Indian cricket players are frequently seen taking the field in political debates. Palwankar Baloo was the first cricket player to enter politics, claims historian Ram Guha. After leaving international cricket, many cricketers eventually entered politics. Let us look at Indian cricketers who became politicians in India eventually.
1. Gautam Gambhir
In preparation for the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections, former Indian opener Gautam Gambhir joined the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). During the Delhi elections, Gambhir, a significant contributor to India's victories in the 2007 ICC World T20 and the 2011 World Cup, competed against Atishi Marlena of the AAP and Arvinder Singh Lovely of the Congress.
2. Mohammad Azharuddin
In 2009, when he joined Congress, the slick Hyderabadi cricketer Mohammad Azharuddin started his political career. Azhar won the 2009 general elections in Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh, and was elected as a member of parliament. However, the former India captain was soundly defeated in the Moradabad constituency during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. During the 1990s, Azharuddin, a skilled middle-order batsman, captained the Indian team in 47 Test matches.
3. Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi
Former Indian captain Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi was one of the first cricketers to enter politics and run for office. The Nawab, one of India's best cricket captains, ran in two Lok Sabha elections but lost both times. Despite the support of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi and captain of the cricket team that won the World Cup, Kapil Dev, he ultimately lost the election. After these setbacks, Pataudi decided to leave the thorny world of politics.
4. Kirti Azad
Former all-rounder Kirti Azad, a member of the 1983 World Cup-winning team, ran as a BJP candidate and won three elections from the Darbhanga constituency in Bihar. He formally entered the Congress in February 2019. Kirti Azad, the son of former Bihar Chief Minister Bhagwat Jha Azad, was an aggressive right-hand batter and a rather quick off-spinner. He formerly served as an MLA for Delhi's Gole Market district.
5. Navjot Singh Sidhu
Navjot Singh Sidhu, a minister in the Punjab government, began his political career by running for the Lok Sabha in 2004 on the BJP ticket. Sidhu, who played for India in 51 Tests and 136 ODIs, has had a variety of political positions. He was not given a ticket by the BJP in 2014; instead, the seat went to Arun Jaitley, a crucial party strategist. He received the Rajya Sabha ticket in 2016, but he later quit.
6. Mohammad Kaif
Between 2000 and 2006, Mohammad Kaif participated in 125 ODIs and 13 Test matches. After joining the Congress, he ran for the 2014 Lok Sabha seat from Phulpur in Uttar Pradesh. Due to his excellent athleticism and throwing abilities, he is regarded as one of the greatest fielders in the Indian cricket squad.
7. Vinod Kambli
The fastest Indian to get 1000 Test runs was former India Test cricketer Vinod Kambli, who was known for both his flashy lifestyle and his brazen batting. Such was his progress that, in 1993, against Zimbabwe, he scored 227 runs, breaking the 200-run mark before Tendulkar. He attempted politics. He was elected vice-president of the Lok Bharati Party, but he was defeated in the Vikhroli (Mumbai) constituency in the 2009 Vidhan Sabha elections.
8. Manoj Tiwary
Manoj Tiwary, a cricketer, joined the Trinamool Congress before the West Bengal assembly elections. At a gathering for Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in the Hooghly district, Tiwary formally joined the TMC. Around the world, it's typical to see retired athletes enter politics. Imran Khan, the prime minister of Pakistan and a former national captain, is possibly the most well-known cricketer who also became a politician.
9. Harbhajan Singh
Harbhajan Singh, a former off-spinner for India, is a Punjabi member of the Rajya Sabha. In March 2022, he was nominated for the job by the Aam Aadmi Party and won without opposition. Additionally, Singh has taken over 400 wickets in Test matches. The 42-year-old has played in 236 ODIs and taken 269 wickets. Additionally, Singh has two test hundreds and nine half-centuries to his credit.
10. Chetan Chauhan
Sunil Gavaskar's opening partner in tests, Chetan Chauhan, has served as a member of parliament twice from the Uttar Pradesh district of Amroha. In 1981, as his cricket career came to an end, he transitioned into politics and joined the Bharatiya Janata Party. In Uttar Pradesh, he holds the position of Minister for Youth and Sports.