Football icon and Inter Milan legend Christian Vieri talked about his love for cricket and how he would have been like Chris Gayle had he taken up the sport. Born in Italy, Vieri spent his childhood in Australia before returning to Italy to pursue a footballing career. Therefore, while he was in Australia, Vieri developed a love for the sport of cricket and to this day, he continues to adore and follow the game.
Despite not getting to play cricket as a professional, Viera had a stellar career as a footballer. For the Italian national team, he netted 23 goals in 49 caps and appeared at two World Cups. He also had terrific spells at Inter Milan, Lazio and Atletico Madrid where he showcased his shooting prowess and eye for goal. The now 47-year-old retired in 2009 after playing over 400 matches played.
Christian Vieri on cricket, Australia and West Indies
Christian Vieri spoke to Stats Perform News about the game of cricket and said, “It’s a bit strange that I grew up in Australia but when I was there it was normal – going to school, playing soccer, playing cricket, playing different sports. I was a big fan of cricket. Even if we were 13-14, we would go watch Australia play Test matches, ODI matches in Sydney. I’m a very big, big cricket fan.”
On being asked of which current cricketer he could have been like, Vieri said, “I think Chris Gayle from West Indies. I’m a left-hander. When I used to play, I’m not a Test match guy, I want to smash the ball outside the stadium. I think I would’ve been good. I just love playing. I was probably playing more cricket than soccer at school. You know what we would do? The tennis ball, we would tape it up to make it go faster and swing. I think I would’ve been the best batsman in the world if I played cricket. I was an all-rounder. I was really good.”
Before signing off, Vieri expressed hopes of going cricket training with the Italian team. He said, “When it gets a bit warmer and we can start to go out a bit easier, I would like to go training with the Italian team, see how fast the ball really comes at you, with your pads and everything. I think it would be a good experience.”