When Michael Carberry is in full flow, he has always been something of a live wire with the bat.
The 31-year-old added a spark to Hampshire’s lacklustre batting after returning from illness towards the end of last season.
He led the charge that briefly raised hopes of avoiding Championship division one relegation.
But the laid-back left-hander, who made his Test debut for England two years ago and has since beaten a career-threatening lung complaint, has delivered a hair-raising shock to Hampshire fans with how he spent much of the winter.
So should the floodlights flicker at the newly-renamed Ageas Bowl next season, Carberry could be a useful bloke to have around after becoming a fully-qualified electrician.
Carberry is not alone in dipping into other professions with a view to his life beyond cricket. And his focus was sharpened by his battle with illness.
But his undoubted skills as a cricketer could now be challenged by his ability to reposition a plug socket without lighting himself up.
He smiled: ‘I did an electrician’s course over the winter.
‘It was just to have something in place for when I retire.
‘I sort of stumbled into it, really, but it was enjoyable and I’m fully qualified now – I’m expecting to get calls from the rest of the lads whenever they have an electrical problem!
‘There was a lot of homework to it, plenty of theory, building regulations and I was pretty mentally tired by the end of it.’
While many professional sportsmen are suddenly left to work out what to do next when their career ends, Carberry got a stark reminder last summer when his illness put his career in jeopardy.
He said: ‘Being ill last year, I wasn’t too sure how things were going to turn out for me.
‘At the time I thought it was best to make use of the time I had and to get another skill under my belt.
‘You’d be surprised how many cricketers think about having another trade behind them. It’s a good thing to do.
‘I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do and I left college many moons ago. All I’ve done is play cricket since then.
‘I’ve been lucky in doing what I do and playing for England two years ago.
‘But when things took an unexpected turn, I didn’t want to be in a position in a couple of years where my career might end and not have anything behind me.
‘So when I came out of hospital last year, I made a start and I stuck with it to try to get it done before the start of this season.’
Despite playing just nine Championship fixtures last term, Carberry hit three centuries in a total of 793 runs – including his fabulous 300 not out against Yorkshire.
So it’s a huge bonus for the club’s hopes of bouncing back from last year’s relegation that Carberry is fit and well.
He said: ‘I’m back into full-time training and I’m feeling all good.
‘We’ve been working hard over the winter and we’re all looking forward to the new season.
‘I’m still on treatments in the background but once you get on the field you have to put those things to one side and put them out of your mind.
‘I’m just looking forward to playing a whole summer. It will be a good test of where I am and where the body is at.’