As a fast bowler, Matthew Fisher should be good when it comes to figures. So it comes as no real surprise that the Yorkshire star has been undertaking an online accountancy taster course during the Coronavirus lockdown.
The White Rose all-rounder, 22, hopefully has more than a decade left of taking wickets and scoring runs – for Yorkshire and potentially England.
But that has not stopped him looking ahead during the last couple of months, with the help of the Open University.
With the University offering hundreds of free short courses, Fisher has been able to dip his toe into a number of different subjects that have taken his fancy, including nutrition and athlete recovery.
But as a maths enthusiast during his school days at Easingwold near York, the England Lion was keen to develop that interest further in his downtime away from maintaining fitness in anticipation of a return to cricket later this summer.
“I’ve done a handful of the free short courses on their website,” explained Fisher.
“I’ve always thought that I should do something outside of cricket and have got to the point where I thought about doing a three-year course or something. But then I got quite daunted by it, thinking, ‘What if I go through this and not enjoy it?’.
“So these free courses are a start towards that and have helped me look at a range of different things.
“There are hundreds to go at, and they’re all quite short. They can be four to six hours of study, some are eight to 10. It doesn’t take up much time.
“I’ve tried to get through one or two a week, and it’s kept me busy and given me a broader perspective on what I enjoy doing and what I don’t.
?? Motivated to use his lockdown time well, Yorkshire‘s Matthew Fisher has started an accounting course.— PCA (@PCA) May 12, 2020
?? Over 100 players have taken up online courses to provide a distraction and plan for the future since lockdown started.
???? https://t.co/EbtowptWvw pic.twitter.com/pVDRp4g8pA
“It’s just a bit of a guide for me to know if I do something in the future, I’ll be doing it because I’ve liked it in the past.”
Fisher went on: “The first one I did was Fundamentals of Accounting. I always enjoyed maths at school and like to think I was quite good at it.
“I really enjoyed that course, despite my brother Mark, who is the brain box of the family and studied Maths and Accounting at Uni, saying he didn’t think I would.
“I’ve also looked at a psychological course because I’ve always been interested in that side of things – motivation and stuff like that. I enjoyed that too.
“One of the main things I took out of that was how different things affect motivation, maybe what people have gone through at home. Hopefully that can help me in the future, whether it’s becoming a better team-mate or even if I want to be a coach down the line.”
With his studies, Fisher has also looked things which can help him advance his current playing career.
He added: “I’ve done a couple of things around nutrition, diet and recovery strategies.
“A big part of my game is that I want to stay in the best shape physically and eat well. I know that will give me the best chance of not getting injured and being strong.
“The one on recovery strategies was fairly basic, but it gave me the idea of looking at some different case studies on various aspects.
“One conclusion I made was that the science and medicine behind it is very inconclusive. A lot of things have been done, but nothing really stands out. Some things have little benefit, but nothing has proved to be a must do.
“There are loads of things you can do or use – foam rollers, ice baths, compression skins. They can all have a little bit of an impact.
“But the conclusion most people came to is that a good night’s sleep is better than anything else.
“At least I’ve learnt a little bit about that because I am quite intense when it comes to that kind of thing.
“I used to think, ‘If I don’t do this and that, I won’t recover well enough and won’t perform’.
“Now, reading and researching that, I can be a bit more relaxed.”