Switched and hit : Players who switched career positions in cricket
How many of us have grown up to what we used to wish to be while we were kids? Or even how many of us have continued the same thing that we started our career with? For instance, MS Dhoni was a ticket collector, Sourav Ganguly used to play football and Fred Trueman was a stand-up comedian! But once they got into the groove, there was no stopping them. There are also stories of cricketers, who knew they wanted to play cricket but weren’t aware of their true potential. Here is a list of top ten cricketers who started their career with ball ending it up as a top order batsman or vice-versa.
10. Ajit Agarkar:
The bowler who got Adam Gilchrist in his ODI wasn’t meant to be a bowler at all. During his early days, Ajit Agarkar happened to be the opening batsman. Recently in an interview, he himself admitted that it was Sachin Tendulkar, who discovered the bowler in him and he went to become one of the highest wicket takers for India if ODIs are concerned.
9. Sanath Jayasuriya
The Sri Lankan maestro adorns the number 10 position in this list. The one who eventually went on to hit the fastest 50, 100 and 150 in his time, had actually started his career as a bowler who could bat. Starting in the lower middle order, he climbed and climbed up to the opening position, showing all his hidden class till 20011 as he retired from all formats of international cricket. His international career holds over 13000 ODI runs and bowling figures with an economy of 4.78
8. Mark Richardson
The New Zealand team never thought that the left arm spinner in the side would someday turn out to be one of the remarkable batsmen of the side. From number 10, the place where he started to bat for, he eliminated the 0 in 10 and raised himself to emerge as an opener to the side. With hitting mentionable test runs he took only one wicket in his entire test career making him a batsman and not a bowler.
7. Ravi Shastri
The legendary Indian cricketer’s story is known to all. During his early days, Ravi was a full-fledged bowler with great bowling figures. He made a figure of 6 for 61 runs in the finals of ’79-’80 Ranji Trophy and got eventually selected for India’s side which was touring New Zealand. He replaced injured Dilip Doshi to bowl his first over as a maiden in the first match, took 3 wickets in the second innings. His seven wickets in the second test match made him the man of the match. Despite all these, it was his class with batting that he gradually acquired the opening position from no. 10 as batsman and the rest is history.
6. Ravichandran Ashwin
Ashwin the bowler is an international favorite but not many know that he started his cricketing career as an opener. With little success as a batsman, he found his master-class shining with a ball in the hand and gradually went on to become one of the most successful Indian bowlers in the current times. He is the fastest Indian to reach 50 and 100 wickets in test cricket and has got many accolades. He is one of the very few who can deliver a carom ball.
5. Steve Smith
From the dependable wicket taker to the no. 1 test batsman- such is the journey of Steven Peter Devereux Smith. The Aussie blaster during the early stages stood the leading wicket take in KFC 20/20 competition 2008 and went on taking more wickets before his batting average crossed 50 with not so mentionable bowling performance. From then on to his selection in the national side and today, he is one of the most successful batsmen of the current time and the graph seems to be moving upward.
4. Kevin Pieterson
The ever controversial yet powerful batsman of England cricket team, Kevin Pieterson is the next in the list. Though his abilities with the wood are undoubtedly his greatest strength currently, he initially started off as a class-apart bowler. While playing for Natal Cricket team, South Africa, his feat of taking the top order of the opponent and scoring 61 not out off 57 while batting at number nine received praises from then England skipper Nasser Hussain. He eventually moved up in the order as he went on playing and captained England national team later and gathered a second highest test total in his first 25 appearances, just after Sir Don Bradman.
3. Steve Waugh
The former Aussie captain and one of the most successful batsmen of his time and history also started it differently. Waugh joined cricket early along with his twin brother mark and was initially playing for New South Wales. During the early days, he came in at number nine while batting and bowling medium pace. His career soon changed after he started proving his efficiency with bat more than the ball and by the end of his career, he was an accomplished batsman who could bowl. During his captaincy the team attained the world record of 16 consecutive test victories. By the end of his career, Steve had more than 10000 runs in tests, having gained the world no. 1 batsman rank in the years 1995-96.
2. Nasser Hussain
The story of one of the most appreciable skippers of the England side is rather sad. The player himself was fond of bowling and had had greats such as Graham Gooch during his school cricket days. His class with his bowling was a fact of pride to his father but destiny played villain as Nasser faced a back injury and his bowling career seemed over. His father refused to accept the fact that he could not bowl as well as he did before and kept on pressurizing him to concentrate more over bowling but gradually his charisma with batting took over the flaws with the ball and he emerged as one of the finest batsmen of all time.
1. Maurice Tate
To top the list, here is the father of modern seam bowling who switched his career quite a few times. Starting his career as a hard hitter for Sussex, Tate went on to score over 1000 runs before he discovered his abilities as a fast bowler. But after some amazing years with the ball and taking wickets round the year, his batting started overpowering his bowling and finally he settled as a remarkable batsman for the rest of his career. All these switching ended in a career chart with 21717 runs and 2784 wickets in his first class career.
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