6 Players Who Reduced Focus On Batting To Improve Their Bowling
There have been instances in the game of cricket wherein a player initially starts out to become a batsman or a bowler but later becomes an expert in the other skill. The likes of Steven Smith is one of the best examples of a bowler becoming a batsman. In this article, we take a look at the rare list of six cricketers who reduced focus on batting to improve their bowling abilities.
Bowling is a skill that involves a lot to do with muscle memory. Unless the action is practised from a young age, it is very difficult to master the skill. Hence, usually, when a player changes his action, he takes a lot of time to return to mainstream action. Therefore, a batsman turning into a bowler is a rare phenomenon.
1) R Ashwin - One Of The Famous Players Who Reduced Focus On Batting To Improve Their Bowling
R Ashwin is one of the popular players who reduced focus on batting to improve their bowling abilities. In fact, Ashwin opened the batting for a few teams in his teenage. As he started playing consistently for Tamil Nadu and then in IPL, the player shifted his focus to bowling. He is now a top off-spinner in the game. Although his batting has been good for a No.8 player, a few years ago, he was struggling in this skill too. That was when he was at the peak with the ball. He currently is an important part of the Test team as a bowling all-rounder.
2) Shahid Afridi
Shahid Afridi, in his junior days, was a promising batsman. He was selected for the country based on his batting performance. However, it was eventually with the ball that he found success. He picked loads of wickets with his leg-spin. Although he did create magic with the bat at times, it was more of a hit-and-miss scenario and never felt serious.
3) Shardul Thakur - One Of The Players Who Reduced Focus On Batting To Improve Their Bowling
Shardul Thakur is currently being groomed as a bowling all-rounder for Team India. It is said that in his teenage, it was with the bat that Shardul was making a mark. However, he made a relatively early decision to switch to being a fast bowler. That said, you could say by seeing a few of his shots that Shardul does have the skills of a technically proficient batsman.
4) Ravindra Jadeja
Ravindra Jadeja entered the scene as a pure batsman who could roll his arm over at times. He struck triple-centuries in FC cricket at the start. However, in IPL and for Team India, it was Jaddu's bowling that became necessary. Hence, the player shifted his focus to that skill. There was a time when his batting form became poor. However, at the moment, Jaddu is in superb form with both skills.
5) Shreyas Gopal
Shreyas Gopal was initially considered as the next big batsman from Karnataka. Even the likes of Rahul Dravid spotted the talent in Gopal. However, cut to a few years later, Gopal is a specialist leg-spinner who is just decent with the bat. In domestic cricket, though, the player does add stability to the batting unit with his presence at No.6 or No.7.
6) Ajit Agarkar
A player who has a Test century at the Lord's, Ajit Agarkar is a top wicket-taker for Team India in ODIs. He also contributed with the bat in the tail. However, in his initial days, Ajit was a proper batsman. He even played a few competitive games as a batsman. However, when his skills with the ball found success, the Mumbai cricketer reduced training on his batting.