Jamaican Sprint superstar Usain Bolt said today he wanted to play cricket for Jamaica as a youngster but his father convinced him to take up track and field instead.
Bolt, the world’s fastest man, could have followed in the footsteps of Jamaican speedsters Michael Holding and Courtney Walsh, who struck fear into the hearts of batsmen while playing for the West Indies in the 1980s and 90s.
Asked on a promotional visit to India why he did not pursue his love of cricket, the six-time Olympic gold medallist replied: “Blame it on my dad.”
“My father is a huge cricket fan, but when I got to higher secondary, I had two options — cricket or athletics,” he said.
“My dad said because of the system in Jamaica, it would be better to take up athletics. He said, ‘You just have to run fast in athletics while it’s tougher to get into the national (cricket) team’.”
Bolt, an ardent cricket fan, was in Bangalore to captain a seven-a-side team against one led by India’s cricket World Cup hero Yuvraj Singh.
“As an athlete, I have seen records come and go. They have always been broken, but if you want to be as great as me, you have to work very hard. That’s why my records will stand the time.”
The exhibition match, organised by both men’s sponsors, was staged in a stadium in the southern city of Bangalore.
Bolt, the world record holder in both the 100 metres and 200 metres, said his records at this stage were “pretty much out of reach”.
“There are quite a few runners who could challenge me but not beat me,” said Bolt, who has raced just four times this season.
Bolt is set on competing in his final Olympics in Rio in 2016 before calling time on his career in 2017 after the world championships.
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