If you don’t fancy the trams, there are more than 300 bus routes to get around Melbourne. Next time you jump on one, look carefully at the driver. It might just be former Sri Lanka cricketer Suraj Randiv. Randiv, who was a part of his nation’s 2011 World Cup squad, is not the only ex-cricketer who’s moved from sport to transport, with another Sri Lankan, Chinthaka Namaste, and Zimbabwean Waddington Mwayenga working the routes in Melbourne too.
The three cricketers play for local cricket clubs but have had to take to other careers to survive down under.
Of the three, Randiv is the only one who plays at district level in Australia. He also represents Dandenong Cricket Club, in Victoria. A few notable Australian cricketers including James Pattinson, Peter Siddle and Sarah Elliot, who averaged 47 in her three Tests and most recently played in WBBL for Adelaide Strikers, have played there in the past.
Suraj recently helped the Australia players prepare for the four-match Border Gavaskar Trophy against India recently. The 36-year-old revealed that Cricket Australia (CA) had called him to help the Australian players practise for the Test match at the MCG.
“I was asked by CA to come and bowl against their bowlers and I didn’t want to miss the opportunity,” Randiv told Channel 9 News.
Bus driving is a fine, essential job. Paul Gibb, who has a Test century to his name, was an umpire in first-class cricket from 1957 to 1966, before later becoming a bus driver in Guildford, Surrey.
He and Suraj Randiv, who has 48 Test wickets and a five-wicket haul against India, illustrate that for every high-profile cricketer who finds their way into coaching, the commentary box or the broader media there are many more who have to either resurrect or invent new careers for what in most cases is the majority of their lives. Some of those careers are as notable, or even more so, than their cricket, some less so.
If Suraj Randiv’s bus doesn’t get you where you need fast enough, you might want to find a taxi driver. In Sydney, it might be former Pakistani spinner Arshad Khan you flag down; in Wellington, Ewan Chatfield, the Kiwi pace bolwer who was once knocked senseless by a Peter Lever bouncer, might be behind the wheel, having already tried his hand at lawn-mowing, and working on a dairy farm, and in a chip shop.
Chatfield may have flirted with the world of battered cod, but English 1981 Ashes winner Chris Old fully embraced it, becoming the owner of a beachside fish restaurant in Cornwall, before selling up and settling into a working life behind the check-out counter of Sainsbury’s.
Bodyline bowler Harold Larwood opened a sweet shop on his retirement, while David Shepherd, famed as an umpire for lifting his leg on Nelson’s was to be found in his later years behind the counter of his brother’s post office.
David Shephard’s namesake, the former Sussex and England cricketer, found a flock of sorts to tend, replacing his hook with a crook and becoming the Bishop of Liverpool.
Indian fast bowler Joginder Sharma’s bowling arm became the long arm of the law when he joined the police force. And perhaps appropriately for a wicket-keeper that had won the Ashes, Geraint Jones became a firefighter.
Elsewhere Charles Aubrey Smith captained England in a Test match, but went on to be a Hollywood star in the 1930s. Since then, a number have followed him, indeed it’s something of a well-worn path for Indian cricketers towards Bollywood, with the likes of Salil Ankola and Shanthakumaran Sreesanth swapping sightscreen for big screen.