Engineer turned into cricketer may look absurd at once but if you look back into the history there are cases when an engineer turned into the cricketer before they are called as the legends of the game. In a country like India where the competition to get success in sports is very tough and if we state it is impossible it would be not wrong. There are talented players who have been unsuccessful to make an impact at the highest level after still having immense experience at the domestic circuit. It doesn't mean that the player can't get success but the probability of getting success is not very much sure. The Indian system where too many things have revolved around illusion with improper sports facilities at the state or domestic level makes the situation more difficult for a player who dreams about to play for the country one day.
But there is a term called exception which has been proved right by the engineer with his creativity to turn things around to be anything in the world and there it is the cricketing world has witnessed when Engineer turned cricketer puts his skills on the field to stunned the audience. Cricket in India is more than just a game. People take this game as a religion and make it the most popular game of India among other sports.
Having said, let us take a look at the five players who are having an engineering degree before they turned into cricketer.
Prasanna was the first Indian Bowler to take 100 test wickets in 20 matches which was the record for almost three decades before R.Ashwin broke it. Prasanna was one of the best right-arm off break in the 70s to 80s alongside BS Chandrashekhar. He made his debut against England in 1962 with one overseas tour against West Indies before he went to complete his engineering degree from National Institute of Engineering, Mysore.
Prasanna returned to cricket in 1967 and played till 1978. In 1970, Prasanna was honoured with the Padma Shri Award too. He was a brilliant bowler on the overseas conditions for team India along with the home conditions where he beat every batsman with his flight, bounce and pace. In the domestic circuit he was the most difficult bowler against the batsman who liked to score runs against him. In 235 first-class games, Prasanna took 957 wickets at an average of 23.45 which include 56 five-wickets haul and 9 ten-wickets haul while in the 49 test, Prasanna took 189 wickets at an average 30.48 which include 10 five-wickets haul and 2 ten-wickets haul with an economy of 2.40.
One of the former Australian great once said “His knowledge of spin bowling, I mean, he combined his engineering background with spin bowling and he came up with things, you know, I have spoken to Shane Warne at length about spin bowling and he is fascinating to listen to, so is Muttiah Muralitharan. Murali is very good to listen to. But I have never had the conversations with anyone else I had with Prasanna because he had the added bonus of being an engineer,” Chappell said on Sony Ten Pit Stop.
Former team India captain who has played for Tamil Nadu also at the domestic level of cricket. Srikkanth was the Virat Kohli of 80s who with his flamboyant batting destroyed the opposition. He made his debut against England in 1981 when he opened with Sunil Gavaskar. Before starting playing at the world level Srikkanth realized in the fourth year of his engineering while playing at the different levels of cricket that he could play for team India in the red-ball cricket.
Srikkanth holds an engineering degree in electrical engineering from the college of engineering, Guindy in Chennai. His batting approach was very clear freestyle batting and he was somewhere trendsetter too for this whirlwind batting for the youngsters. In 145 ODIs, Srikkanth scored 4000 as an opener at an average of 29.01 with 29 half-centuries and 4 centuries.
While in the 43 tests, scored 2062 runs at an average of 29.88 with 2 centuries and 12 half-centuries. The highlight of his career was that he was the highest run scorer in the 1983 world cup final which team India won for the first-time after defeating the invincible West Indies.
The enigma called Anil Kumble. Nicknamed “Jumbo”. Not everyone knows that Kumble holds an engineering degree from RVCE college, Bangalore in Mechanical Engineering in the year 1991. But he started playing cricket for team India in 1990 when he debuted against England in red-ball cricket.
Till retirement Kumble was the frontline spinner for team India across the formats who troubled every batsman with his quick pace. He is the highest taker in the Indian Cricket History across the formats till date. In 132 tests Kumble took 619 wickets at an average of 29.65 with 35 five-wickets haul and 8 ten-wickets haul while in 271 ODIs took 337 wickets at an average of 30.89.
Anil Kumble in first-class cricket was the very feared bowler with 1136 wickets in 244 games at an average of 25.83 with 72 five-wickets haul and 20 ten-wickets haul. When Kumble asked about the purpose of education, Kumble reckoned “It helps to balance the good and bad. In cricket, you can't guarantee success, so education equips you to deal with it."
The trendsetter of the 90s era and was the first genuine fast bowler in the Indian Cricket History. Although Mohammed Nisar was the first Indian fast bowler before the pre-independence era, he didn't play many games for team India. Srinath was the most complete fast bowler India has ever produced who never had the pacer like me before Srinath. Also known as Mysore Express and the first Indian Bowler to take 300 wickets in the white-ball cricket.
Srinath alongside Anil Kumble were the two best frontline bowlers of his era. Srinath also holds the records of most wickets in the four world cup (1992-2003) with 44 wickets. But before I started playing cricket there was an interesting fact about this lanky pacer. Srinath holds an engineering degree in Instrumentation from the SJCE college, Mysore.
With 236 test and 315 ODI wickets Srinath is the second highest wicket taker after Anil Kumble in Indian Cricket History. In an interview Srinath once quoted that “You may feel clubbing education with cricket is a tough task in life. Going by the experience of cricketers like me, Anil Kumble and Krishnamachari Srikkanth, who have pursued engineering, it is not a difficult task to club education with cricket”.
How many of you know that he is an engineer first then Cricketer. There was a conversation in Ashwin quoted “As for my engineering degree, my parents put me through it after I played my Under-17 cricket”. However, he acknowledges the fact that the hard yards that he had to go through in college made him realize how much he loved cricket”. Ashwin holds an engineering degree in Information and Technology from the SSN college of engineering, Chennai. The other batch mates of his batch have gone into the software company while Ashwin decided to take another turn to live his dream of being a cricketer.
Ashwin is the fastest right-arm off break bowler in the world to reach 50,100,150,200,250,300 and 350 wickets in red-ball cricket. It looks that he has the alignment into cricket from the past but that's not true he is first bowler without having a strong cricketing background.
In 70 test, Ashwin has taken 362 wickets at an average of 25.36 with 27 five-wickets haul and 7 ten-wickets haul while in 111 ODIs, Ashwin has taken 150 wickets at an average of 32.91 and he is still having lot of cricket left in him to represent team India in red-ball cricket and hope to see him in action again soon.