The Reuters global sports blog
Usain Bolt: ultimate pace bowler
Usain Bolt has long said that his first sporting love was cricket and earlier this year he caused a stir at Sabina Park in Jamaica when he turned up for the first test match against England. But, until Sunday, no-one knew if the fastest man in the world was any good with a bat or ball in his hand.
Bolt was invited to play in a charity tournament organised by West Indies opening batsman and fellow Jamaican Chris Gayle and according to some of the players I talked to had been talking a good game before putting his pads on.
The triple Olympic and world champion, was an opening batsman and opening bowler with his high school, before his father persuaded him to focus on track and field, but his lack of time at the crease was evident in his first few shots as he played and missed at former West Indies paceman Courtney Walsh.
But when Gayle, who has used his off-spin regularly at international level, came on, Bolt had the capacity crowd at the Kaiser Sports Ground on their feet as he took a stride down the track and smashed Gayle for a straight six.
The enthusiastic crowd were disappointed when Bolt got out shortly afterwards for 13 but they had no idea what was to come when the double world record holder got hold of the ball.
Coming in off a full run, Bolt gave Gayle a true West Indian welcome with a sharply rising bouncer that had another quickie from the past Curtly Ambrose, roaring with laughter.
Gayle got some revenge with a sweet six of his own but then came the moment that those present would have spent their evenings talking about — Bolt clean bowled Gayle, as you can see in the video above.
Bolt is never one to shy from a bit of theatre and escorted Gayle towards the pavilion, pointing out the way back.
So yes, Usain Bolt doesn’t just make running world record times look easy, he can turn up after years without playing and bowl out one of the world’s top cricketers.
And in an exclusive interview with Reuters, Bolt, who says he wants to get some time to chill out after his two record-breaking years, says he is looking forward to playing more…. soccer.
I wouldn’t bet against him being a pretty decent striker, would you?