Cricket Praveen Kumar joined the Samajwadi Party on Sunday. According to reports, Kumar said that he had met the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and decided to join the party. The decision comes ahead of the 2017 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections.
“I am for now I am a kid in this field. As of now I will try to learn it,” Kumar reportedly said when asked about him contesting the state polls. The right armed-medium-pace bowler praised Akhilesh Yadav for his work on the development of sports in Uttar Pradesh. He said that the state chief minister has done a lot for sportsmen and big stadiums are being constructed in Lucknow and Saifai.
Praveen Kumar, who plays for Uttar Pradesh cricket team in first class cricket, has been a part of the Indian cricket team in six test matches and 68 ODI’s, where he has to his credit, 27 and 77 wickets respectively.
Kumar is not the first cricketer to attempt a hand at politics. However, it is rare for an active cricketer to immerse themselves into the field. Mohammad Kaif had joined the Congress in Uttar Pradesh and had even contested in the 2014 loksabha elections from Phulpur, which he eventually lost. Batting great Sachin Tendulkar accepted a Rajya Sabha nomination proposed by the President of India a year before he had retired from all formats of the game.
Eminent former cricketers like Kirti Azad, Navjot Singh Sidhu, Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi etc. have all taken on political careers with varying levels of success.
(With inputs from PTI)