Meet Michael Klinger, Deakin post-graduate student, superb cricketer, and hands-on father.
Michael started his cricketing career representing Victoria then moved to South Australia, where he is currently. He was captain of the Redback’s, South Australian Cricket Team and led the team to win the Big Bash in 2010-11 and Ryobi One Day Cup in 2011-12.
Having received the first contract to play for Victoria in Year 12 aged 18, Michael played for Victoria at state level from 18 until 27 years old. Then having moved to South Australia, he has been with the Adelaide Strikers. He has also played for the Perth Scorchers during his two-year stint in WA.
We caught up with Michael to chat about his cricket commitments, studies, and his extraordinary achievements as cricketer, student and father.
You are about to head back to play for Gloucestershire in the UK?
This is the fourth season. I leave on 15 May and will be playing for four months. With two young children, it can be challenge to play for a longer period than that; also the body needs six to seven weeks off at the end of the summer to recover.
What is your favourite ground to play on?
MCG for sure! The very historic nature of the grounds. Also growing up in Melbourne, and watching Melbourne Football Club each weekend has had an impact. Even now, going back as an away team, it is a pretty special place to play.
What’s the biggest crowd that you have played in front of?
I played one year in IPL (Indian Premier League), at Delhi in India, with a 70,000 plus crowd that was completely going nuts! Also a Big Bash match in front of over 43,000 spectators at the Adelaide Oval.
Tell us about your course at Deakin.
I am studying Master of Business (Sport Management); this is my 11th year of studying this course. I have been tackling one subject per year, so I’m 11 subjects down at the moment. I commenced in 2005, and very happy to be currently completing my final subject.
I have also studied an undergraduate degree in Human Movement at Deakin; I studied it part-time over seven years.
How do you fit all your commitments in?
It does take planning to fit the study around all my commitments. I am playing from September to March in Australia and then during the English season from April to September. Careful planning and the flexibility of Deakin has made it all possible.
It’s got challenging with the arrival of the children, though!
Why study when you have such a good career in cricket?
As an athlete you start out young, one doesn’t know if your going to play for one or two years or you will play for several years. I have been fortunate to play for two decades.
It’s good to have something else to focus on and something else to do when the cricket is finished. We all need something else out behind us.
Deakin’s flexible course delivery
Deakin’s been good with flexibility, I have to say. It has been great especially since the Elite Athlete Program commencement. The Program allows for support with study, exams and deadlines included if I need delayed exams. This is especially helpful as sometimes during the exam period there can be seven or eight cricket matches happening. I also have flexibility with assignment submissions.
My personal relationship with Professor David Shilbury, Associate Dean (International), Faculty of Business and Law, has made this type of study possible.
I have had to sit exams overseas on a few occasions. They have changed exam venues to do in Bristol, then once in Birmingham, while playing Manchester Club cricket! My unit assessment consists mainly of assignments, which makes it easier for Elite Sports people to continue with our studies.
What is the aspect you have learnt the most out your current course?
Last year for my Sport Organisation and Theory unit, I did a WACCA case study based upon a hypothetical CEO. I examined what kind of people are in those roles and the responsibilities of a CEO role. This helped me decide what I might want to do going forward after cricket.
On preparing for a career beyond sports
The hard thing for me, or anyone who has been in sport, is that it’s really hard to get work experience. So you are essentially trying to get into the workforce competing against people who can have anywhere between two or 15 years of work experience.
I believe team work, communication and other sporting skills combined with an academic degree will translate to strong employability skills. Captaining sides has provided me with excellent leadership experience.
In cricket there are Player Welfare Managers within Cricket Australia to support players to make the transition from sport to life after sport, assists with study, upskilling etc. They also help get work experience in a high-performance club environment which for me will help me get experience and assist me in identify my pathway for the future.
On campus or online
The first year I started my course, I attended lectures on campus in Burwood – I was an on campus student. However, having moved to Adelaide, I have done my studies online since and I love it. The systems and tools have improved enormously since I started my undergraduate degree.
Tips for other students studying in the cloud…
Follow the course as closely as possible, listen to lectures, use the BB Collaborate blackboard, watch videos and attend live classes whenever possible. The new technology helps a lot to keep up with your studies.
Making the most of the opportunities that this kind of technology offers, is the key for success in online studies. For example, if you need to study late due to sporting commitments, you can catch up and make use of this flexibility that technology affords.
Career aspirations and next steps…
I would love to get a position in a high performance sport area. Maybe become the director of cricket in a State or the Big Bash team.
I will complete my course, get the degree, then next year this time get some experience with the West Coast Eagles for a month or so, to work with a high performance department and get a look in to see if I like it! I would love to do player list management or player management for the team.
Never having worked as such, I have not had an industry experience. So I am open to do voluntary work as well, to build experience and knowledge and see where my career will take me.
Deakin, an Elite Athlete-friendly University, is proud to support sports people in their journey to accomplish their sporting and academic goals. Find our more about the Deakin Elite Athlete program.