Cricketers ready to go the longest yard on the greens | india | Hindustan Times
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Cricketers ready to go the longest yard on the greens

india Updated: Feb 01, 2013 01:15 IST
Kaushik Chatterji

Switching to golf is a natural progression for many cricketers. Given the somewhat overlapping skill sets, the transition isn't difficult. Ultimately, it boils down to whacking a small, hard ball. There's one crucial difference, though — the one in golf is stationary.

"Hitting a moving ball is tougher," said Harbhajan Singh in New Delhi on Thursday, while admitting that golf requires a lot of concentration and precision.

"Not sure if I have those just yet. But I've teed off a couple of times at the Delhi Golf Club as well as in Jalandhar, and I can hit the ball very far."

Bhajji is the co-owner of the Uttarakhand Lions, one of eight teams taking part in the inaugural Golf Premier League, to be held next week at Aamby Valley.

One of the other teams, the Colombo Sixers, is owned by Sri Lanka cricketer Mahela Jayawardene, who has been the amateur partner of Shiv Kapur, the India professional who conceptualised the event.

India's World Cup-winning captain Kapil Dev owns the Chandigarh team in India's other franchise-based inter-city golf tournament.

Kapil's association with golf came into prominence after he hung up his cricketing boots, perhaps the reason why a some sections of cricket-crazy India's masses see golf as a retirement plan for cricketers rather than a sport that has brought the country titles on professional tours as well as medals at the Asian Games (Kapur himself contributed a gold at Busan 2002).

The fact, though, is that many of those who sport the baggy green routinely hit the golfing greens, too. South Africa's AB De Villiers used to be a promising junior and a scratch handicapper; cricketing commitments have caused the figure to rise, but not much.

As for Jayawardene, The Sri Lankan wouldlike to think he has a few years of cricket left in him. Bhajji clearly does, what with old foes Australia on their way, sans his bunny, Ricky Ponting.