AOC’s Podblasting friends Ross Armstrong and Alex Odell run down the 10 best, and worst, second jobs for cricketers.
10) Sachin Tendulkar
Before the little master (whose commemorative waxwork is pictured above) hung up his tiny, impossibly heavy bat, he knew he was going to have to find something else to pay the bills, or else, before he could say ‘Laxman’, the bailiffs would be seizing his TV and boarding up his windows. Fortunately, despite the fact that he’d done nothing but bat since the age of four, our cricketing impresario had already feathered his nest before retiring with a handy little sideline: politics. Nominated to sit in the Indian upper house, the Rajya Sabha, in June 2012, Tendulkar can now look forward to a long retirement with all of the benefits that ‘election’ to parliament brings. Fine fur clothes, a large gold medallion and long lunches. Just ask John Prescott.
9) Sanath Jayasuriya
From the little master to the master blaster, if anyone is wondering where Tendulkar got the idea to get into politics, they need look no further than Sri Lankan World Cup winner, Sanath Jayasuriya. Unlike Tendulkar, Jayasuriya took the rather old-fashioned approach of actually getting some people to vote for him. As the MP for Matara district, Jayasuriya has resolutely defended the interests of his constituents, and still managed to make time to appear on the Indian equivalent of Strictly Come Dancing.
8) Harold Larwood
They do NOT make them like they used to. If our aforementioned political animals have delusions of grandeur, Harold Larwood, the son of a coal miner, had delusions of inadequacy. After a long, hard slog for England and Notts, bleeding through his boots, Larwood felt so reviled and abandoned after the Bodyline series that he went off to Blackpool to open an unprofitable sweet shop, which is sort of like a dirty protest but with more bonbons. It took an old Aussie opponent, Jack Fingleton, to persuade him to abandon his exile and, instead, emigrate to Australia, where he lived happily ever after. If you haven’t read Duncan Hamilton’s biography of Larwood, which says all this but much better, you must.
7) CB Fry
Ah, CB. Not only a distant relative of the wisdom-based panel show host Sir Stephen of Fry, but a man of many, many talents. Not only did he end his career with an average of 50, but he also played in the FA Cup final for Southampton, held the world long jump record and was able to perform his party trick of executing a standing jump backwards onto a mantelpiece well into his dotage. Outside the sporting arena he also excelled as an academic, writer and diplomat. He also once reportedly turned down the throne of Albania. (Seriously, we promise this is all true).
Our favourite swashbuckling county batsman was a somewhat surprising selection in England’s squad for the ultimately doomed Ashes tour of 2013/14. We certainly hadn’t seen it coming and frankly neither had he. Michael ‘Carbs’ Carberry is qualified as an electrician and had planned to start pressing forward with it over the winter, but instead found himself on the front foot making his maiden Test fifty at Adelaide. Cheer up, Michael. The world of electricity remains out there for you, despite the 5-0 whitewash. Look out for him in the yellow pages in 2018, when he’ll have traded in his box for box cutters.
5) Ian Austin
When a reporter asked Lancashire hero Ian Austin if the rumours were true that during the winter he was a gravedigger, he took great offence. No indeed, Ian was indulging in the far nobler profession of dragging animal carcasses around for a local butcher, apparently to keep in shape for the new season. Exactly which shape Ian was hoping to stay in was anyone’s guess as the broad-hipped all-rotunder was never the most svelte of athletes. However, whatever his methods, the results were richly reaped by the Red Rose faithful as his vital statistics at least stayed in perfect proportion. With a miserly economy rate and an excellent strike rate with bat and ball, Austin was one of the most useful one-day bowlers in county cricket for a time and earned nine England caps to boot.
4) Tim Curtis
In a scene from his childhood he thought he’d never have occasion to share, the Podblast’s better half Ross told a tiny friend of his first visit to New Road and noted that he had watched Tom Moody score 99 and Tim Curtis 58. “What, Mr Curtis my English teacher?” the winsome youth replied. “Hmm, I severely doubt the Worcestershire cricket captain is your English teacher,” Ross scoffed with a roll of the eyes. But more fool Ross, as Curtis did indeed also teach English at the Royal Grammar School Worcester. He’s probably reading this now and tutting at the grammar.
A Sussex fast bowler from 1882 to 1889 and captain of the first English side to visit South Africa, Sir Charles took the unusual step of staying behind after the South African tour to set up as a stockbroker and prospect for gold with teammate MP Bowden of Surrey. During this sojourn, he was wrongly pronounced dead from pneumonia. Taking advantage of his second chance in life, it was not long before our bewhiskered hero was off to Hollywood, starring in a series of films including Just a Gigolo, Guilty Hands and Wee Willie Winky.
2) Graeme Cessford
Worcestershire were in need of a new hero last season. They needed to look no further than RAF corporal Graeme Cessford. He’s only on loan though, having achieved Elite Athlete Status and been allowed to follow his dream of bowling nippy seamers to county cricket’s Top Guns for a while, before dashing back to his spitfire to continue fighting Ze Germans (well, probably not the Germans). His contract has also been adjusted to include a public relations role, in a move that paints Cess as a 1940s-style smooth-talking maverick and makes CB Fry look like a lazy bum.
Remember that film Factotum starring that bloke from Wild Things? It might as well have starred our Ken, because he could do everything. If you’d lived near Ken in leafy south London at the right time, he might very well have sold you a Rover from Ken Barrington Motors and some of his own branded clothes from Ken Barrington Limited, worked at your local solicitors and your local accountants, painted your train station, sold you some carpets, and then returned to flog you some perfume. Ken dominated the Mitcham borderlands for several decades like a suburban Donald Trump. He also had a career batting average of 59 and 20 Test centuries at a time when bats were made of balsa wood and pitches were the consistency of jam. I’ll take a Rover 75 and a bottle of perfume please, Ken. Out of respect.