Not long after an 18-year-old Pat Cummins burst onto the international cricket scene during Australia’s 2011 tour of South Africa, he returned to a life more reminiscent of an everyday teenager.
A stress fracture in his back kept Cummins off the field through to his early 20s, but it was during this time that the now 27-year-old identified the path that he wanted to take outside of cricket.
With an education grant from the ACA, Cummins commenced a Bachelor of Business at the University of Technology, Sydney.
“For four or five years there, until I was about 23, I spent more time injured than playing. I studied that whole time,” Cummins says.
“It was great having an outlet outside of cricket, and to be able to keep in touch with most of my school friends who were going through university too..
"It took the pressure off of day-to-day cricket performances, knowing I had other skills and interests to fall back on if cricket didn’t work out.”
The more Cummins studied, the more curious he became and more certain of those areas he wanted to focus on – economics and marketing.
Fast forward through the next decade, and its fair to say that after more than 100 international appearances and 300 wickets, cricket did work out. But that has not diminished the world’s number one bowler’s interest in education, and last year’s COVID lockdowns provided Cummins with a great opportunity to learn some new skills.
Through an ACA Education and Training Grant, Cummins put his spare time into a Certificate in Executive Management via the Australian Graduate School of Management and the University of New South Wales, which has provided him with a greater and more diverse perspective that he believes will help in his role as a member of the ACA’s Board.
“I’ve really enjoyed being in meetings or part of conversations where there have been discussions on how an organisation is run. And my study and interaction with different businesses is something I’m hoping I can to impact any work I do with the Board.”
Recently named captain of the New South Wales’ One-Day Cup side, Cummins says the certificate has also helped him on the field .
“Having greater exposure to working with people from different industries and backgrounds through that course has been fantastic,” he says.
“You put 11 different people together into a cricket team, you get a mixture of skill sets and personalities so that’s what I love, that’s what’s exciting, that’s what you want in a team. Just trying to maximise the potential of everyone.
Cummins says he’s not alone – not only among his state teammates, but more broadly throughout Australian cricket with having an eye on what a career might look like when their playing career draws to a close.
“There’s quite a few players who, during pre-season, when they’ve got some more time on their hands, get stuck into study.”
The ACA provides players with a range of support and opportunities – including paid work experience – all aimed make the transition out of playing cricket as seamless as possible.
“I’ve seen first-hand how beneficial it is to have other interests while playing cricket, the pressure it takes off of playing is huge.
“We’re really lucky in cricket, with the opportunities we have available and the people we meet, to get a foot in the door by learning while we’re playing, it’s amazing what comes of it.”