Dil Scoop with Pankaj Athawale

Cricketers post cricket

Modern day cricket offers a lot to cricketers, especially Indians, during their playing days as well as post retirement. Most of the cricketers nowadays are involved in coaching through their academies or as commentators on television. Of course they do continue to be involved in their businesses simultaneously.

But there have been many cricketers in the recent past who changed tracks post retirement and followed their passion into other professions. Many weren’t lucky enough and got embroiled in illegal activities and lived on the streets. While reading Simon Lister’s “Fire in Babylon” I chanced upon certain West Indian players who ended broke post their playing days. Richard Austin walked the streets of Jamica, Herbert Chang lived in the shed at the wharves in Kingston and David Murray was homeless for months and often resembling the Bridgetown scavengers.

In recent years we have read about Andrew Flintoff and Adam Hollioke taking up mixed martial art fight and cage fights to recover from debts. Chris Cairns works at the local bus station cleaning buses.

But not everybody went the wrong way.

Chicken farmer, Zimbabwean Eddo Brandes who took a hat-trick against England in an ODI in 1997, now lives in Australia. He immigrated to Australia post the unrest back home and bought a photo shop at the Sunshine Coast. Later he did take up coaching with the local team. Ian Healy helped him in his initial days in Australia. Incidently Brandes was a national record holder in javelin throw during his school days.

South African Brain McMillan was once rated as one of the best all rounder’s on the circuit. He played 38 Tests and 78 ODI’s. He was a teacher at Durban University and currently heads an office automation firm in Cape Town.

Kiwi Chris Harris was a qualified architect when he took up cricket for New Zealand. He tormented batsmen all over the world with his dibbly-dobbly bowling and was a handy bat resucing New Zealand on a number of occasions. Post his cricketing days, he got a job as a medical representative for an Australian orthopedic equipment company. Just imagine doctors talking to Chris Harris about his exploits keeping the patients waiting.

His colleague Nathan Astle was always a racing buff even while playing and post cricket he became racer in the Sprint Car Championship. He continues to race professionally.

Not all Indians remain associated with cricket post retirement. Hero of India’s T 20 world cup win in South Africa, Joginder Sharma serves as a DSP in Haryana police. Former Indian opener Sadagopan Ramesh enjoys life on the silver screen as an actor in Tollywood.  Former Indian left arm spinner Dilip Doshi who took 114 wickets in his career focused on his family business post retirement.

Imran Khan became a politician, but off spinner Arshad Khan did not inherit a fortune as he was dropped from the Pakistani side. He moved to Sydney and became a cab driver in the streets of Sydney.

Australian left arm fast bowler Mike Whitney always had the persona even during his playing days. He took 39 wickets in the 12 tests. Later he took to TV hosting and became very popular hosting weekly gigs. He can also seen as a lead singer of the Mike Whitney band around Sydney. Many Australians take up music even during their active playing days. Brett Lee stills plays the bass, Offie Gavin Robertson is a drummer and Brad McNamara plays the guitar.

But there have been few cricketers who took up some surprising careers post retirement. Former England fast bowler David Lawerence played 5 tests and a solitary ODI. He was seriously injured in a match against New Zealand in 1992 when he shattered his knee cap which ended his cricketing career. Know as “Syd” he took up body building and today he is a professional body builder surprising everyone with his chiseled body at the age of 50.

One of the finest cricketers from New Zealand, Ken Rutherford had a rather innocuous start to his test career. His first seven scores in tests were ducks. Post retirement after a few coaching stints with the Irish national cricket team, he curated his interest in horse racing to work as the head bookmaker. Initially in New Zealand, later in Singapore and in South Africa where he worked as the GM of the Waikato Racing Club.

Former English cricketer Chris Old played 46 tests and 32 ODI from 1972 to 1981. He was a right arm fast bowler and made his debut against India in Calcutta in 1972. His took the catch of Sunil Gavaskar in that test off the bowling of Derek Underwood. Post retirement he ran a fish and chips shop and restaurant in Cornwall.

Jack Russel played 54 Tests, 40 ODI’s and 465 first class games. He moved into a career as a painter post his cricketing days. Jack played pool for money and also worked with his brother in law for two years fitting carpets. He was playing a 3 day game at Worcester which was washed out. Sitting idle didn’t excite him and at the end of the third day he just took a call to start painting. Later he drew for a year at all the grounds and then took his sketches to a gallery in Bristol who put up an exhibition. To Jack’s surprise, they all sold in a couple of days and he continues to draw professionally.

Life can be very kind to a few, on and off the field. But not everybody is lucky to make enough by the time they retire from professional cricket. Many follow their interests and pursue successful and peaceful professions post retirement. It would be nice if we keep a track of all the players who played for their country, you never know one of them may drive you in his cab, some may meet you during a sales deal and some may just sing for you at a party.

  • Writer is a radio commentator.





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