Usain Bolt's first love - cricket!

Sakal Times Sports Desk
Friday, 21 August 2020

Growing up in Jamaica, Bolt would train as a child to be a cricketer. His cricket coach would see him run fast during the training and suggested him to try track and field. Even after he became a star post the exploits in Beijing Olympics 2008, he would help his brother train during the cricket season.  

Usain Bolt is regarded as the greatest sprinter of all time. A world record holder in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay, the Jamaican superstar is the only sprinter to win three consecutive Olympic Golds (2008, 2012 and 2016) for 100m and 200m. Arguably the greatest athlete ever, Bolt could have been a fast bowler for West Indies. The islands that have produced some of the finest fast bowlers in the sport could have unearthed another in Bolt. Of course, speed is something we associate with the running legend, and there certainly wouldn't have been a compromise on that. 

On his 34th birthday, we look at Bolt's love for the sport that's very special to the subcontinent and the Caribbean. 

Growing up in Jamaica, Bolt would train as a child to be a cricketer. His cricket coach would see him run fast during the training and suggested him to try track and field. Even after he became a star post the exploits in Beijing Olympics 2008, he would help his brother train during the cricket season.  

Despite being an ardent cricket fan, Bolt's father didn't really encourage his son to pursue his first love, cricket.  

"My father is a huge cricket fan, but when I got to higher secondary, I had two options -- cricket or athletics. My dad said because of the system in Jamaica; it would be better to take up athletics. You just have to run fast in athletics while it's tougher to get into the national (cricket) team'," Bolt told AFP during his promotional visit to India in 2014. 

Bolt has gone on record to express his admiration for Sachin Tendulkar, Matthew Hayden, MS Dhoni, Chris Gayle and Waqar Younis. Out of the list, only Waqar is a fast bowler, something that a young Usain aspired to be.  

During the London Olympics 2002, Bolt would go on to reveal, "When I was really small I loved Pakistan cricket team. Waqar was one of the greatest Pakistan bowlers ever, and I was a bowler, so I really enjoyed watching him. I was a big Pakistan fan until I got older when I noticed that I should actually support my home team." 

During India's tour of West Indies in 2011, Bolt lamented the fact that Sachin Tendulkar wasn't touring his country. During the first Test in Kingston, Jamaica, Bolt would be quoted as saying, "For me, he (Tendulkar) is one of the greatest cricketers I have seen. He has done extremely well and he is a very aggressive cricketer. I look forward to the day when I can see him play live. It would be great had he (Tendulkar) played in Jamaica (in India's first Test against West Indies). I want to see him play, that is my dream." 

During the same interview, he would go on to express his admiration for Dhoni and fellow countryman Gayle. 

A few years down the line, Bolt would go on to get the better of Gayle in the cricket field. This is a much watch. 

More Bolt cricket videos: 

Bolt also wished to play professional football, wanting to represent Manchester United. That's for some other time. 

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