7 Cricket captains who turned politicians

With Imran Khan set to become the next Pakistan PM, we take a look at 7 cricket captains turned politicians.

Mohammad Azharuddin campaigining for Congress | Azhar.co

Politics is a very lucrative field to try your luck in. If you manage to become a minister of anything, you can bring a lot of change in the lives of many people at once.

Therefore many cricketers have tried their hand in politics with varying degrees of success. Some have become ministers and senators; while some fought and lost to their opponents. The most current example of a cricketer turning into a politician and actually becoming successful is Imran Khan.

The former Pakistani cricketer is credited with rejuvenating the Pakistani cricket and encouraging the team and inspiring them to win the Benson and Hedges World Cup in Australia and New Zealand in 1992.

With that example, let’s have a look at 7 cricket captains that tried their hands in politics.

Check out the 7 Cricket captains who turned politicians



Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi scoring 2793 runs with 6 centuries despite being blind in one eye | Getty

Nawab Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi was not only the youngest Indian test captain, but he was also a royalty. He was the son of Iftikhar Ali Khan Pataudi, who played Test cricket for England and India in the early days.

Mansoor, who was nicknamed Tiger Pataudi, made his FC debut for Sussex and also played for Oxford University. He made his India debut in 1961 against England and became the youngest cricket to captain the side in 1962 at just 21 years and 77 days, and held the world record until Tatenda Taibu broke it in 2004. He played 46 Tests scoring 2793 runs with 6 centuries and the highest score of 203*.

Mansoor, who did all this despite missing an eye, which he lost in an accident before his Test debut, retired in 1975.

Mansoor Ali Khan also stood in elections from his home turf of Bhopal in 1991 on a ticket from Congress. However, he lost to BJP’s Sushil Chandra Verma, who won 53.61% votes. Pataudi’s political campaign saw Rajiv Gandhi and Kapil Dev coming down to Bhopal to show support.

Pataudi gracefully accepted defeat, and never entered politics again.



Ted Dexter sitting during a session of Conservative Party

Edward Ralph "Ted" Dexter was a former England and Sussex captain, who led England to the tour of Pakistan and India in 1961-62 for the first time.  Dexter played 62 Tests for England from 1958-1968, scoring 4502 runs with a best of 205 and average of 47.89.

Dexter made himself unavailable for the 1964-65 South Africa tour to contest against Jim Callaghan Cardiff South East seat for the Conservative Party in the 1964 General Election. Callaghan later became prime minister.

However, he lost to Callaghan and came back to play cricket, but never captained England again.


Arjuna Ranatunga during his term as Petroleum minister | Getty

Arjuna Ranatunga was the Sri Lankan captain when Sri Lanka won the Wills World Cup in 1996, beating Australia in the finals. Ranatunga also holds the unique distinction of playing in his country (Sri Lanka)’s first and 100th Test match.

He played 93 Tests for 5105 runs with 4 centuries and the highest score of 135* and retired in 2000. After his retirement, Ranatunga joined the Sri Lanka Freedom Party and fought the 2001 parliamentary elections from Colombo. After the UPFA victory in 2004, he was appointed Deputy Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment Promotion.

He later endorsed Maithripala Sirisena in the 2015 Presidential election, and after Sirisena's victory, Ranatunga was appointed Minister of Highways, Ports & Shipping.



The first black West Indies captain Sir Frank Worrell made it to the Jamaican senate three times | Getty

Sir Frank Mortimer Maglinne Worrell holds the distinction of being the first black man to captain the West Indies in 1960-61, ending the tradition of whites captaining the West Indies team in Tests. A brilliant batsman himself, Worrell played 51 Tests, scoring 3860 runs at an average of 49.48, with the best score of 261 and 9 centuries.

Worrell was known to be a true gentleman and was the first player from both sides to donate blood to Indian captain Nari Contractor when he was seriously injured by a blow to his head by Charlie Griffith and required emergency surgery.

Sir Frank Worrell was appointed to the Jamaican Senate by Sir Alexander Bustamante. He made it to the Jamaican Senate three times.   



Mohammad Azharuddin attends Parliament | Getty

Mohammad Azharuddin captained India in three World Cups, a record for him. The first batsman to score 9,000 runs in ODIs, he is also the only batsman to hit three centuries in his first three Tests and only Indian to score a century in his debut and final Test.

Azhar played 99 Tests, scoring 6216 runs with 22 centuries and a best of 199 at an average of 45.08. He also played 334 ODIs, scoring 9378 runs with 7 centuries and a best of 153. His career was ended after he was accused of match-fixing in 2000.

Azhar, as he is fondly called, joined the Congress party in 2009 and won the general elections from Moradabad in the same year and became an MP. He has shown interest in fighting the 2019 elections from Secunderabad constituency.



Sanath Jayasuriya | Getty

Sanath Jayasuriya is probably credited with changing the face of ODI cricket in the way he hit out in the first 15 overs of field restrictions during the 1996 Wills World Cup. The only player with more than 12,000 runs and 300 plus wickets in ODIs, he is considered as one of the greatest all-rounders in the game.

He also captained the Sri Lankan team in 38 test matches and 117 one day internationals from 1999 to 2003. Jayasuriya played 110 Tests and 445 ODIs scoring 6973 and 13430 runs respectively in the formats. He scored 14 Test centuries and 28 ODI centuries with the best score of 189 in ODIs and 340 in Tests.

Jayasuriya entered politics in February 2010 as a candidate for Matara District on a ticket from United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) of president Mahinda Rajapaksa. In October 2013, he was appointed as deputy minister of Postal services in the UPFA government.

On June 10, 2015, Jayasuriya was appointed as Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development. He was in office until the Parliament dissolved on 26 June 2015.



Imran Khan is the new PM elect of Pakistan | Getty

Regarded as one of the greatest all-rounders in the cricket world, Pakistan’s Imran Khan was one of the most inspiring and encouraging captains of the team. Imran is credited with finding out gems like Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis and grooming them into one of the greatest cricketers ever to come out of Pakistan.

Imran played 88 Tests and 175 ODIs for Pakistan, scoring 3807 runs in Tests and 3709 runs in ODIs. He took 362 Test wickets and 182 ODI wickets in a career spanning from 1971-1992.

His biggest triumph came when he returned from retirement in 1989 and rallied his team to win the Benson and Hedges Cricket World Cup in 1992, held in Australia and New Zealand. They defeated England in the finals and Imran lifted the World Cup, ending his cricket career with this high.

In 1996, Imran Khan founded Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and ran for the seat of National Assembly of Pakistan in Pakistani general election, 1997, from two seats, but was unsuccessful and lost both seats to candidates of PML (N).

However, in the recent general elections held in Pakistan on July 25, 2018, his party PTI emerged as the biggest party with Imran Khan winning from both the seats he contested from. Along with the help of some independent candidates and fringe parties, Imran Khan is set to become the next Prime Minister of Pakistan, making him the most successful cricket captain turned politician.

By Jatin Sharma - 27 Jul, 2018

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