Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake Reportedly in Talks to Join Twenty20 Cricket League

Jeff CheshireAnalyst IIAugust 17, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 05:  Gold medalist Usain Bolt of Jamaica (L) celebrates with silver medalist Yohan Blake of Jamaica (R) after winning the Men's 100m Final on Day 9 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on August 5, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Julia Vynokurova/Getty Images)
Julia Vynokurova/Getty Images

Yes, you read that headline correctly. The world's two leading sprinters, Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake, are both in talks to play in the Australian Big Bash Twenty20 cricket competition this summer.

Both men are keen cricketers. They played in their youth and once held dreams of playing for the West Indies.

The pair became superstars on the track, but they may indeed get the opportunity to play against some of the world's top players.


Usain Bolt

According to Australia’s Olympic broadcaster, Channel Nine (h/t First Post Sports), Bolt has been in talks with the Melbourne Stars team.

According to the article, legendary spin bowler Shane Warne is heading the campaign to bring Bolt to Australian shores.

If his running speed is anything to go by, it could be expected that he would be able to bowl at high speeds. Additionally, his height should allow him to generate a reasonable amount of bounce. If he has the ability to move the ball, he could very well be the real deal.

He has drawn praise from the world's most devastating batsman in Chris Gayle. Curtly Ambrose, who took 405 test wickets for the West Indies between 1988 and 2000, offered his support as well.


Yohan Blake

Yohan Blake, meanwhile, has had interest from the Sydney Sixers, according to the Sydney Daily Telegraph (h/t The News International). 

Whilst being interviewed by former West Indies fast bowler Michael Holding, Blake stated (The Telegraph) that he could bowl at the pace of Holding and that he was a better cricketer than he was runner.

That's a big statement. Holding is widely recognised as one of the most fearsome bowlers of all time and a key member in the West Indies sides of the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Australian fast bowling great Brett Lee has expressed interest in mentoring Blake (The Telegraph) to turn him into a genuine fast bowler.


Final Thoughts

Whether or not there is any credibility to the claims by these men remains to be seen. Sure, they could very well foray into the Big Bash competition, but it seems likely to be nothing more than a novelty gimmick.

Since its inception, Twenty20 has been seen as something of a "show event," with focus being on a fast-paced game to entertain those who don't have the nerve to watch a full test or one-day game.

It is certainly the sort of game that would suit both sprinters.

There are those that will condemn such a move, but the reality of Twenty20 cricket is that it is trying to appeal to a different audience. Bringing in two of the world's top athletes would certainly draw a few viewers.

Imagine if it did pan out. Imagine if they really do turn out to be as good as they claim to be.

The West Indies has a rich history in fast bowlers. Names such as Hall, Roberts, Holding, Garner, Ambrose and Marshall would all appear high up on a list of the great fast bowlers of all time.

Recent times have seen this list dry up. What if the next great West Indian bowler was to go by the name Bolt or Blake?

That might be a bit of a stretch, but the potential move sure is an interesting one. If it happens, it will certainly draw a host of new viewers from around the world.