There comes a time in the life of every youngster when a choice has to be made between his passion and profession. While most youngsters pursue their profession and their passion takes a backseat, there have been a few instances when love for the game of cricket has forced a few professionals to give up their profession and take up cricket professionally.
The passion for the game of cricket was such that in spite of toiling it hard to get a professional degree, there were no second thoughts to give up their profession to pursue a career in cricket.
Here is a look at five cricketers who in spite of being professionally qualified, took up the game of cricket as their profession.
5. Geoff Lawson
Geoff Lawson, the former Australian fast bowler, is an “Optometrist”(Healthcare profession concerned with eyes and related structures) by qualification. Lawson chose cricket over qualification. The fast bowler picked up 180 wickets in 46 Test matches and 88 wickets in 79 ODIs for Australia in an international career of 9 years i.e. from the year 1980 to 1989.
After retiring from the game, Lawson took up commentary as well as coaching assignments. He was the coach of the Pakistan cricket team from July 2007 to October 2008. He also coached the IPL team Kochi Tuskers Kerala in 2011.
4. Saeed Anwar
Saeed Anwar was one of the finest openers to have played the game of cricket. Anwar studied at NED University of Engineering and Technology at Karachi and graduated from NED in 1989 majoring in Computer System Engineering.
His plans to study further and obtain a Masters degree took a back seat when he decided to take up cricket as his profession.
The left-handed opener played 55 Tests scoring 4052 runs at an average of 45.52. Anwar was a successful ODI batsman where he scored 8824 runs in 247 ODIs and led Pakistan to many victories in international cricket.
3. Krishnamachari Srikkanth
Srikkanth redefined the definition of an opener by his aggressive style of batting. Be it a Test or an ODI, Srikkanth was not shy of playing attacking cricket from the first ball he faced. Srikkanth was a vital member of the Indian squad which triumphed in the 1983 World Cup. He also had the privilege of leading India in Tests for a brief period.
The hard-hitting opener graduated from College of Engineering, Guindy in Chennai. Srikkanth decided to take up cricket as a profession after becoming an engineer and was one of the greatest openers India have ever produced. The opener played 43 Tests scoring 2062 runs. He was more successful in the ODI format where scored 4091 runs in 146 matches.
Post-retirement, Srikkanth was the Chief Selector of the Indian team from September 2008 to 2012 and gave opportunities to many youngsters under his tenure.
2. Anil Kumble
The most successful bowler for India in international cricket, Anil Kumble, has graduated with B. Tech in Mechanical Engineering from Rashtreeya Vidyalaya College of Engineering.
Kumble is one of the most respected players to have played the game of cricket and was known to give his 100% on the field. His brave act of bowling with a bandaged fractured jaw in Antigua showed his dedication and commitment towards the game. Kumble, in spite of being in a lot of pain, bowled his heart out and picked a wicket in that spell.
Kumble, in his illustrious career for India, bagged 619 wickets in 132 Tests and 337 wickets in 221 ODIs.
Towards the end of his career, Kumble got the opportunity of leading the Indian Test team. His captaincy was tested during the monkey gate scandal in Australia in 2008. However, he handled the sensitive issue with a lot of maturity which ensured that the issue was resolved amicably. Kumble, during his playing days, was a true gentleman on and off the field.
1. Javagal Srinath
Srinath holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Instrumentation Technology from Sri Jayachamarajendra College of Engineering (SJCE), Mysuru.
Srinath was one of the best fast bowlers to have played for India during the late 1990s and the early 2000s and was one of the main reasons for the success of the Indian team in the 2003 World Cup. Srinath is the only fast bowler to have represented India in four World Cups. He was known to generate good pace early in is his career and with time mastered bowling incutters and inswingers.
Srinath bagged 236 wickets in 67 Tests and 315 wickets in 229 ODIs. Since the last decade, Srinath has been included in the ICC panel of match referees and is a respected figure in international cricket.