Several bowlers who began their careers as bowlers have claimed hundreds of wickets and later become world-class batsmen.
Cricket has a diverse talent in batting, bowling, fielding, and captaincy, often witnessing remarkable transformations within players’ careers.
Bowlers Who Become Batsmen
Some players, are initially recognized as bowlers but, evolve into successful batsmen over time. In this article, we delve into the intriguing journeys of cricketers who made this remarkable transition.
What if we told you that some of the best hitters in cricket right now were bowlers first? The following is a list of batters who used balling to launch their cricket careers.
1. Steven Smith – Australia
In 2010, Steven Smith—possibly the best batter on the Australian cricket team—started as a leg-spinner for his international career. His unwavering dedication to perfection and unwavering willpower over time made him one of the best Test batters in the world.
Smith’s remarkable transformation from spinner to batting maestro is evidence of his exceptional talent and commitment. He has amassed an outstanding total of over 12,000 runs and 62 wickets in international matches.
2. Sanath Jayasuriya – Sri Lanka
In 1989, Sri Lanka introduced the cricketing world to Sanath Jayasuriya, a left-arm spinner. However, this talented player didn’t limit himself to just spinning the ball. He underwent a significant transformation, embracing an aggressive batting style.
Jayasuriya soon emerged as one of cricket’s most explosive openers, leaving an indelible mark on the history of the game.
3. Shahid Afridi – Pakistan
Boom Boom Shahid Afridi started his international career as a leg-spinner, the former captain has claimed 541 wickets.
Afridi is currently highly recognized for his aggressive hitting approach. In just his second international encounter, he has already scored a century off of just 37 deliveries. In ODIs, he also holds the record for most sixes hit.
4. Rohit Sharma – India
The hitman, Rohit Sharma the ex Indian captain was a lower-order batsman who began his career as an off-spinner.
Perhaps his bowling stats aren’t spectacular enough. Nevertheless, as the only player with three double hundreds, he is remembered today for his aggressive batting. In the ODIs, 264 was his best score.
5. Shoaib Malik – Pakistan
Shoaib Malik, a prominent figure in Pakistan’s cricketing legacy, initially entered the scene as a spinner in 1999.
However, it was his commendable batting skills that propelled him into the realm of all-rounders.
With over 12,000 international runs to his name, Malik’s transformation from spinner to dynamic batsman has been nothing short of spectacular.
6. Shane Watson – Australia
All-rounder Shane Watson is from Australia. He began his career as a medium-fast right-arm bowler. He started as a middle-order batsman but advanced to the top order with a ton of work.
In all formats combined, Watson has amassed over 10,000 runs and claimed over 250 wickets. He was regarded as the world’s top batsman in T20 cricket.
7. Ravi Shastri – India
Ravi Shastri, currently serving as the coach of the Indian cricket team, holds a special place in cricket folklore.
Early in his career, he achieved a remarkable feat in local matches by hitting six sixes off six balls.
This extraordinary batting prowess solidified his reputation as a versatile cricketer who excelled both as a bowler and a batsman.
8. Cameron White – Australia
Cameron White’s cricketing journey commenced as a right-handed off-spinner for the Australian team in 2005. However, his unwavering dedication and evolving skills led to a remarkable transition.
Today, he stands as one of Australia’s premier batsmen, showcasing his ability to adapt and excel in different facets of the game.
9. Kevin Pietersen – England
Despite having only 17 wickets in 240 international appearances, Kevin Pietersen was originally chosen for the national team as an off-spinner.
He eventually gave up and became a batsman, amassing over 10,000 runs in ODI and Test cricket. His highest Test score is 227.
10. Nasser Hussain – England
The former England captain and cricket player Nasser Hussain. When Hussain was in school, he began his cricket career as a leg-spinner.
But over time, he was elevated to the position of top-order batter. In Test cricket, he has amassed 207 runs or a double century.
11. Shaun Pollock – South Africa
South African-born Shaun Pollock served as the team’s captain in the past. Having started his career as a bowler, he has amassed over 800 wickets in both Test and One-Day International cricket.
In the 400 games he has participated in, he has amassed almost 7000 runs. As the ninth batsman, he now holds the record for most Test hundreds scored.