PCA Futures Week: Matt Prior, Keith Barker and Katherine Brunt discuss second careers after cricket
"It's important to be realistic and think about the future"
Last Updated: 07/11/19 3:33pm
How do professionals prepare for life after cricket?
With most careers ending at 26, the importance of planning for the future is imperative.
All this week the Professional Cricketers Association is shining a spotlight on current, recently retired and former pros to highlight what they are doing to pursue a second career - and what advice and help they can pass on to others.
Here are a few who have shared their stories during PCA Futures Week…
Matt Prior - Cycling
England's most decorated wicketkeeper-batsman represented his country 157 times but admits he found moving on from cricket tough.
"People talk about transition and about when your career comes to an end and what a challenge that is," he said. "It doesn't matter if you've played 100 Tests or one Test or no Tests - it's all the same.
"Every person goes through that same loneliness because the reality is that you are just a small piece and life goes on very, very quickly. Mentally, that is such a challenge."
Initially, Prior focused his energies on setting up his own cycling team - One Pro Cycling. Since then, he has branched out into sports nutrition with his brand, One Pro Nutrition.
"I feel like going into business has been a mirror of my cricket career, whether it's the successes, the failures, the learnings or the sacrifices.
"It's the same as playing cricket - you can't just start at the top. I'm going to have to work as hard to make my business succeed as I did when I worked my way up to becoming England's number one wicketkeeper."
Keith Barker - Football Scouting
The Hampshire paceman is a former professional footballer, having spent his youth career with Blackburn Rovers before going on to represent a number of different clubs over a four-year period.
The 33-year-old even managed one appearance for England U19s in a 1-1 draw with Belgium in February 2005.
Since transferring his skills to cricket he has taken 397 first-class wickets during spells with Warwickshire and, as of 2019, with Hampshire, but now hopes to enjoy a successful second career in football scouting.
"I've always enjoyed football and it's just great to be able to go back into sport and look at things from a different viewpoint - being on the sidelines rather than being a part of the game," said Barker, who is a voluntary scout at Aston Villa.
"My role is more based on the U18s to U23s age group across the north west of England. I pick fixtures, watch those teams and if I see any individuals who are worth looking at, then I'll report back to the club.
"It's throughout the winter so I'll be doing it from now until when the cricket season properly kicks in again and I have to go back down to Hampshire. But, even then, I can still try and get to games down that way on the weekend as well.
"I did my Level 3 coaching when I was 24 - I didn't just want to do nothing with my winters and wanted to make the most of the opportunities that I had. That's what the PCA are there for. You get the encouragement every year to do a number of different things."
Katherine Brunt - Property
England Women pace bowler Brunt has long held a keen interest in property development and has been taking steps to follow a career path in that area since the age of 23.
In business with her team-mate and fiancee Natalie Sciver, the duo have used the PCA's services to attend workshops in property development and are also working with the Association to create a business proposal that would make their side venture official.
"Once you've played sport to the highest level and experienced the ups and downs that come with that, it's hard to replicate that kind of feeling and drive," said Brunt.
"To find a career outside of cricket that I enjoy as much [as cricket] has been so difficult but I really love getting stuck in and doing a lot of the work myself.
"You don't want to have that lightbulb moment when you're 28 or 29. You want to be thinking about these things as soon as possible. Building those blocks to get towards a position of safety because you never know when you may get that injury or lose that contract."
Geraint Jones - Fire Service
The former England wicketkeeper is now trying to qualify as an on-call firefighter with Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS).
Since retiring from all forms of cricket in 2015 with 87 international appearances across all formats to his name, Jones has worked as a cricket coach and business studies teacher. Over the last nine months, though, the 43-year-old has looked to broaden his horizons by completing the part-time training course.
"I've really enjoyed it. There's a lot to learn but there's stages to it which I'm going through now and every day is a learning day," Jones said.
"It's a bit like cricket where every time you go in the nets you try and get a bit better - that's where I'm at now. I'm trying to get better every single time.
"We had a tough session yesterday and it took me back to the last session of the middle of a Test Match when your legs are gone in hot conditions. It's a fantastic career, though. Everyone is clearly so passionate about the job."
You can find out more about the PCA's Personal Development and Welfare Programme by clicking here.