Meet Dr Vishal Tripathi – an ex-cricketer who gave up his professional career in sport to become a doctor.
Now a junior doctor at the University Hospital of North Tees in Stockton-on-Tees, 33-year-old Vishal from Sunderland was brought up around the sport and has fond childhood memories of watching his dad play cricket.
After playing the sport his whole life, both competitively and for fun, he signed his first professional contract, aged 20, with Lancashire Cricket Club before eventually moving onto a full time deal with Northamptonshire and rubbing shoulders with the elite of the sport.
When Vishal’s contract wasn’t renewed the next season, he struggled to get back into the professional game and took it upon himself to come up with an alternative plan.
Vishal said: “Cricket was always in my blood. I’d geared up all my life to play. But the game moves thick and fast and you’re always one bad decision away.
“The main idea was to get back into the game but it just wasn’t meant to be. Once it didn’t happen, I starting setting up a plan B.”
After being inspired by his grandfather who was a doctor and one of his friends enrolled in medical school, he found an interest in medicine and started doing some voluntary work as a care assistant to gain some experience in the field.
He eventually found his first paid role in the NHS as a support worker and began his university applications to study medicine, part funded by the Professional Cricketers’ Association – a union which supports cricket players throughout their career.
From cricketer to doctor
Fast forward to 2021 and Vishal is a junior doctor in Teesside working at the University Hospital of North Tees which is run by North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust.
He continued: “There’s more satisfaction in saving someone than there is in scoring a 100 or winning a game.
“You might not have 20,000 people watching you here but you are part of a team. You’re a cog in the work of the NHS that’s helping to keep the country afloat.
“Cricket is a short career but medicine is here until I die now.”
The transformation from cricketer to doctor may seem like a far stretch for some. But the ex-pro believes his former career paved the way to his success in medicine.
He said: “There’s just something about sportspeople that translates well into medicine. We have real foundation blocks to make great doctors.
“You have to be dedicated to the game. You’re constantly training really hard, you have to be a great team worker and have leadership skills as well. But for me the main thing is coping with setbacks.
“Those skills are worth their weight in gold and are very easily transferable to a career in medicine and healthcare – we know how to get the job done, we go through the tough times but we realise it’s all worth it.”
Although Vishal’s life and work are more focused on medicine now, he still has a passion for cricket. He has just signed with Whitburn Cricket Club. And he believes his renewed appreciation for cricket is down to putting his sporting career behind him.
As a foundation year one doctor doing tasters of different specialities in medicine, Vishal is still thinking about where his future in medicine may take him. He is currently gaining experience in trauma and orthopaedics and is considering to a future in sports injuries or cardiology.
Vishal’s work with the Professional Cricket Association
Vishal’s incredible transformation is a main feature in the Professional Cricket Association’s (PCA) Futures Week. The event aims to shine a light on personal development and career transitions in cricketers. He recently took part in a video interview to tell his story to other professional cricketers.
The PCA has assisted almost 270 players into their second careers since 2015. Now the organisation hopes that Vishal’s story will inspire others.
Ian Thomas is PCA director of member services. He said: “Vishal has shown exemplary determination, skill and resilience throughout his journey from professional cricket and into medicine.
“The NHS is a wonderful service that is so important to everybody so we take great pride that one of our members has opted to pursue a career within the organisation.
“Vishal should be incredibly proud of this achievements to date and we hope that many more current and former professional cricketers will learn from his experiences and consider medicine as a second career.”