Harry Gurney puts passion for stock market on hold after call-up to England squad to tour Sri Lanka

Gurney tells Richard Edwards his World Cup hopes – and how a love of poker may lead to a post-playing career

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The Independent Online

If shares were bought and sold in the England cricket team, the 12-month graph would resemble a big dipper with more troughs than peaks. Harry Gurney’s stock, in contrast, has remained on a steadily upward curve.

Last week, the Nottinghamshire left-armer was named in England’s squad to take on Sri Lanka in five one-day matches and two T20 internationals next month.

The tour will go a long way to deciding the make-up of the England side at the World Cup early next year.

Boarding a plane bound for Australia would represent a career highlight for Gurney, but his selection for the Sri Lanka tour means he has had to put another long-standing ambition on hold.

“I’ve got an economics degree and I’m trying to keep other things ticking over in the background, just because while we earn good money as cricketers it doesn’t last for ever,” he tells The Independent.

“Even if you have a pretty successful career it does come to an end in your mid-thirties and you’re unlikely to be in a position, regardless of who you are, where you never have to work again in your life.

“There are various other options I might consider down the line but the stock market is an interest of mine, really, it’s a passion.

“I’m lucky that it excites me and floats my boat because it’s something that, down the line, I might earn some money out of as well.

“I’m trading tentatively at the moment, I was going to really start at the end of this month but I might have to put it on the back burner after being selected for this tour. I was about to open a live account in the not-too-distant future.”

Since making his England debut against Scotland in Aberdeen back in May, Gurney has proved his value to a side still searching for a formula that, like the stock market, offers the long-term prospect of success.

He bowled four tidy overs in a truncated match which began Peter Moores’ second spell in charge of the national team and clearly showed enough promise and variety to mark him out as a valuable addition to a developing one-day and T20 side.

Gurney also finished as Nottinghamshire’s joint leading wicket-taker in the County Championship – with 38 wickets at a cost of 32 – as Mick Newell’s side finished fourth.

Before meeting up with England at Loughborough at the end of this month, though, it’s stocks and shares rather than slower balls and reverse swing that are occupying his thoughts.

“Initially, it started off for me as a love of poker,” he says. “That’s not uncommon in the last few years, it has obviously exploded online.

“That’s where it all started in terms of learning about value and pot-odds.

“Then I think the online marketplace for poker got so crowded and so full of people with online programs running on their computer that it became difficult to grind out a consistent long-term profit.

“I started to look for other ways where I might be able to generate some extra income using the basics that I have learned – the searching for value.

“I’ve always had one eye on the stock market, my dad used to hold a couple of shares that I used to check the prices of.

“I’ve read a few books, done a couple of courses online and potentially next winter or the winter after, depending on England involvement, I might do an internship at an investment bank down in London.

“If I wasn’t touring this winter I would have looked to have done that this winter, to be honest. But I’m obviously happy that I’ve had to put it off – it can go on the back burner for as long as it likes!”

Gurney would not be the first cricketer to leave the sport and move into a career in the City, with Yorkshire’s Joe Sayers and Glamorgan’s Gareth Rees both eyeing a new life in the world of investment banking.

For the moment, though, he can look back on an eventful 2014 and forward to playing a potentially key role in England’s attempt to win a first 50-over World Cup.

“When I look back on 2014 in the years to come, it will be a really proud year for me with a lot of great memories,” he says.

“It will be a season I’ll never forget. To reach the highest level and represent your country is an amazing achievement and I’m so proud to have done that.

“The World Cup is a huge carrot but with Broady [Stuart Broad] there’s massive competition for places. I’ll be doing everything I can between now and the end of that Sri Lanka tour to push my name forward.”

If England do decide to  take a gamble on Gurney it might prove to be a capital investment.

Harry’s games Gurney statistics

7 - ODIs played, making his debut in a win over Scotland in Aberdeen in May

10 - ODI wickets, at an average of 27.40. He took 4-55 against Sri Lanka in May

33.88 - Gurney’s first-class bowling average, taking 145 wickets in 54 matches