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Thread: Bowlers who became batsmen

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    Cricketer Of The Year zaremba's Avatar
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    Bowlers who became batsmen

    I find it amazing that some players begin as specialists in one discipline and then somehow manage to carve out highly successful careers in another. Here are three left-arm spinners who famously served time at Number 11 before moving up the order:

    Mark Richardson
    Wilfred Rhodes
    Garry Sobers

    There are others too. Nasser Hussain began, I think, as a legspinner who turned to batting when his spin deserted him.

    MW Tate in a way was the grand-daddy of the lot, whose career had not 2 but 3 phases - he was a spinner who turned into a specialist batsman who turned into a fast bowler.

    Any others spring to mind?

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    Global Moderator Prince EWS's Avatar
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    Vikram Solanki played Under 19 cricket for England as a specialist off-spinner.
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    International Captain LongHopCassidy's Avatar
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    Pietersen was an off-spinner for his province before he learnt how to bat like he could.
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    Cricket Web Staff Member fredfertang's Avatar
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    Slightly off the point, well quite a bit off the point actually but so what, Alan Knott was an off spinner when he joined Kent


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    Not a great example, but Bob Woolmer started out as a number 7 or 8 all rounder and ended up opening the batting.

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    First Class Debutant ozone's Avatar
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    I've read somewhere that Nasser Hussain and Michael Atherton used to bowl leg-spin in tandem for young England sides. Don't know too much about Athers as a bowler, but Nasser was definately looked upon as a very good bowler as a youngster, before getting the yips (I think). Shows the strength of mind of the man to be able to convert himself into a test class batsman.
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    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LongHopCassidy View Post
    Pietersen was an off-spinner for his province before he learnt how to bat like he could.
    Actually most evidence suggets he was a batsman who was being, plain wrongly, treated as a fingerspinner and that this was what so incensed him into making the move to the UK.
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    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend Top_Cat's Avatar
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    Mike Bevan was a left-arm quick at U/19 level.
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    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ozone View Post
    I've read somewhere that Nasser Hussain and Michael Atherton used to bowl leg-spin in tandem for young England sides. Don't know too much about Athers as a bowler, but Nasser was definately looked upon as a very good bowler as a youngster, before getting the yips (I think). Shows the strength of mind of the man to be able to convert himself into a test class batsman.
    Atherton was always a batsman who bowled - batting was the thing for him since he knew what cricket was. Hussain only started to develop his batting after his wristspin went to pot (he was about 14 or 15 at that time).

    As for what caused Hussain's bowling to cease being viable, he seems to think it was his increase in height which changed his trajectory and that he honestly didn't really have much of a clue what he was doing. He just bowled naturally, without giving any thought to it. He said he was in his mid-20s before anyone spoke to him seriously about the art of wristspin.

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    Cricket Web Staff Member fredfertang's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ozone View Post
    I've read somewhere that Nasser Hussain and Michael Atherton used to bowl leg-spin in tandem for young England sides. Don't know too much about Athers as a bowler, but Nasser was definately looked upon as a very good bowler as a youngster, before getting the yips (I think). Shows the strength of mind of the man to be able to convert himself into a test class batsman.
    Athers was top of Lanky's bowling averages in 1990 with 45 wickets at 26 apiece - and we ended up 6th in the table

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    International Coach G.I.Joe's Avatar
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    I think Ravi Shastri started out as just a spinner before he realised he could bore people twice as much by also opening the batting.

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    Global Moderator Prince EWS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by G.I.Joe View Post
    I think Ravi Shastri started out as just a spinner before he realised he could bore people twice as much by also opening the batting.
    Haha, that sums up my club cricket career.

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    International Captain LongHopCassidy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard View Post
    Actually most evidence suggets he was a batsman who was being, plain wrongly, treated as a fingerspinner and that this was what so incensed him into making the move to the UK.
    So all his trashing of the quota system was a convenient front? Or was there a batting vacancy that was being filled by a quota player when it should have gone to KP?

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    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LongHopCassidy View Post
    So all his trashing of the quota system was a convenient front? Or was there a batting vacancy that was being filled by a quota player when it should have gone to KP?
    I don't think he was fond of the quota system or anything, but he certainly believed himself a batsman and was less than enamoured that his fingerspin was the only thing that was getting him what few games he got. So yes, I presume there were Coloured\Asian batsmen who were getting the top-order slots he thought - and with hindsight rightfully so - should've gone to him.

    Incidentally, the SAfrican national team did the same to Jean-Paul Duminy when they first picked him in ODIs. He batted at eight or so and bowled plenty of overs.

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