Back from two career-threatening injuries, pacer S Sreesanth says that the months spent on wheelchair prior to his comeback to first-class cricket were the "darkest" of his life.
When Sreesanth led the Kerala attack in the Ranji Trophy recently, he was doing so after a gap of 14 months.
"Who says men don't cry? I used to sob like a baby as I was forced to move around in a wheelchair for two months after twin surgeries on my toes," an emotional Sreesanth said during an interview from his hometown Kochi on Friday.
"To be honest, I started thinking that probably, I won't be able to play cricket again. It was such a scary thought. Those 14 months were the darkest phase of my life," he added.
Sreesanth was indebted to the support he received from various quarters.
"After two months on wheelchair, I had to walk around in crutches for another three months. Thanks to BCCI, Kerala Cricket Association and NCA for standing by me in crisis period. The moment, I announced that I am fully fit, Kerala CA didn't think twice before selecting me," he said.
The maverick pacer will be playing for India 'A' against England at the Palam ground here on Sunday.
"This is a fresh start for me. I want to extract every ounce of enjoyment possible from the matches that I would play from now on. Be it for Kerala, India A or India, I don't want to relax one bit. I have two platinum nails inserted in my big toes but I have a lot of fire in my belly," he added.
"Earlier, I used to think that there are days where I can relax. But now I know that life is fickle. You have to give your hundred per cent as long as it lasts."
So what did he do during the break? The man, who is now a month shy of his 30th birthday, said, "As I got busy with my cricketing commitments, I had stopped penning my thoughts in a diary. I would write about each day of my life during that phase. Watch the CDs of my good performances for India. We have a rock band and did a bit of jamming and yes, prayed a lot."
Has this injury forced any technical change in his bowling, he said, "Earlier, I had a 26-step run-up to the bowling crease but now I have reduced it to 23 steps. But I have not cut down on my pace. Even while playing for Kerala, I have consistently worked up a fair amount of pace. The only thing that I need right now is more consistency."