Hockey World Cup's cricket connection
The hockey World Cup in India got off to a flying start with underdogs South Africa scoring the first goal of the tournament against the more fancied Spanish side. And how is that relevant to cricket, you may ask. Julian Hykes, who scored the opening goal, is an aspiring cricketer who has represented Border twice in List A matches. Hykes follows in the fine tradition of South African cricketers who have made a mark in both games – Jonty Rhodes was selected for the national hockey side during the 1996 Olympics, an offer he had to refuse due to cricketing commitments. Despite being equally proficient at both games during his younger days, Hykes has focused more on hockey since breaking into the national team in 2007. However, like Rhodes, he too is keen on making a mark in cricket. “For the last three years I have been focusing more on hockey. I am 27, and am running against time if I want to make it big in cricket, but I haven’t lost hope,” Hykes told the Indian Express.
The cricketing connection does not end there – the Australia team is coached by Ric Charlesworth, a silver medallist at the Montreal Olympics in 1976, who also played 47 first-class games for Western Australia.
Nitin Sundar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo