Former Oxfordshire cricketer Jon Batty has embarked on a coaching career after a successful time in the professional game.

The 39-year-old wicket-keeper/batsman, who retired last September after a first-class career spanning 18 years, is now the cricket professional at Eltham College, south east London.

Batty, whose best years in the game came at Surrey – where he was captain for one season in 2004 – started his new job in February.

“I look after the development of all the cricketers through the school,” he said.

“It’s a small private school and they perform well across all other sports and I am trying to give cricket a boost.

“The main focus is with the first team, but it goes down to under 12s.”

An Oxford Blue, Batty is also coaching professional wicket-keepers Cameron Herring, Richard Coughtrie and Gareth Roderick at Gloucestershire where he spent the last three years of his career.

“I am contracted for 15 days to work closely with them,” he added. “They are all three young lads.

“Richard Coughtrie is the most experienced of the three and he has only played just half a season of first-team cricket.”

He is taking the ECB Level 4 coaching qualification, and is also the assistant coach for the London & East League’s under 15 side.

For Batty, who grew up in Oakley and played his club cricket at Thame Town and Pressed Steel, it’s a complete lifestyle change after a career which saw him help Surrey win three County Championships, the Twenty20 Cup and the NatWest Pro 40 competition.

And it really hit home following his final game for Gloucestershire against Leicestershire at Grace Road.

“At the end of last season I spent an hour and a half sat in the dressing room where I played my last game,” he revealed.

“It was a bizarre feeling. I had been living the dream and doing what I wanted to do since I was a little boy and it had all come to an end. I was very emotional at the end of the day.”

Batty had started playing with Oxfordshire Under 13s, before making his Minor Counties debut for the county at the age of 17.

“I have some great memories of fantastic people I played with like Phil Garner, Rupert Evans and Keith Arnold, Oxfordshire cricket legends,” he said.

After graduating from Durham University, he moved to Keble College, Oxford, winning his Blue in 1996, and also played for the Combined Universities against New Zealand and the West Indies.

Oxford University was a great experience for me,” he added. “I wanted to be a professional cricketer and joined Surrey the following winter.”

When it comes to career highlights, he has little hesitation in nominating Surrey’s 1999 County Championship triumph.

“Surrey had not won it for 28 years,” he said. “It was a very special group of players for four or five years.

“Also, secondly, being appointed Surrey captain in 2004. As an individual it was my proudest moment as a cricketer.”

Batty hit 9,673 first-class runs at an average of 31.50 with a top score of 168 not out against Essex at Chelmsford in 2003.

He also excelled behind the stumps with 605 catches and 68 stumpings – equalling the world record for catches in an innings with eight against Kent at The Oval in 2004.

“I should have had nine catches,” he recalled. “I left one to first slip.”

His top one-day score of 158 not out came in Surrey’s defeat by Hampshire in the 2005 C&G Trophy quarter-final.

“I went from being elated at half-time to being devastated by the end of the game,” he added. “It is probably the worst feeling I have had walking off a cricket field.”

Batty had no plans to play again when he retired, but with ex-Surrey teammate Alex Tudor becoming coach of Spencer CC he has agreed to appear in the Surrey Premier League when the school term ends.

Marriage to professional dancer Nicole Cutler, who appeared in three series of Strictly Come Dancing, has also put a new perspective on life with the arrival of 16-month-old daughter, Olivia.

But Batty has no doubts where he wants his career to head now.

“The next step on my road is in the coaching arena,” he added. “I want to be in the pro game where I’ve been.”