Second Innings

Players on their careers and hobbies outside cricket

Jehan Mubarak

Make a splash

Before he took up cricket as a career, Jehan Mubarak swam and played water polo

As told to Siddarth Ravindran

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Jehan Mubarak muscles the ball on his way to an unbeaten 47, Sri Lanka v India, 5th ODI, Colombo, August 29, 2008
Jehan Mubarak: a 50-metre national butterfly champion © AFP
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Players/Officials: Jehan Mubarak
Teams: Sri Lanka

I was a swimmer before I became a cricketer. I began swimming at school, at the Royal College, when I was about five or six. Then, like every Sri Lankan schoolboy, I started playing cricket. But I continued swimming, and also played water polo.

I mainly concentrated on short-distance swimming, and after competing in age-group competitions I won the national 50-metre butterfly. I was originally a back-stroke swimmer but later turned to butterfly.

Once I made a mark in junior cricket - for the Under-17 and U-19 sides - the decision to switch to cricket was an easy one, because there isn't much scope in the subcontinent to make it as a swimmer.

In 2006 or 2007 there was a national swim meet, one of the top events in the country. I swam in the heats and qualified for the finals, but we had national cricket practice that afternoon so I had to inform the organisers that I wouldn't be able to take part in the finals.

After I left school, though I wasn't really training, I went and swam because for short-distance events you don't need that much endurance, and I found that I was still able to compete with the other guys.

Cricket and swimming are completely different. Swimming is a very individual sport. You have to motivate yourself, and the results are often not that noticeable. In cricket you know if you are doing well - you score runs - whereas in swimming it's not that apparent. From a physical point of view, swimming kept me fit. It kept me healthy. Even now when I swim, it is relaxing, especially for recovering from injuries.

I haven't taken part in any competitive meets for some time but I do play a bit of water polo. I joined the national water polo team that went to Hong Kong on a tour a few years ago, and I still swim off and on.

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Posted by Duminda on (October 31, 2010, 16:57 GMT)

In addition to the above Mubarak is also a Graduate of University of Colombo in the field of Science.

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