Former India star takes first wicket in nine years after life ban overturned

Former India bowler Sreesanth was 'overjoyed' after taking his first wicket in first-class cricket for nine years, having made a return to the sport in his late 30s after being hit with a lifetime ban in 2013 from the BCCI.

Sreesanth played a total of 90 internationals for India across all formats, but was implicated in the 2013 IPL spot-fixing scandal and banned for life.

However, after a long court battle, Sreesanth's ban was reduced to seven years in 2019, meaning he would be free to play cricket again in September 2020.

He was unable to make his first-class comeback until this year, though, with the previous edition of the Ranji Trophy, India's leading first-class competition, getting suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Sreesanth made his return to competitive cricket in a T20 match for Kerala in January last year and he has now returned to first-class cricket as well, playing his first game in nine years as Kerala beat Meghalaya by an innings.

The 39-year-old took the new ball for his side and celebrated emotionally when he dismissed Aryan Bora, dropping to the ground and getting mobbed by his teammates.

In a post on Twitter, Sreesanth wrote: "Now that’s my 1st wicket after 9 long years..gods grace I was just over joyed and giving my Pranaam to the wicket ..#grateful #cricket #ketalacricket #bcci #india #Priceless"

In a separate tweet, Sreesanth called on fans to not write him off, insisting he still has "much more to offer to cricket".

He wrote: "These are my new ball bowling last game. Unless and until u guys watch me play pls don’t write me off looking at scorecard.

"Lots of love and respect to each and everyone of u..I have much more to offer to cricket I will never ever give up".

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