Being a bat and ball game, cricket has similarities to many sports, especially baseball and golf. There are many cricketers who have excelled in other sports.Among others, Kepler Wessels was a junior Tennis player for South Africa, Jonty Rhodes was chosen to play hockey for his country in the Olympics, and Asif Karim played Davis Cup for Kenya. Here’s a list of ten cricketers who would make an interesting feature in other sports:
#1 MS Dhoni (Football)
India’s limited overs captain, MS Dhoni, was a goalkeeper in his school days, and enjoyed playing as well as watching the game. He still has a passion for football, and is currently the co-owner of Chennayin FC.
If if weren’t for his coach’s intervention, Dhoni would have continued progressing in the goalkeeping ranks. A student of DAV school, his quick reflexes in front of the bar were recognized by Keshav Ranjan Banerjee, the cricket coach of his school, and put into use behind the wicket.
Known for his imposing presence, goalkeeper Dhoni could push and shove away rogue strikers while collecting the ball in his box. Just ask James Anderson and Mustafizur Rahman, who have taken a tumble for coming in front of a running Dhoni.
He was also the keeper during the 2014 Celebrity Charity Challenge, saving all the penalties barring one.
#2 Andrew Symonds (Rugby)
Built like a beast, Symonds was a regular in the Australian team for the most part of the 2000s. He was known for his explosive batting in the middle order.
With a physique similar to a rugby player, Symonds could well have been one, especially because of his fondness towards the game since his childhood. Fans will remember the incident when he knocked out a pitch invader in 2008 with just a nudge of his shoulder.
Also, fast reflexes and swift movements were regular features of his fielding. In 2011, he played in the ‘Legend of Origins’ rugby match held for victims of the Queensland flood.
Many won’t know, but Symonds considered a switch to Rugby in 2002, when is cricketing career was in doldrums. Rugby’s loss became cricket’s win.
#3 Mitchell Johnson (Football)
With a Merv Hughes-esque moustache and a fiery attitude, Johnson tormented the best of batsmen in the couple of years leading to his retirement from the game. Jonathan Trott can vouch for it.
Johnson has dismissed batsmen in all the conventional manners. In 2013, he showed his footballing skills to the world by running out an English batsman by kicking the ball right on the stumps from outside the pitch. He followed it up by repeating the same performances, to surprisingly good effect.
His celebration after the same was in trademark football style, running around the ground with his hands waving in the air.
#4 Brendon McCullum (Baseball)
Kieran Powell, forced by the poor wages of the West Indian board, recently made a switch to baseball. After his impending retirement, McCullum can make a similar move.
Known for his explosive batting style, McCullum holds the record for the second highest T20 score. His outrageous shots and athleticism have made him a hugely popular player all over the world.
Given his style of batting and his bullet throwing arm, McCullum can surely turn into a successful baseball player. It’s a pity that there is no merit to hit behind the head in baseball, because McCullum’s dilscoops would have been a rage.
#5 Ravindra Jadeja (Polo)
Great players go the whole way to find motivation for the game. Ask Ravindra Jadeja, who was dropped from the team last year.
He stayed away from bat and ball for a long time, and found his inspiration in, well, horses. And given his immense love for the beings and his skills on top of them, Jadeja should have a backup in the game of Polo, just in case.
A proud owner of as many as three horses, Jadeja would fit right in the royal traditions of Polo in Rajasthan, especially because of his kingly full name, Ravindrasinh Anirudhsinh Jadeja.
#6 David Warner (Boxing)
His timid frame notwithstanding, David Warner packs a punch at the top of Australia’s batting order, be it any format of the game. He took it quite literally when he sent Joe Root packing, punching him in a Birmingham bar in 2013 during the Ashes in England.
Maybe he can follow in the footsteps of Andrew Flintoff, and carve a career in boxing if he decides to leave this game early. His aggressive and combative instincts will be a plus point when he boxes.
#7 AB DeVilliers (Multiple sports)
Abraham Benjamin DeVilliers, or Superman, can play anything and everything. He represented South Africa in the junior hockey and football teams, and was also the captain of their junior football team, as well as the junior national rugby team.
He was also a member of their Davis Cup team, and has numerous swimming and sprinting records to his name, which also includes the fastest 100m dash in junior athletics.
He was also a junior badminton champion, and plays golf really well. That’s a lot of trophies rolled into one. Add that to his astonishing achievements on the cricket field, and you end up with a remarkable athlete.
#8 Mohammad Irfan (Basketball)
How convenient will it be if Mohammad Irfan decides to switch to basketball and play among equals, at least, when height is the criterion! The towering figure seems a misfit on the cricket field, especially when he is seen bowling to players such as the pint-sized James Taylor.
At 7’1’’, he is the tallest player to play first-class and international cricket. The average height for an NBA player is 6’7”. He used to play basketball with the army when he was a kid, and would surely fit well in a basketball court. If only he had the reflexes to match them.
#9 Jonty Rhodes (Gymnastics)
Fielding was a necessary yet ignored part of the game before Jonty Rhodes revolutionized it in the early 90s. A wonderful athlete who showed a hundred percent commitment, many followed Rhodes’ example and started working on their fielding.
With the kind of breathtaking catches he took, he was a ready portfolio for photographers, diving across horizontally, vertically, diagonally, any which way. Much like a gymnast, he could twist his body in different contortions. Ask Inzamam Ul Haq, who was at the receiving end of a superman-esque run out in the 1992 World Cup.
#10 Adam Gilchrist (Golf)
Ricky Ponting has been associated with golf for a long time, and could have even made a cut to pro-Golf if cricket wasn’t his main priority. Adam Gilchrist could well have joined him, especially with the kind of clean swing he generates using a cricket bat.
Surprisingly, Gilchrist plays golf right-handed and attributes it to the fact that his father got a lot of right-handed clubs when he was a kid.
Famous for his swashbuckling batting, Gilchrist was known to have put a golf ball in his glove while making an unbeaten 149 in the 2007 World Cup. It was revealed to be a squash ball later, but Gilchrist’s golf-style swipes didn’t go unnoticed during his playing career.