Cricketers Who Became Politicians

Imran Khan is the most popular cricketer to have left the sport for politics, but the former Prime Minister of Pakistan isn’t the only sportsman to have left cricket for a position in government.

Many popular and lesser-known cricketers have tried their hand at politics, but a handful actually get top government positions. Here’s more information on top cricketers who became politicians after their sporting careers.

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Imran Khan – Pakistan

The end of Imran Khan’s successful cricket career saw him venture into politics in the 1990s. After founding the PTI party, he lost to Nawaz Sharif – another cricketer in the 2013 general election.

The rise of Imran Khan’s mushroom party will fuel his later electoral victory as prime minister. Apart from being a successful politician, Imran is fondly remembered for his contributions to Pakistan cricket. He guided Pakistan to one of their most memorable Cricket World Cup runs in 1992 where they won the competition.

Bob Hawke – Australia

Imran Khan might be the most popular figure among cricketers who became politicians, but he’s not the first in a Prime Minister’s role. Bob Hawke left the Aussie cricket scene after a long career to become its PM years later.

He served for eight (8) years as PM and moved on to hold several important business positions.

Alec Douglas-Home – Britain

Douglas-Home remains Britain’s only MP to have ever played cricket first-class. The cricketer-turned-politician didn’t have a glittering career but featured in a handful of cricket games before venturing into politics.

He wasn’t the best batter but was able to garner decent bowling numbers through his career. And it’s quite coincidental that he conceded 363 runs throughout his career and spent the same number of days as a PM.

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Mohammad Azharuddin – India

Mohammad Azharuddin was one of India’s most-respected batsmen until his career came to an abrupt in the 2000s. Azharuddin will later shrug off his career woes to venture into partisan politics in 2009.

Azhar was popular among the Uttar Pradesh electorate and easily won the Moradabad slot to become their MP. His career spanned several years where he led India in forty-seven (47) Tests for almost a decade.

Apart from Azharuddin, India has seen several top cricketers venture into politics. Some of India’s most popular cricketers who left the sport for a shot at politics are:

  • Manoj Tiwary
  • Gautam Gambhir
  • Navjot Singh Sidhu
  • Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi
  • Mohammad Kaif
  • Kirti Azad
  • Chetan Chauhan
  • Vinod Kambli
  • Manoj Prabhakar

Some cricketers didn’t succeed as political figures, but ex-sportsmen like Kirti Azad and Mansoor Ali filled important political positions after retirement.

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Arjuna Ranatunga – Sri Lanka

Ranatunga enjoyed an illustrious cricket career throughout the 1990s and early 2000s before venturing into politics. The Sri Lankan became a politician in 2001, following his father’s footsteps.

Throughout his time in politics, Ranatunga held several important positions in the Ministry of Industry, Tourism & Investment Promotion. He also served as the Minister of Ports and Shipping after deputising in earlier roles.

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Dave P
Dave P
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