In life, you will always find yourselves making decisions. Some decisions might change your career for a good while some not so much. Even in cricket, decisions are made day in and day out.
What playing eleven to pick, which bowler to bowl, where to place which fielder, whether to run on a misfield, whether to attack the bowler or not and so on. The list never seems to end, does it? These minor decisions have a massive impact on the outcome of the game. A bad decision may well cost the team the game.
Thus, decisions are a very key figure not only in cricket but in all sports too. While these decisions are based mostly on match day situations, there have been some massive decisions taken which have changed the entire career of a cricket player.
Here, we will delve deep and look into five career changing decisions in the history of cricket. Let us know, which one you think was your personal best.
#1 MS Dhoni asked Rohit Sharma to open
When Rohit Sharma made his International debut for India in the year 2007, he was a middle-order batsman and more often than not batted towards the latter half of the innings.
He was highly rated by Sachin Tendulkar who stated that Rohit Sharma had immense talent and that he would succeed in cricket. Rohit had his fair share of luck and got dropped after a string of low performances but in 2011, he made a comeback into the Indian team and did reasonably well.
In the year 2013, Rohit’s career took a drastic turn. The skipper of the Indian team, MS Dhoni decided to open with Rohit Sharma along with Shikhar Dhawan.
The duo’s first assignment was the Champions Trophy in England. Both had fruitful partnerships at the top which helped India win the trophy. After a successful campaign, Rohit Sharma never looked back and since then has been opening the batting for India.
Rohit Sharma credited Dhoni for his brave decision and said, “I believe the decision to open in ODIs changed my career and it was a decision taken by MS Dhoni. I became a better batsman after that. In fact, it helped me understand my game better, react better according to situations.”
#2 Sourav Ganguly asked Sehwag to open
Virender Sehwag was known for his attacking batting. He made his ODI debut in 1999 and Test debut in 2001. Sehwag began his test career as a middle-order batsman and scored a fine 105 against South Africa but it was a valiant effort as India had lost the game.
He was suspended for one game by the ICC due to over-appealing and missed the subsequent test that followed. When he returned for the series against England, he was made the makeshift opener for team India.
He scored a flawless 84 runs at Lords and followed it up with a blistering century at Trent Bridge and announced himself as India’s new test opening batsman.
He continued his quick run scoring and soon became the first ever Indian to score a triple century when he scored a fiery 309 against arch-nemesis Pakistan in Multan.
The decision to make Sehwag the opener was a fine move and later Sehwag himself revealed that it all happened because of Sourav Ganguly who told him, “If you want to play Test cricket, this is the only place.
Don’t ask questions, if you want to do it (open) then do it, otherwise, sit on the bench.” And the rest as you say is history!
#3 Sanath Jayasuriya as a pinch hitter
Sanath Jayasuriya had a long and illustrious career for Sri Lanka spanning close to 600 international games.
He made his international debut way back in 1989 against Australia. In the year 1996 when the Cricket World Cup took place in the sub-continent, Jayasuriya revolutionized cricket by his aggressive batting tactics.
He played attacking strokes and carted the bowlers to all parts of the ground. He not only had given Sri Lanka rollicking starts but also provided much-needed breakthroughs with his left-arm off-spin.
His decision to be the pinch hitter in the team proved to be one of the best decisions in Sri Lankan cricket history. It helped Sri Lanka win their maiden Cricket World Cup and he has deservedly adjudged the man of the tournament.
Jayasuriya, ever since a successful World Cup campaign was known as one of the most destructive batsmen of all time.
#4 Dennis Lillee advised Sachin to consider batting
We all know what Sachin Tendulkar has achieved in cricket and all the batting records he has to his name but little did we know that Dennis Lillee, the former Aussie speedster had advised Sachin the fast bowler to consider batting and it changed his career for good, as we all know it did.
On Lillee’s 68th birthday, Sachin took to Twitter to wish the Australian quick a very happy birthday by posting a video and reliving the time he had spent with him. Also, he revealed how Lillee had changed his career.
He wrote, “Dennis, many, many happy returns for the day. I can never forget the day I met you in Chennai in 1987. I was there to become a fast bowler but this is something that most of the guys don’t know.”
“You correctly said: ‘I think this young lad should go out and bat, forget about bowling’. “But that desire continued and instead of bowling in matches I used to fulfill all my desires in the nets bowling from 17 yards, sometimes also pretending to be Dennis Lillee in the nets.” And that’s how Lillee gave us so many glorious years of Sachin the batsman. Thank you, Dennis!
#5 ACB CEO persuaded Stanikzai to pick Rashid Khan in the team
The 19-year old Afghanistan spinner Rashid Khan has made a mark in cricket with his exceptional bowling but little did we know the skipper of the Afghanistan national team had to be pestered to give Rashid a place in the playing eleven.
In an interview, the CEO of the Afghanistan Cricket Board, Shafiq Stanikzai revealed how he had to persuade Asghar Stanikzai to give Rashid a place in at least the T20 team. Shafiq said, “the day I saw him (Rashid bowling), I fell in love with him.”
“He joined Afghanistan in the under-19 team and then I had to struggle to convince Asghar Stanikzai to put him in the national squad while we were touring Zimbabwe in 2015. So, then we convinced Asghar to make him part of the T20 squad, not the ODI squad and since then he (Rashid) never looked back.”