5 Cricketers Who Became Politicians

It's no surprise that some of these larger-than-life cricketers, after hanging up their pads, leap into the often murkier waters of politics. Here are the cricketers who became politicians.

Pratham K Sharma
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Cricketers Who Became Politicians (Source: X)

Cricketers Who Became Politicians (Source: X)

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Cricket transcends a sport in many nations. It's a cultural touchstone, a source of immense national pride, and a breeding ground for heroes. So, it's no surprise that some of these larger-than-life cricketers, after hanging up their pads, leap into the often murkier waters of politics. This article explores the stories of five such cricketers

Here are the cricketers who became politicians:

1. Imran Khan

Imran Khan

Imran Khan's name is synonymous with Pakistani cricket. A charismatic all-rounder, he led his team to a historic World Cup victory in 1992, a feat that cemented his status as a national icon. But Khan's ambitions extended beyond the cricket field. In 1996, he founded the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, channelling his leadership skills and public adoration into politics.

Khan's political journey wasn't smooth sailing. He faced accusations of populism and political naivete. However, his anti-corruption stance resonated with voters, and in 2018, he became the first cricketer to be elected Prime Minister of Pakistan. Khan's premiership was marked by controversy, with him also facing lots of legal action.

2. Sanath Jayasuriya

Sanath Jayasuriya

Sri Lankan batting legend Sanath Jayasuriya was a force to be reckoned with. His explosive left-handed batting and clever bowling left opponents bewildered. Post-retirement, Jayasuriya entered politics in 2010, joining the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP). He secured a seat in parliament and held ministerial positions like Sports Minister.

Jayasuriya's political career wasn't without its challenges. Allegations of corruption dogged him, and he faced criticism for his performance in ministerial roles. However, he remains a popular figure in Sri Lanka, respected for his cricketing achievements and his continued involvement in promoting the sport.

Also Read: Top 5 International cricketers who retired at their peak

3. Arjuna Ranatunga

Arjuna Ranatunga

Another Sri Lankan cricketing legend to take the political plunge is Arjuna Ranatunga. A World Cup-winning captain known for his aggressive playing style and leadership, Ranatunga entered politics in 2005. He formed his political party, the United Lanka People's Party (ULPP), and became a vocal critic of the Sri Lankan government.

Ranatunga's political career has been marked by controversy. He faced accusations of financial impropriety and switched allegiances between different political parties. However, his outspoken nature and commitment to social justice continue to resonate with a section of the Sri Lankan public.

4. Navjot Singh Sidhu

Navjot Singh Sidhu

Navjot Singh Sidhu's flamboyant personality made him a fan favourite during his cricketing career. His powerful opening batsman style was matched only by his wit and eloquence. After retirement, Sidhu entered politics in 2004, joining the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). He held ministerial positions in the Punjab government and remains a prominent figure in the state politics.

Sidhu's political journey has been riddled with controversies. He has switched parties, faced legal troubles, and courted criticism for his public pronouncements. Despite this, he had a good connection with the masses and continues to be an asset for whichever party he aligns with.

5. Kirti Azad

 Kirti Azad

Kirti Azad was a key member of India's victorious 1983 World Cup squad. A dependable middle-order batsman, he transitioned smoothly into politics after his cricketing career. Azad initially joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and won three Lok Sabha elections from Darbhanga, Bihar.

Azad's political career took an interesting turn when he switched allegiance to the Indian National Congress (INC) in 2019. He became known for his vocal opposition to corruption within his party, a stance that earned him respect but also created friction.