"I don't know who he is," replied Tennis star Maria Sharapova when asked if she knows Sachin Tendulkar, arguably the most famous cricketer of all time. This incident suggests that cricket has never quite become a global sport. Although 105 countries have a recognised cricket team, countries apart from the Test and ODI playing nations don't pay much attention to this sport.
So it's hard to imagine that countries like Brazil, Portugal, Italy that have a rich history of football have produced noted cricketers who represented Test-playing nations. The Business Standard (TBS) looks at such unlikely birthplaces of famous Test cricketers.
A transcontinental country located in Central and South America, Panama is best known for the Panama Canal. George Headley, one of the greatest cricketers to represent the West Indies, was born in this country.
Headley was the mainstay of the West Indies batting line-up during the pre-war era and people fondly called him 'The Black Bradman'. Headley scored 2190 runs in 22 Tests at a staggering average of 60.83. His first-class average was more stunning (69.86). Headley was named the Wisden player of the year in 1934.
The current champions of the Uefa Euro Championship, Italy is famous for producing renowned athletes playing football, tennis and formula 1.
As unbelievable as it seems, one of the finest English Test cricketers was born in Italy. Ted Dexter, fondly called 'Lord Ted' for his cricketing expertise, was born in Milan. He played 62 Tests for England, scoring 4502 runs. Dexter was a handy bowler as well. He has 66 Test wickets to his name.
Brazil, the most successful country in football, produced a cricketer who went on to represent India. Ashok Gandotra, who played two Test matches for India, was born in Rio de Janeiro.
Gandotra played domestic cricket for Delhi and Bengal. He was an all-rounder and an athletic fielder as well. After retiring from cricket, Gandotra pursued his tea business and is now one of the most renowned tea-tasters in Kolkata.
Germany currently play T20Is but their culture revolves around football. But this country has also produced not one, but two Test cricketers. Donald Carr, who was born in Germany, played two Tests for England. Carr was named Wisden cricketer of the year in 1959.
He went on to become a match referee and served as the assistant secretary of Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC).
Born in West Germany, Paul Terry represented England in two Tests. In his second Test match against the West Indies, he was hit by a Winston Davies bouncer and had a fractured arm.
When Allan Lumb ran out of partners on 98, Terry showed immense courage and came out to bat with the broken arm. Unfortunately, this remained the last Test match of his career.
A land famous for producing footballing legends like Eusebio, Luis Figo and Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal surprisingly is the birthplace of a Test cricketer who played for Australia. Moises Henriques, a useful all-rounder especially in T20 cricket, made his Test debut for Australia in 2013 against India.
Another Test cricketer named Dick Westcott who played five Tests for South Africa in the 1950s was born in Portugal.