Andre Nel seen bowling to S Sreesant © AFP (file photo)
Andre Nel seen bowling to S Sreesant © AFP (file photo)

One of the most memorable incidents from India-South Africa rivalry came during the 2006 Test series. It was a raging S Sreesanth that danced his way to Andre Nel’s mindset during the Johannesburg Test, which India won. In an interview with Cricbuzz, speaking about Sreesanth, former South Africa pace-man said: “When I saw him walk out, the first thing I thought was ‘hit him on the head. To be fair, that was generally my thought no matter who was batting.”

Nel known for his sledging took on Sreesanth early on. He recalls, “To be honest, I can’t remember what I said. It was a heat of the moment thing and probably something along the lines of ‘I’ve got more heart than you’. I honestly couldn’t say for sure.”

Sreesanth responded Nel’s verbal volleys with a lofted six on over his head that enraged Nel more. Nel says, “I never saw him celebrate. When you’ve been hit for six after giving a guy a lot of lip you have no choice but to put your tail between your legs and turn around. But it was great fun. I always looked for a fight on the field and loved it when someone would come back at me.”

Talking about his rivalry with sreesanth, Nel said:  “I was the first to walk up to my opponent and shake his hand after the game. I had a laugh with Sreesanth back in the change room. He was such a character and I loved my tussle with him. I saw him around when I played in the IPL and we always spoke about that day. I know he enjoyed it as much as I did. I know the fans did too. Cricket is meant to be exciting and I hope people know how incredibly proud I was representing my country.”