A few cricketers start out as a specialist bowler but go on to play as a batsman only or vice versa. But the instances of cricketers starting out as a bowler before going on to rule as a batsman are more than the opposite scenario. When a bowler starts showing his prowess as a batsman, he is ruled more of an all-rounder. 

But a few bowlers go on to ditch their first skill to play just as a specialist batsman only. Here are a few cricketers who have started out as a bowler but go on to play as a specialist batsman.

1) Sanath Jayasuriya

Sanath Jayasuriya  Bowler
Sanath Jayasuriya (Picture credits: Cricket World)

The former Sri Lankan cricketer started his career as a specialist left-arm bowler, while he batted lower down the order. In fact, for the first few years of his career, he kept batting lower down the order, while playing as a specialist bowler. 

It was when then captain Arjuna Ranatunga saw the batting talent in Jayasuriya that he asked the cricketer to open the batting for the team. And the rest is history. 

Jayasuriya and Romesh Kaluwitharna went on to become the most devastating opening pair in ODIs. Their partnership was the key for Sri Lanka’s success in the 1996 World Cup. Jayasuriya went on to score 13000 ODI runs for his team while bagging 300-plus wickets.

2) Steve Smith

 Steve Smith  Bowler
 Steve Smith (Picture credits: The Betoorta Advocate)

He started out as a leg-spinner batting lower down the order when he first broke into the Test team. In fact, he batted as low as No 8 when he first started out but five years later, he became the best batsman for Australia since Sir Don Bradman. 

His career had hit a roadblock for a year when he was banned for ball-tampering, but he bounced back admirably in the Ashes series with a tally of 774 runs. Now, he and Virat Kohli are the top batsmen across formats in the world currently.

3) Nasser Hussain


The former England captain started his career as a leg-spinner for England age-group teams. But after growing a foot in height, the trajectory of his bowling got changed, and he moved on to concentrate on his batting. 

He was quoted as saying, “I went from bowling out Graham Gooch in the indoor school with everyone watching, to hitting the roof of the net or bowling triple-bouncers to deadly silence." 

Although he didn’t achieve great heights as a batsman, he was extremely competitive and went on to play 96 Tests for England, scoring 5764 runs with an average of 37.18 including 14 tons and 34 fifties. 

Photo courtesy: Cricket Addictor