PCA PRESS RELEASE
Thos Hunt on fulfilling his potential away from the cricket pitch.
“I feel lucky that I finished when I did, because I was able to get into working early and make something of myself.”
Not many players would reflect positively on leaving professional cricket at the age of just 22 after being hampered by recurring injuries, but former Middlesex and Somerset man Thos Hunt believes that his experiences have been to his benefit in the long run.
The fast bowler, who appeared for his country in age-group cricket and was signed by Middlesex at the age of just 16, seemed to have the cricketing world at his feet in the late 1990s, but finished his career in 2004 with just 12 professional appearances and 11 wickets to his name.
A chronic knee problem requiring multiple surgeries kept Hunt on the sidelines for the majority of his six-year playing career, and when a last-ditch one-year deal with Somerset didn’t work out, it was decided that the Melbourne-born man would pursue opportunities elsewhere.
During the PCA’s Futures Week, an initiative designed to highlight the area of career transition and personal development amongst PCA members, Hunt spoke to the Association about his experience of prematurely leaving the game, and the twists and turns that his career has taken since.
“To be honest, my career never really got off the ground because I could never play for more than a month without getting injured,” Hunt recalled. “The ability was there but the body just couldn’t keep up. I was involved with the game for six years but I never quite fulfilled what I should’ve done because of my body.
“At 16, you love the game and it’s just exciting at that stage. I was just watching my colleagues go out and progress themselves whilst I was having treatment.
“However, I was still walking into changing rooms with international players such as Justin Langer and Mark Ramprakash, so thinking about what I wanted to do after cricket was so secondary in my mind at that time.
“I remember the PCA always talking to us as young players and coming in and saying we’ve got to think about what we want to do next after cricket. I can still remember thinking ‘Why bother? I’ll be fine.’
“I did nothing to prepare for life after the game. When you look back, you think that the advice to concentrate on that other side of things is just so important.”
After four years with Middlesex and one with Somerset, with a brief stint as an estate agent sandwiched in between, Hunt took the difficult decision to start focussing his efforts on something new in late 2004.
He decided his skillset was suited to sales, approaching a construction company initially, before moving to London to work in media sales after a year and a half in his first job after cricket.
“I feel lucky that I finished when I did, because I was able to get into working early and make something of myself. It was even a little bit exciting to get to work because I hated signing one and two-year deals with no long-term security.
“After working in media sales and also for an IT company, I went back to the roofing company where it all started and went in as a shareholder to help build the business. I’ve been a Managing Director there for eight years now. For me, it’s a journey of someone who’s been willing to roll their sleeves up and make a success of themselves.
“Cricket taught me how to interact with people. The professional sports environment is very unique, and in your teenage years you can share a changing room with established internationals who are 30 years old.
“Every year as a professional cricketer you’re trying to justify your place, striving and competing to get to where you want to be. It teaches you so much in terms of growing up quickly, you’re pulled into gear and you work hard – a lot of that stuff transfers over to the world of sales.
“Things I learned in cricket have stuck with me for the rest of my life. Attitude is far more important than any piece of paper, for me.”
Hunt, now a Director of TLX Insulation, is happy to pass on his expertise and lived experience to younger PCA members who find themselves in the same position that he did.
“If there are guys who are just starting their career and thinking they might not have long left in the game, we have a lot of facets to our business that they can get involved with. I’ve got loads of different teams I can put someone in if they want to have experience with us. It might lead to a job, you never know.”
Thos is happy to speak to PCA members about career transition. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.
Find out more about Futures Week and the PCA’s Personal Development and Welfare Programme (PDWP).