Are Cricket Skills Easily Transferable To Other Sports?

Two news items started me thinking about how easy it is to exit and enter cricket from/to other sports:

1. Usain Bolt has said that he would like to find something new to motivate him — be it football, or possibly cricket in Australia.

2. This Slate post on America’s Olympics medal haul outlines some of the factors behind America’s medal dominance, and concludes:

While American track athletes might not be as speedy as Usain Bolt or as hammer-tastic as Krisztián Pars, they’re still good enough to take home a decent haul. As long as the NBA and the NFL exist, American youth will spend their childhoods trying to run really fast, jump really high, and throw things really far.

The suggestion here is that American kids don’t initially start with track and field in mind; instead, they migrate there after putting aside their basketball/football dreams. The secondary implication is that there are transferable skills — running fast will help you a lot in both basketball and football, but it also works pretty well in track and field. But does this relationship hold for cricket? If Indian kids want to grow up to be cricketers, do they have any options in other sports once/if their dreams are dashed? (In other words: Are Indians doomed to under-perform at the Olympics if cricket holds its sway?)

I don’t see all that much transfer in cricket (beyond baseball, of course). To be a good cricketer requires a fair amount of stamina and fitness and concentration — all useful for an athlete — but it doesn’t really help all that much if you run fast, or throw things really far, or jump really high. Indeed, to prosper, you really need specialized skills — how to bowl spin, for example, or how to swing a ball, or having a defensive technique. Perhaps the higher education analogy works: cricket requires technical training (in engineering, or medicine, or whatever), while other sports only need a liberal arts degree (with a broad ability that allows you to train in anything).

Or do you think I have this all wrong? Haven’t there been many reports of cricketers changing their skill through their career? Didn’t Agarkar, for example, start out as a batsman? Didn’t Pietersen do off-spin initially? If they can more from bowling to batting, surely they can move from cricket to sprints? Is the problem merely that talented Indian would-be sportsmen don’t consider other sports (because cricket is so big in India), or that once they go down the cricket path, they can’t reverse and try out for something else? What good is a googly in the modern world?

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5 thoughts on “Are Cricket Skills Easily Transferable To Other Sports?

  1. cricketnns says:

    LOL, I liked the last sentence. Well cricket is useful for other sports, such as baseball, as you mentioned. That may be the only sport, however there is a question you must also ask. Is there any other sport transferable to cricket? If you look at it that way, then you would say only baseball.

    Usain Bolt is thinking of playing the BBL, while Yohan Blake wants to play for the RCB in the IPL alongside Jamaican Chris Gayle. So they may not have the particular skills needed for cricket, but they still can play it. Do you see my point? 🙂

    The problem with India is that we focus too much on a single sport, i.e. cricket. Beyond cricket, there’s hardly anything else that we excel in. In the Olympics 2012, India managed a measly 6 medals, of which 4 were bronze and 2 were silver.

    IMO, we can follow suit from America by not focusing on a single sport. We need to have more soccer, tennis, and even hockey enthusiasts. I believe that one day someone will step up and say that cricket is not everything in India. Yes, I do believe!

    • duckingbeamers says:

      You know, that Slate article also argues that the U.S. medal dominance largely stems from its athletes’ presence in the swimming and track areas. They just happen to hand out a lot of medals in those two sectors.

      I read a FirstPost article that argued that if India just concentrated on shooting, it could enjoy major increases in medals. I’m not sure how I feel though about such strategic decisions — it seems to undermine the point of the Olympics…

      • Russ says:

        DB, Australia and Britain (and others) have targeted less competitive sports for years. It certainly works. I’d question why India doesn’t dominate cricket to a larger degree (or at all), if they are truly putting all their vast resources into it? More problematically, I think there is a sorting problem for matching athletic genetic ability to compatible sports that increases in difficulty with more population. India fails, in all sports, to find its best athletes – not least because of widespread poverty. The Soviet/Chinese approach of enforced athletics would help, although it is not necessary with sufficient resources; Australia identifies athletes of generic ability – or sub-elite ability in a compatible sport – and pushes them in the right direction, if they are amenable. Whether India has the resources to identify (and then develop) its genetic talent in this way is doubtful though.

        Cricknns, I would argue that, apart from fielding, baseball is not compatible with cricket. The natural baseball hit is different from any cricket stroke. Both golf – many fine golfers amongst elite cricketers – and tennis – particularly on the backhand side – are much more amenable to switching to batting in cricket. The latter are theoretically a huge pool of players. To make a living in tennis you need to be top-100, with at least 3 of elite level speed, fitness, power, consistency of stoke and length. Whereas none of speed, length nor fitness are truly required for cricket. There are thousands of sub-elite tennis players with elite level stroke-making or power in Europe and the USA.

  2. Cricket is very Popular among peoples in India because the media from very time back have much promoted cricket,and which resulted in attracting big sponsors to this game.And this sponsors put very big amount of money and both the cricket and sponsors get benefited from this.

    And in present day same is going own and other parts of media like TV,internet have fasten it more………..& more & more money now flows into cricket.Though from last Olympics people also like to follow some other sports too and media is also giving ample coverage to other sports as we see in present Olympics where India have got 6 medals.In future we will get more money and people indulging in other sports too specially in wrestling and shooting.

  3. Rajib Ahmed says:

    In this Blog …..i give some old historic news about Cricket world cup

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