When Ajax thumped Real Madrid in 2019’s UCL and renowned football commentator, Peter Drury’s baritone boomed over the microphone, citing that Ajax has their boots on the throat of the champions, many onlookers were highly speculative about what really happened there that left the defending champions of the tournament in splits.
As the concept of Velvet Revolution by the legendary footballer, Johan Cryuff came into the limelight, it was later found that in order to combat the trailing of a footballer in various parts, they were made to play other sports, that not only shaped them up in accordance with the demanding nature of the sport but honed and chiselled them in the sharpest ways to be stalwarts in their own sport.
Similarly, cricketers warm up to football and try their hands at various games in order to shape themselves up in sync with the exerting nature of cricket. From Test to T20’s, the mindset of the players travels light-years and the body has to equally adjust itself to the ever-evolving frame of mind. We will look at ten cricketers who were a part of another sport at a certain point in time but managed to find their nirvana in cricket.
Baz is one of the most eminent monikers in the glittering echelons of the Kiwi cricket team. His belligerence in all formats of the game witnessed him rising from a pinch-hitting wicket-keeper to one of the most effusive stroke playing batsmen in any format of the sport.
The erstwhile leader of the Black Caps was also a fine fielder and an equally adept wicket-keeper. However, before McCullum arrived in cricket, he burnt his hands a good deal, dabbling in rugby for his school at higher levels of the sport.
One of the most sublime women’s cricketer of all time, who was recently ennobled with all the ICC awards of the decade, Ellyse Perry has already penned an indelible chapter in cricketing history.
However, it has also known to a few fans that before she made herself manifest in cricket, she was an eminent footballer who played in the football World Cup for Australia. She made her debut for both the Australian cricket and football team at the tender age of 16 years.
The man who blazed an incredible trail for notching up the man of the match award without being in the playing eleven, Jonty Rhodes went on to chronicle a few finest catches in the history of cricket, may it be flying through the covers or hustling at the point, Rhodes has labelled himself as the epitome of phenomenal fielding.
However, cricket wasn’t really his first choice. He made a good name for himself in hockey and was also a part of the South African squad for the 1992 Olympics. He got picked up for the 1996 squad too, but a hamstring injury left his hockey dream snuffed out once and for all.
AB de Villiers
Abraham Benjamin de Villiers was meant to excel in every single sport that he was a part of. Cricket placed him on a God’s pedestal despite a surprise exit from his international career while his acrobatic abilities on the field were enough to challenge the fittest of the world.
However, what was unknown to zillions was the fact that he excelled in hockey too alongside spasmodic bursts of excellence in golf, rugby and tennis.
Brother of Steve Gatting who went on to play for Arsenal, Brighton, and Charlton before taking management as his profession, Mike Gatting tried his hand at the sport too.
The man who would later go on to lead England and play 79 Test matches, was a part of Watford reserves and his attempted failure at being a custodian in the main squad acted as a catalyst in propelling his cricketing career.
Not really a household name in cricket, Tony Wilding who was better known as Anthony Wilding excelled himself in tennis and also went on to play for Canterbury in the two-Test matches.
He also won himself a bronze medal in tennis in the 1912 Olympics that constituted one of the most significant chapters of his life.
Rudy Van Vuuren
Namibia failed to impress at the 2003 World Cup for sure but Rudy Van Vuuren went on to create a few ripples in the tournament. His brief sparks for Namibia were a pleasure to watch.
However, that was not the only World Cup which he played in 2003. He also went on to dabble in the Rugby union’s World Cup and made a good deal of name for himself. In real life, he is a physician and is an inspiring name to countless people of his country.
The man who defined England for a considerable period of time, Ian Botham rocked and rolled the cricketing roster in all the departments of the sport.
However, he also shared a sturdy affinity towards football that saw him playing for the likes of Yeovil Town and Scunthorpe United. He played 402 first-class matches and 470 List-A matches that was further bedecked with 102 Tests and 116 ODI’s.
Yuzi Chahal isn’t just a cricketer of the finest order whose spin bowling is enough to leave the best of batsmen rattled. His rise to stardom is an equally inspiring story.
However, an unknown side of Chahal is his fame in chess where he was the U-12 national chess champion and has also represented the nation in World Youth Chess Championship. Surprisingly, he was pretty good at chess as he has an ELO rating of 1956 to back his fame.
Despite being a linchpin of domestic cricket, Bill Alley failed to make himself a name in international cricket. He played 400 first-class matches garnering 20000 runs.
However, before he became a household name in domestic cricket, Alley made good use of his burly physique in boxing and went on to win 28 fights as a middleweight. Haplessly a life-threatening injury to his skull took away boxing from him and after being a legend of cricket, he went on to become an umpire of the game.