World-record sprinter and eight-time Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt picked a cricket ball as a schoolchild, while World’s 100 meters champion Yohan Blake mesmerised his principal at school with his sprinting during a cricket match. Cricket and Olympics crossed paths only once, at the Paris 1900 Games, but there are Olympic legends who have had trysts with the game which saw its cash-rich T20 tournament, the Indian Premier League (IPL), which begin in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Saturday.Also Read - MS Dhoni Not Clear on his Availability for IPL 2022 But N Srinivasan is Clear on his Plans For MSD
A report on olympicchannel.com highlighted the stories of champion athletes who did play cricket early on in their lives. Also Read - KL Rahul Wants 'Mentor' MS Dhoni to Play For Few More Years, Says Former Captain's Presence Brings Calmness in Team India Dressing Room
India’s Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, who became a household name in the country in 2004 when he won a silver in the men’s double trap event at the Athens Olympics. Born into a royal family in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, a young Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore was exposed to multiple sports including cricket, volleyball, basketball and many more. And given the exceptional athlete that Rathore was, the shooter who won an Olympic shooting medal excelled in most of them. Also Read - BCCI-PCB Discussion on Sidelines of ACC Executive Board Meeting: 10 Talking Points
Jamaican sprinter Blake was a pacer at St. Jago High School, and it was during one of the matches that the principal took note of how quickly he ran to the wicket. Blake was consequently urged to try his luck in sprinting.
World champion Blake would later go on to become the second-fastest man on earth and a two-time Olympic gold medallist.
Blake never left playing cricket though as he is a fast bowler at the Kingston Cricket Club during athletics’ off-season. He also holds the club bowling record of taking four wickets for just 10 runs.
Another Jamaican and hailed as the fastest man on the planet – Usain Bolt was introduced to cricket by his father who’s admired the West Indies fast bowlers Michael Holding and Courtney Walsh.
However, after playing cricket throughout his school days when it was time to choose a sport, Bolt’s father took the decision of asking his son to step into athletics.
“My father is a huge cricket fan, but when I got to higher secondary, I had two options – cricket or athletics,” Bolt recalled during an interview with AFP. “My dad said because of the system in Jamaica, it would be better to take up athletics.