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Syed Mustaq Ali Trophy 2021: Sreesanth marks return with a wicket off his trademark delivery

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All eyes were fixed on Shanthakumaran Sreesanth as the 37 year old pacer made his return to first class cricket after a period of over seven years. Sreesanth stepped out to play for Kerala in their Syed Mustaq Ali opener against Puducherry on Monday. The Indian pacer was a part of the  2007 ICC T20 World Cup and 2011 ICC World Cup winning squads. However, Sreesanth was handed a ban in 2013 after he was found guilty of spot fixing during an Indian Premier League match.

Sreesanth had returned to training after his ban ended in 2020 and videos of him troubling Kerala batsman were going viral. The Syed Mustaq Ali trophy was delayed owing to the covid-19 pandemic. However, it was a blessing in disguise for Sreesanth who got extra time to get back in shape and impress the selectors.

Sreesanth conceded nine runs in his first over against Puducherry. The 37 year old came storming back in his second over, picking a key wicket of Fabid Ahmed with his trademark delivery. The pacer rolled back the years as the ball managed to move away from the right hander after pitching. The ball clipped the top of the off-stump which handed Sreesanth his first wicket after making his return.

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Sreesanth was added to the Kerala squad in December after he had an impressive pre-season campaign. The pacer was acquitted of all charges in 2015 by a special court after which Kerala High Court reversed the lifetime ban on the pacer. However, a division bench of the High court restored his ban, after which Sreesanth approached the Supreme Court, where his ban was reduced to seven years.

The Indian pacer ended with impressive figures of one wicket for 29 runs in his four over spell. Puducherry were restricted to a score of just 138 runs in their 20 overs, which was comfortably chased down by the Kerala team. Sanju Samson, captain of Kerala played a handy knock, scoring 32 runs in 26 balls which includes three fours and two sixes.