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Indian Football

Top 5 Indian footballers who watch Cricket

Published at :April 2, 2024 at 5:43 PM
Modified at :April 2, 2024 at 6:58 PM
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(Courtesy : ISL media)

Uttiyo Sarkar


Indian footballers have a deep passion for cricket apart from playing football.

The Indian football scene is slowly, but surely gaining more and more popularity with each passing year. The Indian Super League (ISL) has helped bring more traction towards the sport with the introduction of popular foreign footballers and helping build an engaging community that keeps attracting more fans.

Despite the increase in popularity, the reality of the matter is that football is still nowhere near close to cricket in India. The sport of Cricket is followed as a religion by millions of fans and even the general public prefers to watch it more often than football. Just as quite a few cricketers love watching football, the vice-versa can also apply to Indian Footballers.

Indeed, when they find enough time, some footballers also like watching cricket for leisure and entertainment value. This is probably even more applicable to the current period when the Indian Premier League is going on simultaneously with the ISL. With that being said, here are five Indian footballers who watch cricket.

5. Phurba Lachenpa

Top 5 Indian Footballers who watch Cricket.
Phurba Lachenpa has been greatly inspired by MS Dhoni. (Image Source: ISL)

Mumbai City FC goalkeeper Phurba Lanchenpa has proven himself as a promising young goalkeeper in Indian football. He’s become the regular goalkeeper for the ISL heavyweights Mumbai City FC, winning the ISL shield with them last season and earning an India call-up last year. Lachenpa has an interesting story because at first he seemingly started to train to become a cricketer rather than a footballer.

Indeed, Phurba revealed last year that he initially trained to be a fast bowler as a kid because his hometown of Lachen did not have that much prospect. He’s a big fan of former Indian Cricket Team captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and was probably inspired to be a goalkeeper after watching his heroics in between the stumps. Lachenpa’s love for Dhoni must have him still watching the Chennai Super Kings in the IPL and also the national team matches because of his fandom of the sport since he was a kid.

4. Anirudh Thapa

Top 5 Indian Footballers who watch Cricket.
Anirudh Thapa is also a huge MS Dhoni fan. (Image Source: ISL)

Anirudh Thapa has been associated with Indian Football for nearly a decade now and is a veteran of the Indian national team. The Mohun Bagan midfielder is also someone who quite likes to delve into cricket whenever he gets the time for it. Thapa’s all-time favorite cricket is also MS Dhoni, with whom he was able to interact quite often during his time at Chennaiyin FC.

Indeed, the midfielder had revealed in an interview that Dhoni used to often visit the Marina Machans’ training sessions and share his experiences with the players. As a result, Thapa’s love for ‘Thala’ only kept rising and he found a real liking for the sport of cricket too. The India international’s admiration for Dhoni probably means he supports CSK in the IPL and often catches out prominent cricket matches whenever possible.

3. Nikhil Poojary

Top 5 Indian Footballers who watch Cricket.
Nikhil Poojary followed cricket while growing up. (Image Source: ISL)

Born and brought up in a cricket-crazy city like Mumbai, it’s no surprise that Nikhil Poojary has a liking for the sport. Indeed, the Bengaluru FC star had noted in an interview in 2022 that like any ordinary Indian kid, he loved playing and watching cricket when growing up.

Even though he would later transition into a footballing career, playing for the likes of East Bengal and Hyderabad FC before his move to Bengaluru FC – Poojary’s childhood love for cricket is unlikely to have simmered down. He probably loves watching the Mumbai Indians in action in the IPL, especially knowing their dominance and must like to watch notable cricket matches whenever he can for leisure.

2. Gurpreet Singh Sandhu

Top 5 Indian Footballers who watch Cricket.
Gurpreet Singh Sandhu initially wanted to become a cricketer. (Image Source: ISL)

Gurpreet Singh Sandhu has become one of the most reliable players for the Indian football team by being a colossal figure in the goal. The Bengaluru FC has enjoyed a pretty prolific career, enjoying success with the Blues and even playing for Norwegian club Stabaek in the UEFA Europa League.

He has over 70 appearances for India under his belt, but had things been slightly different, Sandhu could’ve been a cricketer instead. Indeed, the 32-year-old has revealed in the past that his first objective was to take to cricket.

He tried to become a batsman and his father was a major cricket fanatic, but things didn’t go his way. Despite that, Gurpreet has grown up loving the sport of cricket due to his family and has also spoken about how he admires the work ethic of cricketers like Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni. Sandhu probably still loves to watch entertaining cricket matches because of how ardently he’s followed the sport since his childhood.

1. Sunil Chhetri

Top 5 Indian Footballers who watch Cricket.
Sunil Chhetri and Virat Kohli are very good friends. (Image Source: ISL)

Sunil Chhetri is an iconic figure in Indian Football history and a major reason behind the increase in popularity of football over the last decade, at least. Chhetri is the third-highest goal-scorer in International football and is still going strong at the age of 39. Despite dedicating his life to football, Chhetri also has other hobbies and one of them is his liking for cricket.

Chhetri was able to personally meet with Virat Kohli and Royal Challengers Bangalore cricketers in the IPL 2023 campaign, even showing off his cricketing skills in a training session. Having played for Bengaluru FC for over a decade and fallen in love with the city, Sunil must love watching RCB’s matches in the IPL and also whenever the Indian Cricket Team is in action in prominent tournaments.

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