“O, Cricket’s a game for a real live man, keep fit little man, keep fit”! The start of the poem, “The little man cricketer”, written by Frank Jones several years ago, so aptly defines RR’s physio and fitness trainer, John Gloster.
John, the friendly, approachable, ever smiling, calm and collected RR’s physiotherapist has just one mission at present and that is to ensure that the RR cricketers are in a pristine fit condition to perform at their best.
The wirily fit Australian has been a part of the Rajasthan Royals since their inception in 2008. He is well accomplished and experienced and is the man responsible for all aspect of RR’s player fitness and dietary requirements.
The 20-20 limited overs cricket can be extremely tiring, stressful and hard on one’s body. The fast pace of the game needs players to be flexible, strong and fit. Added to this is the tight match schedules that require travel on every alternate day. John excels at his work and ensures that every player is well tuned and fit. He has had plenty of experience under his belt, having been involved with the Indian and Bangladesh National cricket teams as well as through his stints with the Surrey county, various clubs and other tournaments in different countries.
Adelaide, the pretty and historical city in South Australia, is John’s hometown. He completed his education and honed his skills there. “The pace of knowledge through technology”, he said, “is progressing so rapidly in understanding a sportsman and every inch of his body, that if one does not keep pace with it, one will be left in the dark ages”. John is, therefore, on the move, travelling, learning and broadening his mind to imbibe every bit of knowledge that can help him become better.
He is not a believer in spending hours in the gym. He believes in building stamina through running, toning the muscles through on-ground activities that build, develop and enhance a players performance in the area that he wants to specialise in.
One of the most consistent deliverables for the Rajasthan Royals cricket squad has been the fitness package that has been so wonderfully designed by John. This has been one of his major contributions to Indian cricket, as the young as well as the established players have now made his fitness program into a ritual to follow it, even after the IPL is over. This is then being taken by the cricketers to the club and 1st class levels. One can see a major change in the fitness of a cricketer now as compared to the ones earlier at all the levels of the game.
Speaking to the present and some of the former RR players, one is amused as to how an Indian cricketers attitude to food and exercise has radically changed. The days of the oily Indian food snacks and meals have given way to energetic supplements of food which are steamed and easy to digest. John is a happy man in seeing this change, “as a decade ago”, he said, “the Indian cricketers were still struggling to understand the importance of a healthy body and how it leads to a healthy mind”.
The 20-20 is all about aggression, nimble footwork and innovation. Therefore, a quick-thinking mind and body has become an essential criteria in a modern cricketers development.
The greatest and most famous cricketer, Don Bradman, was from Adelaide and so quite understandably, cricket is revered there. A mention of Adelaide to John and he radiates a glow and a smile that evokes a feeling of pride of being a part of the city of the legendary cricketer.
However, Mumbai is now his home with Trisha, his pretty pilot wife and a young active son. John, at the moment has the conductors baton to orchestrate the fitness of the RR squad, but as he jokingly says, he needs to get fitter to handle his young energetic ball of fire, his son!
He is a true caretaker on and off the field.
About the author:
Yajurvindra Singh is a former cricketer who represented India between 1977 and 1979. He enjoys the unique distinction of achieving 2 world records – 5 catches in an innings, and 7 catches in a match - on his debut.