An illustrious cricketing career came to an end on Thursday (February 2) as Dan Christian, who made his professional debut in 2006, played his final match as a professional cricketer at the SCG, where his side Sydney Sixers lost to Brisbane Heat in the ‘Challenger’ stage of BBL 12.
Christian, last month, announced that he would be retiring from cricket at the end of the BBL 12 season and the Sixers’ loss on Thursday brought an end to a 16-year career that witnessed certain lows and a significant amount of highs which included a plethora of trophies.
But though he is done playing cricket, the 39-year-old has no plans of detaching himself from the sport.
Talking to reporters post his final game as a professional cricketer, Christian confirmed that he will now turn his focus to coaching, clarifying that he is not someone who is a ‘9-5 guy’.
"I'm definitely not lining up to do a nine to five job," he told reporters.
"I'll probably put my hand up somewhere and try to get a (coaching) gig somewhere."
Someone who’s been an unofficial ‘on-field coach’ for the younger players in the past decade, Christian described coaching as something similar to playing, minus the added pressure.
"I've really enjoyed being an older player and being able to help the younger guys in whatever way shape or form that I can, be it with tactics or with any kind of experience that I've had," Christian said.
"I suppose coaching's the exact same thing without the pressure of having to perform on the field."
Though Christian played over 100 List A matches (20 ODIs for Australia) and 83 first-class games, it was in the shortest format that he made a name for himself. He made his T20 debut seventeen years ago and, over the past half a decade, turned into a full-fledged T20 freelancer, playing in nearly every league across the globe. In fact, he ended up being a ‘serial winner’, collecting one trophy after another.
Unsurprisingly, the veteran advocated for the shortest format. He asserted that T20 is here to stay and stated that T20, in fact, is ‘key to ensuring the other formats survive’ owing to its ability to attract new fans to the sport.
"I don't think we are really overloading it," Christian said of the shortest format.
"And I'm saying that based on how many people watch it on TV, [and] the crowd in Perth the other day was unbelievable and it will be a sellout in the grand final.
"I understand there are plenty of competitions going on around the world but the reason there are plenty of competitions is that people want to watch them, be that at home on the couch or going through the gates.
"Think the T20 game is the key to ensuring the other formats survive, it's encouraging new people to come through the gates and new people to take the game up."
The 39-year-old further stated that the T20 format is unrecognizable to what it was 17 years ago, when he made his debut. T20, according to Christian, is so precise now that there’s zero margin for error for the cricketers, something that was not the case back in 2006.
"When it first started it was a bit Mickey Mouse, no one knew how to really play it, [it was] just an abbreviated one-day game but now all 240 balls are really well planned," he said.
"More often than not it's one really good over that will win or lose the game whereas in the other formats you have plenty of time to make up for those good or bad overs.
“In T20, everyone is so precise now, the bowling is so precise and the batting is so good, you can't miss or guys just hit it for six."