Prominent cricketer-turned-politicians!

Apr 27, 2012, 09:37 IST | A Correspondent

In the wake of Sachin Tendulkar's Rajya Sabha nomination, here are examples of cricketers becoming politicians...

Mohammed Azharuddin
The former India captain became the latest cricketer to take the plunge into politics in February 2009 when he joined the Congress party. Azhar began his innings with the following observation: “I am happy to join the Congress but I cannot decide from where I will contest the elections as now I am not the captain. I am here to help the Congress and I have to do good work for the people and for the party.” He contested the Indian general election, 2009 from Moradabad in western Uttar Pradesh. He won the elections as a candidate of Indian National Congress party by defeating his nearest BJP rival Kunvar Sarvesh Kumar Singh by a huge margin.

Mohammed Azharuddin with wife Sangeeta (left) and former teammate Kapil Dev (centre) during his campaign for the general elections in Moradabad in May 2009

Vinod Kambli
Sachin Tendulkar’s childhood friend, Vinod Kambli scored two Test double centuries before losing his way somehow, despite making numerous comebacks. His career was marred by controversies. As a politician, he contested on a Lok Bharati Party ticket from Vikhroli, Mumbai. He lost.

Navjot singh Sidhu
The dashing Indian opener turned TV commentator, judge on a reality show and then politician. Sidhu was elected to the Lok Sabha as the member from Amritsar in 2004 on a BJP ticket. He later resigned, following his conviction for culpable homicide. After the Supreme Court stayed his conviction, he successfully contested the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat, defeating his Congress rival, State Finance Minister Surinder Singla, by 77,626 votes.

Manoj Prabhakar
The former India all-rounder played 39 Tests and 130 ODIs for India. The Indian cricket Board banned him for his alleged role in the match-fixing scandal. As a politician, he contested from New Delhi in 1998 only to lose badly.

Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi
The late one-eyed prince, who led India to their first overseas Test win will go down in history as one of cricket’s finest captains ever. The Nawab of Pataudi passed away in 2011.As a politician, Pataudi contested on a Congress ticket from Bhopal in 1991, and lost. He had a similar experience previously, in 1971. Back then, he suffered a defeat from Gurgaon while representing the Vishal Haryana Party.

Kirti Azad
As a cricketer, Azad was part of the Indian team that won the 1983 World Cup. He played 7 Tests and 25 ODIs. His father, Bhagwat Jha Azad was Bihar’s Chief Minister in 1988-89. Azad later turned out as a BJP MP from Darbhanga. He remains active in politics.

Chetan Chauhan
One of the most courageous opening batsmen of his time, Sunil Gavaska’s former opening partner, Chetan Chauhan turned selector, manager and politician after hanging his cricketing boots. As a politician, he was elected to Parliament on a BJP ticket from Amroha in 1991 and 1998. Though he lost both elections, he continues to be actively involved in politics. 

Cricketers turned politicians outside India

Imran Khan
Pakistan’s only World Cup-winning captain turned to politics immediately after retirement. He is chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, which has not been a success story so far. Earlier in the decade, he was in contention for the Prime Minister’s post but seems to be floundering lately in labyrinthine world of Pakistan politics.

Arjuna Ranatunga
Sri Lanka’s only World Cup-winning captain, Arjuna Ranatunga, is also the nation’s most influential cricketer. After retirement, he became selector, administrator, chairman of the board and politician. As a politician, he was part of Chandrika Kumaratunga’s Sri Lanka Freedom Party. Now, he’s an opposition leader.

Sanath Jayasuriya
Nicknamed the Matara Marauder, Sanath Jayasuriya tore bowlers apart with his attacking strokeplay. He was instrumental in Sri Lanka’s 1996 World Cup triumph. As a politician, he turned MP from his hometown Matara recently. He is a part of the ruling alliance led by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Hashan Tillakaratne
The former Sri Lanka captain was a fine middle-order batsman who played 83 Tests and 20 ODIs. He was part of Sri Lanka’s 1996 World Cup-winning side. As a politician, he remains a member of the United National Party. He was appointed as the party’s organiser for Avissawella constituency in Colombo.

Sir Frank worrell
A stylish right-handed batsman, and the first black captain of the West Indies, Sir Frank Worrell was one of the first cricketers to be involved in active politics. When he quit cricket, Alexander Bustamante appointed him to the Jamaican Senate. Worrell supported a closer political union between the nations of the Caribbean.  

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