With Imran Khan earning the title of the first ever cricketer to become a Prime Minister of a nation, Pakistan in this case; people everywhere are finding more instances of sportspersons venturing into politics and succeeding in it.
Imran Khan turned an embarrassing defeat in 1996 into the PM post 22 years later and shut everyone up who were saying that he will never amount to anything when it came to politics.
On a similar note, many cricketers have dabbled into politics in India as well and the most popular cricketer to succeed in Indian politics is former opener Navjot Singh Sidhu, who is currently a state minister in Congress government in Punjab.
Let’s have a look at five popular Indian cricketers who will definitely be successful in politics should they choose to enter.
KAPIL DEV – HARYANA
Kapil Dev hailed from Haryana and was aptly named ‘Haryana Hurricane’ when he first burst onto the scene with his pace and ability to swing the ball both ways. Finally, India had a genuine fast bowler, someone who could give it back to the opposition batsmen. Captain of the 1983 World Cup winning team, Kapil Dev went on to become only the second bowler in Tests to take 400 Tests wickets.
After his retirement from the game in 1994, Kapil Dev has dabbled into many things including commentary. Given his popularity, Kapil Dev was approached by many political parties to join politics, but he has refused to do so vehemently.
However, if he was ever to join politics and run for parliament, he should do it from a seat in Haryana, his home state, where he is seen as a hero, for all he has done for cricket and the glory that he bought the state when he won the 1991 Ranji Trophy title to Haryana.
ANIL KUMBLE – KARNATAKA
Karnataka is blessed to have given India so many cricketing stars like Rahul Dravid, Javagal Srinath, Venkatesh Prasad and Anil Kumble to name a few.
Speaking of Anil Kumble, he is India’s leading wicket-taker in both Tests (619) and ODIs (337). Former India captain has maintained a safe distance from the cricket field apart from odd commentary stints or appearances on cricket shows. However, he and Javagal Srinath fought and won the Karnataka State Cricket Association elections to become President and Secretary respectively in 2010.
This means he has the experience of dabbling in politics and if he were ever to fight elections, he would definitely do it from his state Karnataka, where he is loved and respected by both the elites and the masses. Given his engineering background, people know that he is learned and experienced enough to do good for them.
SOURAV GANGULY – WEST BENGAL
Sourav Ganguly is the son of Bengal and Prince of Kolkata. The current President of Cricket Association of Bengal, the former India captain Sourav Ganguly has always been on the cusp of joining politics.
The political parties know his importance and how popular he is to the masses of the state of Bengal. If he joins any political party and campaigns for them, it will be a bigger victory for them.
Ganguly also knows this and despite reports of BJP and other parties asking him to join their party, he has kept himself apart from the political scene.
GAUTAM GAMBHIR – DELHI
Gautam Gambhir might be away from the action on the field for the Indian team, but he is always in news for his strong views on Indian Armed forces, patriotism and other issues on social media. Seen as one of the upright and most honest people, Delhi’s Gautam Gambhir might be the perfect candidate to field against even the veterans of the field, when he chooses to enter politics.
A glimpse of his affiliation to the politics was seen, when he supported Rajat Sharma and his group for the post of DDCA president against the group led by former cricketer Madan Lal. Gambhir is definitely a politician in making and parties might have started noticing his abilities to motivate people, as Rajat Sharma won by a landslide.
MS DHONI – TAMIL NADU
Politics need a cool head and a mind that is very good at calculating the risks and other things. It also needs a person with the acute skill of man management and keeping everyone happy. When all these things are put together, the only name that comes to the mind is that of the legendary MS Dhoni.
The former India captain and current Chennai Super Kings skipper MS Dhoni is widely celebrated as perhaps the greatest cricketing brain thanks to his often calculating and innovative moves on the field. His mind will do wonders in the field of politics as well. He is undoubtedly one of the most popular sportspeople in the country and his reach is incidentally highest in Tamil Nadu, his adopted home, thanks to leading Chennai Super Kings in IPL for 9 seasons.
He is considered one of their own by the people of Tamil Nadu and is regarded as ‘thala’ or the leader and if he ever ventures into the politics, the people of Tamil Nadu will definitely follow their leader.