When cricket played in goal against other sports
Just imagine Rahul Dravid playing under Dhanraj Pillay at the Azlan Shah hockey tournament, or for that matter, Sourav Ganguly representing Mohan Bagan. Yes, cricket has indeed been lucky as some of the gems of the game gave up their first love to take it to a new height.
Just imagine Rahul Dravid playing under Dhanraj Pillay at the Azlan Shah hockey tournament, or for that matter, Sourav Ganguly representing Mohan Bagan. Yes, cricket has indeed been lucky as some of the gems of the game gave up their first love to take it to a new height.<br /> <br /> <strong>CricketNDTV.com</strong> takes a look at some of the stars of the game who had aspirations for other sports before they made their way to the 22-yard-long pitch.
<p>It's no secret that Sourav Ganguly like any other Kolkatan was passionate about football and till the age of 13 he was an active football player. His favourite position in the football field was that of a striker. Even today he prefers to watch a football match instead of cricket on TV. He took up cricket for fun and used his elder brother Snehashish's kit who was a southpaw. Though Ganguly was a natural right-hander, he batted with his left hand so he could use his brother's equipment. Interestingly he replaced his brother in the Bengal team. Ganguly then just took off from there and touched great heights despite a zillion odds against him. Known to be India's best captain, he made 18575 international runs. </p> <p>Ganguly is not the only cricketer to have given up football for cricket. Post-retirement he had said that he saw a lot of him in Dhoni. Indeed, because not only are they known for their similar attitude toward the game - killer instinct and aggressive approach - but they also share the love for football. India captain MS Dhoni before becoming a wicketkeeper, stopped goals in his school. </p> <p>His tryst with cricket began when he was asked to keep wickets by his coach in a match as the regular keeper did not turn up. In that match he gave only four byes and with his coach's encouragement, he switched to cricket. </p> <p>Apart from these two, Sir Vivian Richards too played soccer for Antigua. With names like these, one can't help but thank someone above for this 'switch hit'.</p>
<p>'The Great Wall' of India, Rahul Dravid, could not have written victory scripts for Indian cricket, had he pursued his first love hockey. With the kind of determination and perseverance he has, nobody can doubt that he would have made his mark with the hockey stick.</p> <p>He played hockey for four years for his school St Joseph Boys High School. First as a centre half, and later in the role of a right half. His school was a champion side and the students took this game very seriously. During his stint with hockey, he played alongside Sandeep Somesh and Anil Aldrin who later represented India in Olympics. </p> <p>Keki Tarapore joined Dravid's school as the coach and under his guidance Dravid took cricket seriously. Besides, cricket was in his blood. His father Sharad Dravid played university cricket but gave it up for a better-paying profession.</p> <p>Dravid, however, decided to play full-time cricket and proved his utility not only as a batsman but also as a bowler and wicketkeeper for his state Karnataka. While his bowling talent was not exploited at the international level, he did prove his mettle as a wicketkeeper in one-dayers.</p>
<p>Imagine a strapping Yuvraj Singh in the skating ring. With all due respect to the sport, it will definitely not make a pleasant sight - especially for those who have become addicted to his towering shots and exceptional timing. Very few people know that Yuvraj was an under-12 national skating champion.</p> <p>According to Yuvraj, skating came naturally to him. But being a son of former cricketer Yograj Singh, Yuvraj was forced to give up his roller skates and train under his father. In his initial years, he disliked cricket as he was under the strict guidance of his father, a former fast bowler who got the opportunity to play for India in only one Test and six ODIs.</p> <p>To avenge the injustice meted out to him, Yograj wanted his elder son Yuvraj to become a cricketer. In an interview few years back, Yuvraj remembered an instance when he won the gold medal in the national skating championship. His dad threw his medal and skates out and threatened to break his legs if he didn't play cricket. </p> <p>A pitch was laid in the backyard where Yuvraj trained as a fast bowler under lights. But a back injury shattered his dreams of becoming a pacer. He then picked up the willow and slowly started enjoying cricket.</p> <p>Many might sympathise with Yuvi, but at the same time all of you must be guiltily thanking Yograj for driving his son to the beautiful game of cricket.</p>
<p>All-rounder Andrew Symonds started as a cricketer but like any typical Australian, rugby was equally close to his heart. In fact at one stage of his career, Symonds even wanted to give up cricket for rugby. He used to train with the Brisbane Broncos rugby league team.</p> <p>Rugby might set his pulse racing, yet it was cricket that drew big moolah (remember a whopping Rs. 6 crore for his IPL stint). However, his training with a rugby team did not go in vain. During a match with India last summer in Brisbane, Symonds flattened a streaker with a rugby-style shoulder charge.</p>
<p>South Africa's Johnty Rhodes could have never monopolised the best adjectives for fielding, had he not had a hamstring injury before the Barcelona Olympics. Does it sound absurd? Of course!</p> <p>Undoubtedly the world's best fielder, Rhodes, was once part of his country's hockey team and was selected for the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. But he could not qualify due to a hamstring injury. In the same year he made his Test debut against India in Durban and carved a niche for himself. So good was he at the backward point region that people started calling it Johnty's point.</p>