Cricket is a demanding game. For any athlete, there is a certain amount of strain on the body. However, when a player plays as an all-rounder, the body requires an incredible amount of strength to be able to do both effectively. Often it takes a toll on the player and the player ends up going through long stretches of injury.
The case in point is Chris Woakes and Hadik Pandya. Both of them can be rated as two of the most talented all-rounders in world cricket today but they struggle with the demands of modern-day cricket. To be able to do both jobs well requires a great degree of focus and skill. There are times that one suffers due to the lack of attention.
Hence, there are have been situations that players have given up one to focus on the other completely. We look at 5 players who quit bowling to become expert batsmen.
1. Steven Smith
Smith is currently the world’s best test batsman and averages above 60. His unique stance and mannerisms make him a different class of batsman. In the past few years, he has dominated bowlers both at home and abroad. However, he began his career in the Australian team as a leg-spinner and was often compared to the legendary Shane Warne. He came down to bat at no. 8 but with the course of time, he improved his technique and rose up the batting line-up. Today he is the fundamental pillar of the Australian batting lineup and has practically stopped bowling to only focus on batting.
2. Shane Watson
Another Australian on this list is Watson. He was picked by Ponting as a medium-pace swing bowler who would come down the order and add a bit of a batting cushion in the tail. Over the years, Watson’s batting took the centre stage. He continuously improved and then started opening for Australia in limited-overs. He opened for CSK and Rajasthan Royals as well. In such grueling schedules, he drastically reduced his bowling to stay fit and focus on batting.
3. Hardik Pandya
There has been no official word on this but selectors and management have suggested that Pandya is unable to respond to the demanding work schedule. The recent outings in Australia, England, and IPL also suggest that Pandya is only focusing on his big-hitting abilities rather than bowling. He bowls one occasionally over but has stopped bowling as a full-time bowler. He has been picked in the T20 World Cup for the purpose of the finisher.
4. Ben Stokes
Stokes continues to be the world’s best all-rounder to date but it is evident that the work pressure is becoming too much for him to handle. He opted out of the India series citing mental health. His bowling has reduced over the years as he continues to improve and impress as a complete batsman. His absence in the batting line-up is being deeply felt by England in the series. Stokes as a bowler is not being missed much due to the brilliant performances put up by the English seamers. Starting now. It could become that Stokes focuses more on his batting and occasionally bowls if the situation demands.
5. Angelo Mathews
There has been a personal admission by him that his test bowling days may have ended and he would only strive to deliver with the bat. Mathews was one of the most talented cricketers to come from Sri Lanka but has been out of action for long period on account of injuries. A couple of years back, he reduced the bowling pressure on himself to become a solid middle-order batsman for Sri Lanka.