Slap-gate passe, Sreesanth wishes Harbhajan well in IPL 2009

The slap-gate episode is no longer in S Sreesanth’s mind and the Kerala pacer has no qualms in wishing Harbhajan Singh a good performance in the second Indian Premier League starting on April 18.

Sreesanth said being a Kings XI Punjab player he considers himself a Punjabi and would wish Harbhajan all the best in the IPL.

“I wish all the best to him (Harbhajan). At the end of the day he is a Sardar and I am also a Punjabi as I am playing for Kings XI Punjab. So I wish him all the best in the IPL. He is just like my brother,” said Sreesanth, who has been ruled out of the IPL due to a back injury, in a teleconference.

The Kerala pacer was also not considered for India’s 30-member Twenty20 World Cup preliminary squad because of the back injury but Sreesanth is thinking of being able to bowl in the semifinal or final of the IPL if Kings XI Punjab reach that far.

“I am flying down to South Africa on Tuesday, will meet team physio Patrick Farhart there. I will have an MRI or bone scan done and see how much I have recovered. You never know I may be bowling in the semifinals or final,” said Sreesanth, who will be the mentor and community face of the team.

Sreesanth, however, is confident he would have recovered fully by the time of Champions Trophy in September-October in South Africa and he is targeting to get back into the Indian team in that tournament.
“It is disappointing not to have made to the T20 World Cup squad. But some things are not in my hands. I am hoping to be part of team for the Champions Trophy in South Africa. I hope I would be fully fit by that time,” he said.

Kings XI Punjab have been hardest hit with Australian players, including strike bowler Brett Lee, to miss the IPL due to national duty and West Indian fast bowler Jerome Taylor to play only for a few matches but Sreesanth said his side was a team to beat.

“I don’t think our bowling resources have been depleted. We have still Irfan Pathan and Piyush Chawla who had done well in the Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa which India won. I am pinning hopes on them to do well. There is also VRV Singh.

“We are a strong team. We had reached the semifinals last year and we have four players of the Indian team who had won the Twenty20 World Cup. Yuvraj is in great form and hope he would continue to hit sixes like the six sixes in the Twenty20 World Cup,” said Sreesanth.

Asked what exactly would be his role in the team, Sreesanth said, “Basically it is all about interacting with the fans and the people to make a fan base, cheering with the cheerleaders.

“I will interact with the fans on the club official site and select two fans who will travel to South Africa to watch the last three matches of our team. I will also take part in the team practice and give tips to the bowlers.”

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