Former England cricketer Sajid Mahmood has hailed the work of the Professional Cricketers’ Trust for helping players prepare for life after cricket.
Mahmood, who appeared in the 2006 Ashes Series and played at the 2007 World Cup, is now an ambassador for the Professional Cricketers’ Association, playing for the PCA-organised England Legends and helping to spread the word about the work, assistance and guidance the Professional Cricketers’ Trust is providing to current and former players.
Few careers carry so much uncertainty as that of a professional cricketer but thanks to the Professional Cricketers' Trust, past and present players have a vital support network which helps them to prepare for and readjust in the world beyond cricket.
And Mahmood believes the support network provided by the Trust is having a far-reaching and positive impact on members past and present in the PCA.
“The Trust is huge, a lot of the players once they finish playing cricket need help and guidance,” said Mahmood. “If they have not done so before - with regards to preparing for a life after cricket - it becomes quite difficult and that is where the Trust steps in.
“I think the PCA and the Trust do a fantastic job in supporting these types of guys and look, even players who have secured an excellent job or a good future coming out of cricket, the PCA supports them as well.
“A lot of guys have decent jobs in schools or coaching or whatever it may be, and we still come out and play in England Legends matches and try to raise some funds for the local clubs and help them.
“The PCA England Legends play a lot of games throughout the season, and they have been doing that for a while and raising money to help ex-professional cricketers as well who are in a bit of trouble, and we feel like we’re part of the family with the PCA.
“And look, they do a fantastic job and long may it continue.”
Mahmood will be watching on this weekend at the Vitality Blast Finals Day as his former club Lancashire do battle in a Roses semi-final with Yorkshire, where the tournament will officially support the Professional Cricketers’ Trust for a third year in succession.
The Trust will collaborate with the ECB and Sky Sports to both highlight the work of, and raise funds for, the players’ charity at Finals Day.
The Professional Cricketers’ Trust is a registered charity created to support the life-long health and wellbeing of PCA members and their immediate family.
Today’s game is faster, more competitive, more public, and more pressurised than ever before. Even the happiest professional career in cricket means long stretches away from home and financial uncertainty driven by short-term contracts.
Whether you play for a men’s team or women’s team, for a week or a decade, every professional cricketer in England and Wales is a life-long member of the PCA; and that means they can count on the Professional Cricketers’ Trust for support.
But it is the international game that has caught Mahmood’s attention in recent weeks, with the performances and wins for Ben Stokes’ side catching his imagination.
“Matt Potts has obviously come in and done really well hasn’t he, I’m really happy that Jimmy (Anderson) and (Stuart) Broady are back in the side.
“I was a little bit baffled in why they got left out in the winter but look, they're back and that’s good for English cricket.
“It’s really exciting just to watch England play now, I was speaking to a couple of my colleagues before and sometimes we will lose the odd game, I think Ben [Stokes] has already talked about this before.
“Sometimes you will lose games playing this brand of cricket that you’re going to play but what it does, it creates exciting cricket to be watched.
“Especially by the younger audience now, they want to see fours and sixes and they want a T20 game or the Hundred game or whatever.
“And now after the first few Test matches this summer I think Test cricket has become very interesting, it’s a lot more fashionable to watch now.
“One of the players called it sexy cricket and it’s starting to become that again and look, England generally out of all the Test playing nations generally get a good crowd in.
“Hopefully we can grow the crowd and the brand of cricket the boys are playing right now and you never know.
“A lot of people said Test cricket was dying but after the first few Test matches this year, I’m not sure that’s the case.”
The Professional Cricketers’ Trust provides vital support to past and present cricketers in England and Wales and their immediate families when in desperate need. The charity’s work is all encompassing, whether it be for unforeseen physical or mental needs. Vitality Blast Finals Day is supporting the players’ charity - to find out more about the Professional Cricketers’ Trust, visit professionalcricketerstrust.org