FORMER professional cricketer Tim Linley has switched from bowler to barista after opening a coffee shop in his home city of Leeds.
The retired Surrey seam bowler is now delivering perfectly crafted cappuccinos at his new shop Coffee on the Crescent in Hyde Park – around half-a-mile from Yorkshire County Cricket Club’s home at Headingley.
Mr Linley, 36, spent seven years in Surrey’s first-team at the Kia Oval. It included a spectacular 2011 season when he took 73 first-class wickets to help Surrey win promotion to division one of the County Championship.
Mr Linley, who took 200 first class wickets, had to retire from cricket aged 34 at the end of the 2015 season due to a knee injury.
He moved back to Leeds and is helping coach youngsters at Horsforth Cricket Club, where he played for seven years from the age of 13.
He had his eye on a future career while still playing professional cricket and spent his spare time searching out the best speciality coffee shops in London. But he said it was still difficult to deal with the sudden end of his cricket career.
Mr Linley, who was awarded £2,500 by the Professional Cricketers’ Association to help set up the coffee shop, said: “When you retire it is hard and you do have a bit of an identity crisis.
“I certainly did. No one ever believes that this is going to happen to them until you get to this stage.
“It was absolutely brutal because it was so sudden. In the immediate aftermath you are stoic and deal with it, but it took me quite some time to come to terms with the fact that you have dedicated your whole life to something and then it just stops.”
Mr Linley added: “I made the decision while I was still playing of what I wanted to do after finishing my cricket. I started training through the PCA with some barista courses and some financial accounting courses. The PCA have been absolutely fundamental in this project and I can safely say without them this wouldn’t have been possible.
“I used to be able to bowl a ball in a small area and that was my skill which was great, but actually I’ve got a lot more skills to offer.”
Mr Linley won his first professional contract with Sussex aged 24 and didn’t sign with Surrey until he was 26. He said: “I was told by numerous people that I should pack it in and get a proper job. Fortunately I didn’t listen to them.”