England captain looks to future with degree in Leadership in Sport.

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On top of her commitments as England captain and PCA Vice Chair, Heather Knight has found the time and energy to commit to a Masters in Leadership in Sport, as she explained to the PCA during the Association’s 2021 Futures Week.

Knight, 30, is one of the most successful female cricketers of all time, with 205 international appearances, 5,083 runs, 80 wickets and one ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup win as captain under her belt.

A legend of the English game, the all-rounder’s commitment to the sport extends beyond the boundaries, where she supports PCA Chair James Harris in her role as Association Vice Chair, sits on the England Women’s Player Partnership (EWPP) Management Board, and is also part of the Women’s Player Advisory Group with the Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations (FICA).

Despite her numerous commitments, Knight has found time to work on her own personal development, albeit with some assistance from the extra free time afforded to her by national lockdowns in 2020 and 2021.

She is currently undertaking a part-time two-year Masters in Leadership in Sport at the University of Buckingham, a programme which explores how professional sport has developed into one of the world’s biggest industries.

Though juggling her priorities has been a challenge, Knight has enjoyed the varied nature of the course, as she explains: “During lockdown, I decided I wanted to look outside cricket a little bit more, but still do something within sport. I wanted to broaden my horizons and out of interest I chose this MA in Leadership in Sport.

“Lockdown helped me to find the time, as I had always wanted to do something but either been too busy or not found the time to do it. If you really want to do something then you’ll definitely have time as a professional cricketer, and having something to throw yourself into is really nice.

“It’s been really varied and I’ve learned a lot of different things about the sports industry. Some things are more relevant than others but I’ve found all of it really interesting.

“The decision-making module run by former national selector Ed Smith was really relevant. Learning about biases and the psychology of decision-making has been really useful. That’s something that I’ve applied in what I do as captain of the England team.

“The course has really exciting speakers and we’ve been to places like Sandhurst which was really interesting. The chance to meet different people and network has just been something that I really wanted to dive into.”

At 30 years of age, Knight has time on her side, and is set to have many years left at the top of the game. However, she stresses the importance of using resources offered by the PCA to put building blocks in place for life after the game.

“The Masters is really interesting and another thing to put on the CV. I’m not too sure where it will lead me, but I’ve really enjoyed doing it alongside cricket and I’ve learned a few snippets which will be really useful for stuff on the pitch as well.

“The PCA has helped me with funding – I’ve had a grant to support me throughout the two years which has been really helpful.

“Personal development is really important, especially for the women’s game. We’ve gained a huge group of professional cricketers and the PCA gives them huge opportunities to study and do some work on the side, to grow as a person which can only be a good thing.”

Futures Week shines a light on the area of personal development and career transition among PCA members. The two-day Futures Conference forms the centrepiece of the initiative and both are part of the PCA’s Personal Development and Welfare Programme (PDWP). Click here to find out more.