Started with boxing and athletics but became a bowler, two have special records to their name

Orhan Wadia
Orhan Wadia - Editor
8 Min Read


New Delhi. It is impossible to say where fate will take you. At the beginning of their careers, these three players had never even dreamt that one day they would play cricket for Team India. Haryana's Barinder Sran's dream was to make a name in boxing, while Abhimanyu Mithun and Tinu Yohanan wanted to make a name in the world of athletics. Abhimanyu Mithun wanted to become the country's top level javelin thrower, while Kerala's Tinu's father TC Yohanan has won a gold medal for the country in the long jump event of the Asian Games. In such a situation, athletics was also Tinu's first love.

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During this time, there came a time when these three players not only thought about leaving their original sport and making a career in cricket but also made it a reality with hard work. Saran, Mithun and Tinu, all three played for India as fast bowlers. It is a different matter that despite some excellent performances, their international career did not last long. Left-arm fast bowler Saran holds the record of performing best in T20 international debut match for India, while Mithun has taken a hat-trick in all three formats (First Class, ODI and T20) in domestic cricket. In the T20 format, he took 5 wickets in an over.

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Barinder Sran: Became a fast bowler while doing boxing

Born in Sirsa, Haryana, Barinder Sran would have been a top class boxer if he had not been a cricketer. To earn a name in boxing, he used to train in Bhiwani's academy. Haryana has a glorious history in boxing and this small state has produced excellent players of wrestling and kabaddi apart from boxing. Barinder, a farmer's son, once read an advertisement of Kings XI Punjab and from here the desire to become a cricketer arose in his mind. To learn the tricks of bowling, he joined former cricketer Amit Uniyal's Mohali-based academy in 2011. He worked hard to fulfill his dream. Many times he used to cycle several kilometers from his village Kharar to Mohali. Being a left-arm fast bowler was also a 'plus point' for him. Sran's hard work paid off and by performing brilliantly in domestic cricket, he was successful in making a place in the Indian team in 2016.

On 12 January 2016, he made his international debut by playing an ODI against Australia in Perth and took three wickets for 56 runs. In the match, Sran took the wickets of Aaron Finch, David Warner and Steve Smith. However, despite this performance, Team India had to face defeat by 5 wickets in the match. In June 2016 itself, Sran made his T20I debut against Zimbabwe in Harare and became the 'Player of the Match' by taking 4 wickets for 10 runs. This is still the best bowling performance by an Indian bowler in T20 International. Praising Barinder's performance, legendary cricketer Yuvraj Singh once tweeted, 'Barinder reminds me of young Zaheer Khan.' However, Sran's international career did not last long and he could play only 6 ODIs and 2 T20 matches. In ODIs, he has taken 7 wickets at an average of 38.42 and in T20s, he has taken 6 wickets at an average of 6.83. On June 22, Sran played his last international match in the form of a T20 against Zimbabwe. Sran's name also came into the news when he was bought by Punjab Kings for Rs 2.2 crore in 2018 for IPL and by Mumbai Indians in 2019 for a huge amount of Rs 3.4 crore. Sran has 18 wickets in 24 IPL matches.

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Abhimanyu Mithun: Started bowling while throwing javelin

The story of Abhimanyu Mithun of Karnataka, who played 4 Tests and 5 ODIs for India in 2010-11, is also similar to that of Barinder Sran. Abhimanyu was a well-known name of Karnataka in the javelin throw event of athletics but was unable to move forward due to some reasons. Later, on the advice of a friend, he tried his hand at fast bowling and earned a lot of fame in domestic cricket. He also played for India. He has 9 wickets and 120 runs in four Test matches and 3 wickets and 51 runs in 5 ODIs. He played his last match in international cricket against West Indies in December 2011. Abhimanyu has achieved the feat of taking a hat-trick in all three formats of domestic cricket. He took a hat-trick in his Ranji Trophy debut match for Karnataka against UP in 2009. After this, he took the wickets of Shahrukh Khan, M Mohammed and Murugan Ashwin on consecutive balls against Tamil Nadu in the final of Vijay Hazare Trophy (ODI) in October 2019. Exactly a month later, Abhimanyu Mithun repeated this feat in the T20 format. He took 5 wickets including a hat-trick in an over against Haryana in the semi-final of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy (ODI). Mithun dismissed Himanshu Rana, Rahul Tewatia, Sumit Kumar and Amit Mishra on the first 4 balls of his over. He took the wicket of Jayant Yadav on the last ball of the over. Mithun has said goodbye to first class cricket in 2021.

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Tinu Yohannan: Gave up high jump to become a cricketer

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Kerala's tall fast bowler Tinu Yohannan's first love was not cricket, but athletics. His father TC Yohannan has won a gold medal in long jump for the country. In the 1974 Tehran Asian Games, 'Senior Yohannan' became the first Asian athlete to cover a distance of more than 8 meters by jumping 8.07 meters. His record remained intact for three decades. Tinu also used to participate in high jump events in the beginning. Later he chose cricket as a career. Tinu honed his bowling skills at the MRF Pace Academy. He played for India as a fast bowler from 2001 to 2002. However, he could play only three Tests and three ODIs. He took 5 wickets each in both Tests and ODIs

tag: Cricket records, Indian Cricket Team, Team India, Test cricket

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