An Aussie cricketer abroad

June 04, 2014
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Waking up on a drizzling, cold Monday morning has never felt so good. In the distance I can make out the iconic Big Ben and London Eye through the misty downpour. For me, living to play Cricket is the dream and the fact that I have the opportunity to do this and live in London at the same time is unreal.

It’s important to note that I haven’t just stumbled across this gig. I don’t think life works like that because I subscribe to the cliché of you only get out what you put in. I’ve had a challenging, albeit enjoyable, past three years. I’ve completed my Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in Marketing and Business Law, at the University of NSW, while balancing two part-time jobs – coaching for Cricket NSW and pulling beers at a CBD pub – and cricket training at an elite level. What I’ve learnt from these experiences? Commitment, organisation and independence.

Once I came to terms with the fact that I’d be staying up until 4am to finish assignments, with sleep being an added bonus, I developed a plan – a plan designed to help me balance uni and all my other sporting commitments. And eventually I worked out that the key to this plan’s success was going to be its malleability. The pecking order usually looked like this: cricket first, uni second and work third. When exams rolled around or I had a busy week with assignments, the order changed accordingly.

And then I realised just how important time management was. Early in my degree I would drag myself to every lecture, sit there on Facebook or play Candy Crush Saga, then get up and leave once we were dismissed. But of course I was none the wiser. I thought I was doing the right thing by at least attending lectures, but I’d never actually get anything out of them. After first year, I began to change my tactics. If there was a lecture I predicted I wasn't going to get much out of, I began scheduling some of my coaching work during these times, or getting an hour or two of my own training in. It was a far more productive and efficient use of my time. In saying this, however, people have different priorities. Ultimately it comes down to levels of input and output, and if they meet your own personal standards.

It's human nature to be attracted to things you succeed in. Having a reasonably successful cricket season has undoubtedly swayed me towards pursuing other cricketing opportunities abroad. We are lucky in Australia because we’re exposed to a huge selection of sports. My decision to travel abroad to play cricket was based on experiencing different cultural attitudes towards the game. I wanted to challenge myself in an unfamiliar environment. The opportunities, in my opinion, are endless.

My current life revolves around training and playing cricket on the weekends, and exploring London and meeting new people during the week. I’ve been lucky enough to share this experience with a good friend from home who is an established professional cricketer over here. Watching him play at Lord's Cricket Ground, The Home of Cricket, fuels my own hunger of making a career out of the sport I love.

So I really can’t complain at the moment. I feel like I’m living the dream, well at least my dream, and I’m going to ride this wave as long as I can. It’s obviously comforting to know I have my degree to fall back on, although what I'm learning through my independence here is invaluable. I still can’t tell you where I'll be in five years, but to be honest, I’m not worried in the slightest.

Charlie Wakim

Charlie Wakim is a University of NSW Commerce graduate. He is a complete sport fanatic who also loves playing the guitar (self-taught FYI). Charlie is also on a mission to find Clovelly’s infamous blue groper fish.