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From international cricketer to diplomat and beyond - one man in pursuit of a 'proper job'

Cricket legend Deryck Murray at the Vaughan Parry Williams Pavilion

From a cricket world cup winning wicket keeper to a diplomat with the Trinidad and Tobago Foreign Service and now working with Transparency International, very few international sports stars can put their name to such a varied career. Deryck Murray (Industrial Economics, 1972) is very much a one-of-a-kind University of Nottingham alumnus. Back on campus in Nottingham to collect an Alumni Laureate Award for Lifetime Achievement, we caught up with the West Indies cricket legend to talk cricket, University and his fascinating professional career.

I’m proud of the part I played in the West Indies success

"Just being part of the first world cup was historic. For the rest of the cricket world, the world cup was an experiment. This was the first time it was going to be tried, emulating something we have in football as a world cup. Winning it was obviously a landmark for the West Indies as we were the first winners.”

“It was historic for the West Indies, not just from the point of view of winning the world cup but a transformation in our attitude and the way the West Indies were perceived. From being a team that if things were going well we would win and we would excel, but we weren’t so strong if things were going badly.”

During the 1970s, Deryck kept wicket for some of the world’s fastest bowlers - Andy Roberts, Michael Holding and Joel Garner - whose bowling would strike fear into even the hardest of batsman. 

“I always remember words of advice from Sir Frank Worrell when I first joined the team back in 1963: ‘no matter how fearsome your bowlers are, there is a batsman who is more on the receiving end of things than you are, so you can always take comfort from his discomfort’. So that kind of comforted me and helped me to enjoy more of what was happening with the bowlers. Of course, if you’re part of a winning team it’s much more enjoyable than if you are not, so I did enjoy that period.”

I would have a university degree and be able to get a proper job

For many, being one of the first names on the West Indies team sheet would be enough to keep your mind from wandering too far from what comes next. However, married and 27 years old, Deryck was playing county cricket in England for Nottinghamshire and about to embark on an Industrial Economics degree.

“I had the support of my wife and we were planning a family, so it seemed to be leading in the direction of a good and fulfilling life. I would have a University degree and be able to get a proper job." 

“I had been dabbling in professional cricket but I always knew at that time that it was a nice to have. It was a wonderful dream to make a living doing what you really enjoyed and not having to worry about being in the rat race of a job, but knowing that it was an inevitability.” 

Problem solving

“When I was here doing industrial economics I choose a specialist subject, industrial relations, because I was going to solve all the trade union problems and all the personnel problems in work places, but I ended up a far cry from that.”

After another successful period in county cricket, this time with Warwickshire, Deryck took up an opportunity in the Foreign Service of Trinidad and Tobago.

“Trinidad and Tobago, my native country, had just become independent. We were looking at expanding our horizons and I had an opportunity to join the still young Foreign Service of Trinidad and Tobago."

“I thought … they’re going to send me to one of the commonwealth countries where my cricket name would be an asset. Instead I was sent to the United Nations, and of the 180 countries represented there at the time, I didn’t think many would know a lot about cricket. So it also gave me an opportunity to explore new horizons where I couldn’t just rely on my cricket name to get me through doors, it had to be substance and that brought home the confidence that I had left University with.”

Returning to England 

“Coming back to England was always a possibility because my two sons were born in England and we wanted to follow their education here. Although they had gained some of their education in Trinidad and some in New York where I was posted with the United Nations, we always wanted them to do the O-Levels, A-Levels, and university in England. So we knew we were coming back.”

“The financial services industry seemed to be an area of opportunity in England in the early 90s. I actually didn’t change desks in an office for about four or five years but worked for three different companies! The last one I ended up with was Friends Provident and is still a major company today. I got a great experience with them and ended up being Affinity Marketing Manager.”

I try to be fair and do the right thing

Now Chairman of the Trinidad and Tobago Transparency Institute, an arm of the anti-corruption organisation Transparency International, Deryck is in a line of work that embodies his humility and integrity. 

Deryck lives by his words, “I try to be fair and do the right thing”; something he would also pass on as advice to new graduates.

“My best piece of advice would be not to listen to others advice! But seriously, it’s to set yourself goals, to decide what you want to achieve, what does success mean to you? What do you want to achieve? What do you want to be remembered as? Try to be faithful to those dreams and ambitions."

“I think as well, we all face temptations along the way. We all have our morals, principles, integrity and credibility to uphold. I think at the end of the day you will want to look back and see that what you have achieved is true to me and I can hold my head up high.”

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