my brother did make a difference not only to our lives but also to several others.

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