Temporary skilled international migration of young professional cricketers: ‘going Down-Under’ to move-up the career path

2017-06-16T12:33:06Z (GMT) by Catherine Waite Darren Smith
Recent theories of temporary skilled international migration tend to be predicated on intra-company overseas transfers and secondments. In this paper we present original findings from a study of cricket migrants to highlight another important form of temporary international movements that enable upskilling from strategic, channelled placements into a foreign club, to propel the careers of young professionals on return migration to their respective home club. Drawing upon interviews with 35 early-career English cricketers, we reveal that moving to Australia for 3–6 months during the English domestic off-season is an increasingly common practice to extend the number of months playing the sport in both distinctive work and climatic conditions. Encountering different overseas sporting cultures and environments is becoming a normative part of formative training and development of young professional cricketers to make the ‘‘unfamiliar’ more ‘familiar’’ and enhance skills and competencies. We argue that these flows of international migrants have been facilitated by the post-2001 professionalization of cricket, and the institutionalisation of global networks between cricket organisations and key actors in the sport. We suggest that there are parallels between cricket placements and other sports and occupational sectors, such as temporary overseas moves linked to loans (e.g. football), visiting fellowships, internships and secondments, in ever-competitive global professional labour markets.