Cricket Stars That Became Famous Politicians
Revealed on this page are the names of some of the most iconic cricket stars who went on to become famous politicians. Some of these famous cricketers had more of a role in politics than others, even as far as becoming their country’s President or Prime Minister.
We can start by taking a look at five of the most famous cricket stars who became politicians after their professional cricket careers ended, and then we can take a look at several other honourable mentions further down.
Top 5 cricket stars who became famous politicians
If you ask anyone aged 30 or above who is slightly familiar with cricket ‘which former cricket star went on to become a famous politician after his career ended,’ most will say Imran Khan, and they would be correct.
Others will be able to tell you the names of several more cricketers who became famous politicians.
After scouring the internet to find out just how many cricketers became either a member of parliament (MP), mayor for their local town or city, or held office in the main government or opposition party in one capacity or another, you will find there are, in fact, hundreds of people who followed this path.
The top 5 most notable cricket players who became politicians include the following names:
- Imran Khan – became the Prime Minister of Pakistan – the head of government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan from 2018-2022, although he has spent several years before this working in politics
- Lester Bird – was in office in 1991 for a brief period as the Finance Minister of Antigua and Barbuda
- Arjuna Ranatunga – was an MP in Sri Lanka for almost two decades (2001 to 2020) and had various important roles in several areas, including the Ministry of Petroleum Resources Development, the Minister of Ports and Shipping, and the Deputy Minister of Tourism, to name a few
- Kirti Azad – spent around a decade working as a politician in India as an MP in the Lok Sabha
- Navjot Singh Sidhu – spent around five years as an MP in the Lok Sabha as the President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee
Other notable cricketers who also went on to become famous politicians in their home countries were former Sri Lankan cricketer and captain Sanath Jayasuriya, and Grantley Adams (Sir Grantley Herbert Adams), who served as a Barbadian politician, the inaugural Premier of Barbados between 1953 and 1958.
Adams also then went on to become the first and only prime minister of the West Indies Federation between 1958 and 1962.
The following former cricket players also became politicians in India. While none of them are widely regarded as the best cricket player in India for all times, they all had successful careers and will be remembered fondly by fans who supported them and watched them at the height of their cricket careers.
Examples include Manoj Tiwary, who became a member of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) ahead of the assembly polls in West Bengal. Also, Gautam Gambhir joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP political party) in March 2019.
Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, former captain of the Indian men’s national team, was one of the first players to leave the game and enter into politics (in India, that is). Mohammad Kaif became a member of the Indian Congress and contested the 2014 Lok Sabha elections from Phulpur, Uttar Pradesh.
Another former captain of the India national cricket team, iconic batsman Mohammad Azharuddin, entered politics in 2009 when he became a member of Congress. He became a member of parliament after winning the general elections in 2009 from Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh.
Chetan Chauhan, Sunil Gavaskar’s opening Test partner, has also been an MP on two separate occasions from the Amroha constituency in Uttar Pradesh.
Vinod Kambli, a former Test batsman for India, was briefly a member of the Lok Bharati Party, and after retiring from cricket, there was also Manoj Prabhakar, who became a member of the BJP political party.
Are there any other sports stars who became politicians?
Yes. Over the past hundred years, many people have been involved in sports in some way before getting into politics. Some were more successful in sports than others, and some were more successful as politicians than others. Here are several names you may already be familiar with by now.
Jesse Ventura, a former WWF (now WWE) wrestler in the United States, was elected mayor of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, three years after entering the world of politics. Former Major League Baseball (MLB) star Jim Bunning entered politics in 1980 and was a Kentucky senator from 1980 until 1984.
He also served in the Kentucky House of Representatives between 1987 and 1999 before returning once more as a state senator between 1999 and 2011. Manny Pacquiao, one of the most famous boxers of all time, was a Philippine House of Representatives member between 2010 and 2016.
The other most famous sports star who became a politician was the former professional football player George Weah, from Liberia. He is the President of his country to this day.
Other names you may want to learn more about include Napoleon Harris, Tarō Asō, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Seiko Hashimoto, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, and Jean-Paul Adam, to name a few.
Whether any of today’s most iconic cricket stars, such as Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumra, Rishabh Pant, Kuldip Yadav, Shuban Gill, or Ravindra Jadeja, go on to become politicians after their careers as professional cricketers remains to be seen.
There’s a good chance that at least one of these stars will end up getting into politics in one capacity or another. Some of the other names that we mustn’t forget to mention who entered into politics after playing cricket were South Africa’s Ossie Newton-Thompson (MP), India’s Sachin Tendulkar (MP), Mohammad Azharuddin (MP), Chetan Chauhan (MP), and Laxim Ratan Shukla (Member of the West Bengal Legislative Assembly).
Syed Iftikhar Bokhari entered the Senate of Pakistan, and almost 200 former cricket players (amateurs, semi-pros, and pros) entered politics in the United Kingdom from the mid-1800s to the present day.