MATT Gunther’s cricket feats won’t feature on the scoresheet next season.
The new Geelong Cricket Club assistant coach has decided – at just 24 – to focus on off-field leadership.
Gunther, who honed his skills at Warrnambool and District Cricket Association club Dennington, has opted to pack up his whites as he commits up to 100 kilometres a week to marathon training.
He will tackle the Melbourne Marathon in October.
Gunther said he was happy he could combine his two sporting passions and was excited to hold an esteemed coaching role at a Victorian Premier Cricket club.
“I am not going to play this season. I started doing a bit of marathon running and whatnot towards the end of last year, so I wanted to give that a go (properly),” he said.
“I was still really keen to be involved with the cricket club and this opportunity came up, so I thought it would be the perfect way to still be involved quite heavily.”
Gunther, who is entering his ninth season at Geelong, will spend two nights a week helping head coach Andre Borovec.
He will focus on the club's Second XI and Fourth XI sides on match days “ensuring that all players have the opportunity to learn and improve”.
“(My focus is) developing relationships with all the players and providing them with an opportunity to have a voice and have a say and allowing them to take ownership of their own game,” he said.
“My focus will be on working with the new players at the club, especially in the pre-season, to ensure they feel welcomed and can fit into the environment as quickly as possible.”
Gunther, a first-year high school teacher in Tarneit, said the differences between cricket and running were vast.
He enjoys the social nature of cricket and is adjusting to running’s solitude.
“It has been quite different. I have tried to go for runs with other people quite a lot,” Gunther said.
“I probably do that three or four times a week. It can be pretty lonely on the road when you’re running compared to always having people around in cricket.
“I think that’s really good for me with having the cricket club as well, I’ve still got that team sport aspect in my life as well.”
Gunther said it was exciting to see more Western Region players joining Geelong – the closest Premier league club to Warrnambool.
Woodford’s Tommy Jackson and Nirranda’s Brody Couch are two WDCA players he will work with in 2018-19.
“From my point-of-view, the eight years I’ve been here I’ve always been like ‘we should have more people coming from Warrnambool’ and it’s only just starting to happen the last couple of years,” he said.