CHALLENGE: Newcastle fast bowler Burt Cockley at No.1 Sportsground on Tuesday before relocating to the US. Picture: Josh Callinan North Lambton to Perth to Kansas.
It’s not your traditional cricketing journey but retired first-class fast bowlerBurt Cockley is about to embark on a US mission.
Coaching club side Waratah-Mayfield and helping out withNewcastle representative teams while home at the moment, the 31-year-old may soon put his “rollercoaster” decade on the professional road to use overseas in a country much more aligned with bases, baskets and the Superbowl then runs, wickets and the Big Bash.
“I never thought I’d play professional cricketyet alonetravel the world and cricket be the vehicle to do that,” the injury-plaguedNSW, Western and Indian Premier Leaguequick said.
“From a pretty humble background to fulfill a dream in cricket and earn my income through a hobby. Ifeel very lucky and privileged.”
The relocation has beenprompted by his American-based father-in-law battling prostate cancer.
Cockley’s wife Rachel has already left while he waits for visa approval.
Family andpost graduate studies at the University of Kansaswill come first forCockley, who recently completed a sport science degree in Perth and ranhis own strength and conditioning business, but he also sees an opportunity to stay involved in the game.
Hismove comes at an interesting timewith the International Cricket Council and the USA Cricket Association on rocky terms, including a contested expulsion last month.
“It’sexciting to go over there because it’s a developing gameand there’s a lot of potential growth within America,” Cockley said.
“Obviously it’sa country where cricket isn’t themain sport, but I’m hoping to get a chance to help out. I’ve already spoken to them andlet them know I’m coming over.
“I don’t just want to give up on cricket. It’s mything and Ilove it. Iwant to be able to give back to young cricketers coming through and contribute in some way. So if a chance arises to help in any way I’ll jump at it.”
He’sput that mantra to the test during the last few weeks–sharing his story with Newcastle juniors while sitting alongside former teammates Mark Littlewood and Nathan Price as well as former coach Mark Curry.
Cockley has also been running sessions each Friday and Sunday forWaratah-Mayfield, where he made his senior debut.Once he departs Steve Taylor will take over the coaching reins for the rest of 2017-2018.
Cockley played in 14 first-class and seven List A matches between 2008 and 2013.
In 2009 he was picked for to play a washed outODI in India.