Fred Trueman performs at Club Fiesta

The Trueman show: Fiery Fred kicked off his career in entertainment with a series of cabaret sets at nightclubs

© Getty Images

High Fives

Crusader, bodybuilder, doctor, wise guy

What do cricketers do after they hang up their boots? Some tread the boards, some take to politics, and some go all muscular

Sreshth Shah  |  

Fred Trueman: entertainer
When he wasn't punching above his weight on the cricket field Fred Trueman was delivering punchlines. On a tour of Australia in 1962-63, England Test player and man of the cloth David Sheppard was having a difficult time holding on to catches. "Pity the Reverend did not get his hands together on field," Trueman was said to have sniped. At another time, he proclaimed that to be a great fast bowler, you need a big heart and a big bottom. With that sort of wit on tap, it was perhaps no surprise that Trueman turned to the microphone after hanging up his cricket boots. He went on to dabble in stand-up comedy, and was for a long time a regular on the BBC's Test Match Special. He was also a very popular after-dinner speaker. Once, when describing Wes Hall thundering down to bowl at his partner Jimmy Binks while he himself stood safely at the non-striker's end, Trueman said: "The ball hit the bat and flew to third man. Binksy set off and ran to my end. And he turned around and ran all the way back." About Mick Cowan, a Yorkshire tailender, he said: "The only reason he carried a bat was because he thought he had to."

That's Baron Constantine to you: Learie Constantine was a lawyer, activist, journalist, broadcaster and a member of the House of Lord's after his time in cricket

That's Baron Constantine to you: Learie Constantine was a lawyer, activist, journalist, broadcaster and a member of the House of Lord's after his time in cricket © Getty Images

Learie Constantine: politician
Constantine, the first West Indian to take a Test wicket, became a politician and activist later in life. In 1943, when he and his wife checked into the Imperial Hotel in London, they were told they were unwelcome because they were making other guests uncomfortable. It was the spark Constantine needed. He went on to sue the hotel (and win). During the second World War, he worked for the Ministry of Labour and National Service as a welfare officer for Caribbean immigrants working in factories in England. A decade later, back in his native Trinidad, he founded the People's National Movement, and went on to serve as the country's minister of communications. In the first half of the '60s, he was knighted, becoming the first black British peer, and was Trinidad's high commissioner to the UK.

Henry Olonga: singing
Last month, Olonga wowed judges and audiences alike at his audition for reality singing competition The Voice Australia. He sang "This is the Moment" by Robert Cuccioli and got the approval of three of the four judges, including American R&B star Kelly Rowland. Olonga moved to Australia a few years after being forced out of his home in Zimbabwe for protesting the "death of democracy" under the Robert Mugabe regime. He first discovered his love for singing at 13, when, at an all-boys school, he played a girl's role in the musical Oklahoma. Then, in 1994, he saw the Three Tenors enthral audiences at the 1994 football World Cup on TV and was hooked. In 2016, Olonga made his debut at the SCG as an opera performer, belting out the aria "Nessun Dorma" at a charity dinner. He has released two albums, Aurelia and Our Zimbabwe.

Bodyline: David

Bodyline: David "Syd" Lawrence made a successful career as a bodybuilder, and even took on former New Zealand bowler Andrew Penn in a boxing bout once © Getty Images

David Lawrence: bodybuilder
There are cricketers aplenty who also played other sports, from CB Fry, who also played football for England, to Phil Horne of New Zealand, who represented his country in badminton in 1990. But the most offbeat sport a former cricketer has dabbled in must be bodybuilding. When persistent knee injuries cut short England fast bowler Lawrence's career in 1992, he decided to bulk up. After accompanying a friend to a bodybuilding competition, he took to the sport full time, and by 2014 had been named the "best in the West of England" in the over-40s category three years in a row. Outside of sports, Lawrence owns a nightclub in Bristol and runs a hair-loss treatment programme where he tattoos specialised ink on to bald heads.

George Thoms, right, with former team-mate Colin McDonald in 2002

George Thoms, right, with former team-mate Colin McDonald in 2002 © Getty Images

George Thoms: OB-GYN
Australia's Thoms aspired to a career as a surgeon. He played just the one Test, then quit, worried that fast bowlers would rap him on the knuckles and injure his hands. It was a terrific choice: Thoms went on to become a successful gynaecologist and obstetrician and introduced laser surgery to the country in 1970s, picking up an Order of Australia medal for his service. In his book A Prescribed Life, anaesthetist Tony Atkinson writes of how his acquaintance with Thoms helped him impress a panel of interviewers at a hospital in the UK. "I was starting to despair that what I was saying wasn't getting through to them, when one asked if I knew Dr George Thoms... I said I regularly gave anaesthetics with Thoms. They leapt up, 'He played cricket for Australia! When do you want to start?'"

Sreshth Shah is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo