Beyond the boundary: These are India’s most educated cricket players

Indian cricket players
Many of the most famous Indian cricket players have also excelled off the field. Source: AFP

With over 2.5 billion viewers, cricket is a well-known sport worldwide. It is particularly embedded into Indian culture, where the sight of children with makeshift bats and balls is a common sight throughout the country.

What may surprise many fans is that several renowned cricketers have impressive academic credentials behind the glamour of their on-field exploits. Some of your favourite players have attended university, pursuing degrees in engineering, medicine, or even PhDs. 

And while pursuing higher education is encouraged and expected in a typical Indian household, many Indian cricket players are on a different path. It’s not uncommon for talented cricketers to make the tough choice of putting a hold on their studies to hone their cricketing skills.

Indian cricket players

Did you know cricket legend Virat Kohli chose to give up his education to focus on his cricket career? Source: AFP

Trading a scroll for a bat

Choosing between pursuing higher education and a career in sports is a decision many professional athletes have faced. Some Indian cricket players had to trade in a scroll for their bat because they opted to prioritise their passion for cricket over continuing their education.

This is unsurprising in the sports industry with the immense competition and demands of the sport.

In a country where cricket is like a religion, the competition to make it to the top is intense. Many talented young players devote countless hours to training and playing matches, leaving little time for their studies. 

It’s common for many Indian cricket players to have completed only high school or even dropped out before getting a degree. Many of them join cricket academies or training camps at a young age, where they focus solely on honing their cricketing skills. 

Additionally, the lure of a career in cricket can be very attractive, especially considering the financial rewards and fame that come with success in the sport. For some players, the opportunity to represent their country or play in prestigious leagues like the Indian Premier League (IPL) outweighs the prospect of pursuing further education.

Here are some of the best Indian cricket players who traded in their education for their bat and have no regrets: 

1. Virat Kohli 

Virat Kohli is undeniably one of the greatest Indian cricketers of all time, often called the G.O.A.T. (Greatest of All Time). He began playing cricket at a young age and made his debut at just 18 years old. 

Kohli attended Vishal Bharti Public School and Savior Convent School in Delhi up to class 12. However, instead of pursuing higher education, he chose to focus entirely on cricket. His decision to prioritise cricket is one he and his fans definitely don’t regret.

Indian cricket players

Sachin Tendulkar chose to focus on his cricketing career instead of his studies. Source: AFP

2. Sachin Tendulkar

Sachin Tendulkar is also on the list of best Indian cricket players in the world who chose the sport over his degree. 

He did not further his education beyond high school and dedicated his life to cricket. He began his cricket career at 16 and hasn’t looked back since.

3. Mahendra Singh Dhoni (MS Dhoni)

Did you know that Mahendra Singh Dhoni (MS Dhoni) was pursuing a bachelor of communication degree at Christ University?  

While he ended up choosing his cricketing dreams instead of completing his degree, it’s a choice that seems to have worked out in his favour. 

He has captained the most international matches and is the most successful Indian captain on the field.

While Kohil, Tendulkar, and Dhoni chose cricket over getting a degree, a number of Indian cricket players have found success in the sport while completing their studies.

10 most educated Indian cricket players

Indian cricket players

Anil Kumble is one of the most educated Indian cricket players. Source: AFP

1. Anil Kumble 

Anil Kumble is not just an excellent spin bowler but also one of the most educated players in the sport’s history. 

He has had an exceptional cricketing career, highlighted by 619 Test wickets and 337 ODI scalps. 

Yet, it is his academic achievements that truly set him apart. He graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Rashtreeya Vidyalaya College of Engineering in Bangalore. 

2. Aavishkar Salvi 

Probably the most educated Indian cricket player, Aavishkar Salvi has a PhD in Astrophysics. The former right-arm pacer is not only recognised for his brief stint in international cricket but also for his educational achievements. 

Born and raised in Mumbai, Salvi pursued a cricketing career while pursuing higher education. His bowling style has even been compared to the legendary Australian pacer Glenn McGrath.

3. Murali Vijay

Murali Vijay has scored 3983 runs in over 61 matches. But aside from his stellar performance on the cricket field and the legacy he’s left behind, he’s got more to him than just a powerful batting style.

Vijay comes from a scholarly Tamil family, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that he holds a postgraduate degree in Economics from SRM University.

Indian cricket players

Ravichandran Ashwin is known for his talents on and off the field. Source: AFP

4. Ravichandran Ashwin

Ravichandran Ashwin stands out not only for his exceptional cricketing skills but also for his impressive educational background. Unlike many of his peers who prioritise cricket over education, Ashwin managed to strike a balance between both. 

He holds a degree in Information Technology from Sri Sivasubramaniya Nadar College of Engineering, Chennai.

His commitment to education sets him apart as a role model for aspiring cricketers, proving that success can be achieved in both areas.

5. Javagal Srinath

Also on the list of most educated Indian cricket players is Javagal Srinath. He holds a Bachelor of Engineering in Instrumental Technology from Sri Jayachamarajendra College of Engineering (SJCE) in Mysore, Srinath’s academic journey parallels his cricketing success. 

Amidst representing India in 229 ODIs and 67 Tests, where he got 551 wickets, Srinath pursued higher education, earning his engineering degree. 

Indian cricket players

Rahul Dravid graduated with a degree in commerce from St. Joseph’s College of Commerce. Source: AFP

6. Rahul Dravid

Rahul Dravid, known as one of the greatest cricketers in Indian history, is not only a sporting icon but also one of the most educated players in the game. 

Commonly known as “The Wall” and “Mr. Dependable,” Dravid’s 16-year-long career has shown his unwavering commitment to the sport. 

Alongside his great sporting career, Dravid has a Graduate Degree in Commerce from St. Joseph’s College of Commerce in Bangalore. 

He was even selected for the Indian National Cricket Team while pursuing his MBA at St. Joseph’s College of Business Administration.

7. K. Srikkanth

Krishnamachari Srikkanth, the dynamic opener of the Indian cricket team during the mid-80s and a member of the 1983 World Cup-winning squad, has an impressive educational background to match his cricketing career. 

Srikkanth’s off-field pursuits include a degree in Electrical Engineering from the College of Engineering, Guindy in Chennai. Today, Srikkanth remains actively involved in Indian cricket, contributing his expertise as a member of the selection committee.

8. Sourav Ganguly

Sourav Ganguly is known for his exceptional leadership skills on and off the cricket field. He holds a degree in Commerce from Calcutta University. On top of that, he has also completed a course in leadership and management from the esteemed Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta. 

9. Ravi Shastri

Ravi Shastri is a former Indian cricketer and the former head coach of the Indian national team. Aside from his cricketing talents, he has a degree in Commerce from HR College in Mumbai.

Indian cricket players

Did you know Suryakumar Yadav has a degree in commerce? Source: AFP

10. Suryakumar Yadav

Suryakumar Yadav known for his remarkable cricketing talent, is also one of the most educated Indian cricketers in the world. Aside from his achievements on the cricket field, Yadav holds a bachelor’s degree in commerce from Pillai College of Arts, Commerce, and Science.

Despite his flourishing cricketing career, he prioritised his studies to earn his degree.