Cricketers have been known to enjoy a few rounds of serious golf once they hang up their boots. James Morrison, overnight leader at the Hero Indian Open, however, bucks the trend.

Morrison, 27, played with international cricketers such as Alistair Cook, Tim Bresnan and Ravi Bopara during his time as an England under-14 team and Surrey under-17 player. But by then, Morrison decided he was done with cricket, waiting for the day he could trade the bat for a golf club.

Morrison began to play golf at 16 while he was still playing serious cricket, and he knew straightway that his allegiance was with the fairways and greens. He was contracted to play cricket at least at the school level till the age of 18, and completed his obligations before pursuing golf full-time.

“I went from 18 handicap to scratch in 10 months when I started playing golf at 16. At this time, I was playing cricket and getting good scores (an opening batsmen) too, but I didn’t really want to play cricket anymore. I knew in my head that I wanted to play golf,” Morrison said at the KGA here on Thursday, at the end of his first round.

Financial rewards

“I guess there’s more financial rewards in golf than cricket (laughs). But seriously, I think it’s related to passion. I just lost my enthusiasm for cricket and found a passion for golf. My father told me ‘Whatever you are passionate about, just go ahead and do it’, and that’s what I did,” Morrison said, when pressed for a reason for his shift to golf.

Would he get back to cricket if offered an IPL contract? “If the price is right!” pat came the reply.

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