Cricket is quite an unpredictable game with matches often going down to the very last ball. Fortunes change within a fraction of a few balls and players are expected to adapt dynamically to various challenging situations and play multiple roles on the field, abiding by their call of duty. Keeping this in mind, it’s no surprise that over the years there have been cricketers who have effortlessly switched between being batsmen or bowlers. These players not just made a switch; they mastered their choice of role and also left a mark with what they did!
You’ll be surprised to know that these 5 players began their careers as a bowler but because successful batsmen or vice-versa:
1. Sir Ravindra Jadeja
Jadeja started his career as an extremely impressive batsman who scored a total of three triple centuries in First Class Level, thus equaling Sir Don Bradman’s record. No other Indian has been able to achieve this feat. Looking at his enviable talent, he was picked by Dhoni to play for the national squad, however he ended up leaving a better mark as a specialist spinner. Having him come in to bat at number 7 allow the team to bat deep because on a good day, he does contribute with the bat as well.
2. Steven Smith
This young, blonde guy has seen a huge change in fortunes ever since he was picked to play for the Australian national side. He debuted in 2010 as a specialist leg-spinner but soon his place in the team was questioned due to lack of performance. He was dropped from after the disastrous Ashes Series of 2010-2011 but made a comeback two years later against India in 2013 and has never looked back ever since. He rose to the ranks not because of the ball, but because of his dependency with the bat, which has come after hours of hard work of having to change his batting technique.
With an outstanding average of 50+ in test matches, Smith is also the number 1 ranked test player in the world and the captain of the Australian team!
3. Nasser Hussain
Nasser is considered to be one of the most successful captains of England and a fine batsman. Little would one guess that he actually began his career as a young, talented off-spin bowler. He has the distinction of being the youngest ever player to be selected for the Essex under-15s. His big switch came when he started growing tall all of a sudden and found himself more comfortable with the bat rather than the ball.
Nasser ended his career having played 96 tests in which he scored 5,764 runs, which includes 14 centuries and 33 half-centuries. He also featured in 88 ODIs and scored 2,332 runs including 1 century and 16 half-centuries.
4. Shane Watson
This mighty Australian has always been associated with a string of injuries that have hampered his professional career. He was first selected in the national side under Ricky Ponting to play as a medium-fast swing bowler. He had a dream run for 8 months after his debut only to suffer another injury just before the 2003 World Cup. He took his time off to hone his skills as an all-rounder which resulted in him being pushed up the batting order, the opportunity for which he capitalized on. He was a force to reckon with in the T20 and remained as the world number 1 all-rounder for a record 144 weeks. He retired in 2016 and will always be remembered as a batsman who could bowl and not the other way around!
5. Ravichandran Ashwin
R Ashwin actually began his career as an opening batsman; however he suffered a horrific injury in his pelvic area at the age of 14, which threatened to put an end to his promising career. After eight months of recuperation, when he was ready to take the field again, he realized his opening spot in the team was taken by someone else hence on his mother’s recommendation he tried spin bowling and has never looked back ever since! Ashwin can easily be considered as one of the most successful spin bowlers India has ever had and already holds the record for the fastest Indian to take 50 and 100 Test wickets. He has won 4 man of the series awards, scored 3 International 100s and has 17 5-wicket hauls! It’s not too often that you come across a player as impressive as Ashwin!
Know any more players who have switches sides and done it beautifully? Comment and let us know!