ecently one cricketer has become the Prime Minister of Pakistan; this is the peak one has reached after joining the politics. There are many cricket players across the globe who have joined politics but could not make it to the heights. Former cricketer Gautam Gambhir begins political innings with the BJP because he is ‘impressed by PM Modi’s vision’. What kind of vision he has, was never told to the media, however, PM Modi is the most famous politician who has a big support system. Joining BJP is nothing but being in the good books of social media army and to enjoy the favours from the party and its leaders. Although it was not a bad choice that Gambhir made.
With his reach of nearly nine million followers, the 37-year-old cricketer has been frequently commenting on social and security issues leading to speculation that he was planning to join politics. With weeks to go for the Lok Sabha polls, he has to make many efforts; meanwhile, he as a cricketer was accepted by the people but not necessarily can make an equal impact as a politician. Inducting the former cricketer into the party, Arun Jaitley believes that Gambhir has excelled in his career and the party hopes to utilise his talent. Jaitley said that BJP will benefit from Gambhir’s endowment. Well, time will prove who will benefit whom! Gambhir would be contesting from a Lok Sabha seat from Delhi. With his reach of millions of followers, hope he grabs at least half of the count in real vote game.
A resident of Rajendra Nagar in Delhi, Gambhir made his One-Day International debut for the Indian national team in April 2003 against Bangladesh and went on to play 147 ODIs for the side. His performances in the finals of the 2007 T20 World Cup final against Pakistan and the 2011 World Cup final against Sri Lanka helped India win both the titles and Gambhir, in the process, went on to acquire something of a cult status among the Indian fans.
He also earned 58 Test caps and scored nine hundreds and 22 fifties in the longest format of the game. Gambhir’s last appearance in an Indian shirt came in 2016 but he continued plying his trade in domestic cricket. He announced his retirement from all forms of cricket following Delhi’s Ranji Trophy clash against Andhra last December.
If we look into the flashback, Mansoor Ali Pataudi was regarded as one of India’s greatest cricket captains. He was also considered as the ‘best fielder in the world’. Pataudi contested in the general elections from Bhopal under Congress party in 1991 and eventually lost it. In the year 1971, he lost elections while contesting for Vishal Haryana Party led by Rao Birender Singh. His political carrier could not take him to the peaks, like Cricket.
Another cricketer Mohammad Azharuddin joined Congress in 2009. He won the Lok Sabha elections from Moradabad by beating BJP rival Kunwar Sarvesh Kumar Singh by a thumping margin. Azhar played for India from 1984 to 2000 and later on, he ousted from politics and Cricket both.
Sanath Jayasuriya is the only cricketer who was an active politician during his playing days. He became the MP in 2010. The Sri Lankan southpaw made his debut for the country in 1989 and served the country for 22 long years. Arjuna Ranatunga, a Lankan former cricket captain, defected to the camp of former Army chief Sarath Fonseka ahead of the 2010 January presidential election. Fonseka, whose detention came two weeks after being beaten in presidential elections in late January by President Mahinda Rajapakse, is being held by the military pending court-martial proceedings on unspecified charges.
Vinod Kambli represented the Lok Bharati Party in the 2009 elections and he lost. The left-hander played 17 Tests and 102 ODIs for India. Thereafter, he was neither seen in politics nor in Cricket. Navjot Singh Sidhu joined the BJP after winning the Lok Sabha elections from Amritsar. He had a career spanning over 19 years as a professional cricketer, making his debut for India in 1983. However, later on, he joined Congress once again and landed in many controversies but his political spare is intact so far. After retiring from Cricket, he turned to commentary and television. He joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 2004 and contested the general election from Amritsar and won the election. In 2016, he was nominated to the Rajya Sabha from Punjab before he quit the party. He joined Congress in 2017 and contested the general election from Amritsar East and won the election.
Manoj Prabhakar suffered a thumping loss from New Delhi constituency in 1998.
There was always politics in Indian Cricket. There was always interference by politicians in sports, but these days’ sports personalities are also contributing to Indian politics. Let’s be Gambhir about Gautam and see how he realises the vision of Modi after his political inning.
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