It was the 1996 World Cup and Sri Lanka were grinding the opposition with ease. Besides having the likes of Muttiah Muralitharan and Chaminda Vaas in their bowling line-up they had an explosive batting unit too.
It was Sanath Jayasuriya and Romesh Kaluwitharana who gave the islanders a perfect start with some dazzling strokeplay and later on the likes of the then captain Arjuna Ranatunga and Aravinda De Silva would carry on from where they left.
Most of the times the ploy to “tonk it hard” in the first fifteen overs worked for the Lankans and eventually they became the champions.
Jayasuriya was praised for his power-hitting and his knocks are still fresh in the minds of the Sri Lankan supporters but not many know he came into the team as a left-arm spinner who could bat a little.
But then again just before the 1996 world event started, Jayasuriya, time and again was shining with the bat. As a result from lower down the order, he was asked to open the innings by his captain Ranatunga. In this article, we will, however, look into just the reverse. We have listed five cricketers who started off as batsmen but then became world class bowlers.
#1 Ravichandran Ashwin
Ashwin has grabbed 10 wickets in the first Test and 6 in the second in the ongoing Test series between India and New Zealand with his crafty offspinners. He is also in the running to claim the man-of-the-series award provided he comes up with another match-winning performance in the last Test but hasn’t he been batting brilliantly too in the last few Test outings?
He has two centuries in his previous seven innings. If you are wondering how he has enhanced his batting skills now, strain your brain no further because Ashwin started off as a batsman in junior cricket. He was quite good with the willow too but his coach decided against it and asked him to bowl spin. He made his ODI debut for India in 2011 and has gone on to claim 142 wickets from 107 matches. His bowling figures in the Test matches are even more staggering. He has 207 Test wickets from 38 outings.