There is one man along with Gregory King, the Indian team trainer, who has to keep the Indian Cricketers 100% fit and that is John Gloster. Whether it’s to monitor Sachin’s elbow or Pathan’s groin, this man is the most crucial factor. John Gloster today is as important as a Sachin or a Dravid in the team simply because his work can never be taken lightly.
The departure of Andrew Leipus from the Indian team brought this man into the limelight to fill in the responsible shoes of an Indian Physio. John Gloster started off his career in Cricket by working with Surrey for 3 years and was then the physio of the Bangladesh Cricket Team for the past 4 years. Apart from Cricket, this Australian has also worked in sports like Rugby and Australian Rules Football.
Cricketfundas.com’s Ashwat Ramani caught up with John Gloster during the Duleep Trophy Match between South Zone and West Zone on the 24th of February at Hyderabad and here’s what the Physio had to say:
John, First of all let me congratulate you on being appointed as the Physio for the Indian Cricket Team. How do you feel about that?
Thank You. I am very excited about this new job and very excited to be here in India. I think it’s an exciting time for the Indian Cricketers. They have made big big leaps in the last few years and I consider them to be in the top 2 or 3 teams in the world now, so it’s great to be involved with the team that is a very professional one.
You were also the physio for the Bangladesh Team for about 3-4 years. So how useful was that experience?
I think working in the subcontinent with Bangladesh gave me a lot of experience coming here. The conditions are similar, not the same but they are similar. I think working in conditions such as we see in here and in Bangladesh can be very difficult for the players, so we need to know how to train accordingly to the conditions. Also the physical attributes of the players are similar, so having that knowledge was useful. The types of injuries that you get in the subcontinent are different from what you get in countries like South Africa or Australia or England. The injuries in this part of the world are mainly due to the hard grounds and the humid and extreme atmospheric conditions. So having the knowledge of how to deal with players in such conditions is very useful.
How did you get into Sports Physiotherapy?
I’ve always been interested in sports and I’ve always been interested in medicine. I’ve been fortunate enough to put both of them together and get into sports physiotherapy. I graduated from the University in South Australia and then I worked with Cricket in England. I worked for 3 years with Surrey. I’ve also worked in sports like Rugby and Australian Rules Football. I had a stint at the Institute of Sports Camp with the local Olympic Athletes. So I’ve always had a love for sports and the progression into Cricket with Bangladesh was a great step for me and I think going into Indian Cricket is an even greater step.
So does Physiotherapy in Cricket differ from other Sports?
I think every sport has its own unique injuries and Cricket is quite a unique sport which you can’t compare with other sports. Preparing for a game of Cricket is very different from preparing for Australian Rules Football. You obviously treat an injury as you see it and how it presents to you. But in general that the human body is the same, no matter what sport you are dealing with but there are some injuries which are unique to different sports and it’s good to be aware of those and it’s good to be familiar with the sport.
You’ve worked with Dav Whatmore in Bangladesh. Now you are with John Wright. How do you rate both these coaches?
Ahh (Laughs). Well, I am not in a position to say that. You know, I have not really spent much time with John (Wright) so I am not really going to comment on that. But, talking about Dav Whatmore, I think he is a really unique individual. I enjoyed working with him. His style of coaching, I feel gets the best out of players. He is a very good judge of character and he is a very sensitive individual. His has this ability to read players and read situations very well. He also comes from the subcontinent; he was born in Sri Lanka but brought up in Australia. So he’s had a blend of both cultures, which I think is really important in Cricket and to work with him was a great experience. Other coaches I worked with; I think Alan Butcher is a great individual as well and also Keith Medleycott. They all bring different things to cricket and John to my knowledge till this point seems a wonderful man and I think has great ideas as well.
You’ve been with the Indian Team for about a month now. So do you think that you’ve got acclimatized with the players?
It takes a long time for me to acclimatize to the players and it takes a long time for the players to acclimatize to me. The most important thing is to create an environment where they are comfortable with me, but that again comes only from confidence. They’ve got to have confidence in my knowledge and my clinical skills and my ability to read them as individuals and all this will take some time. I am gradually getting to know the players. There are a lot of individuals who are unique and it’s important that you understand them intimately so that you get the best out of them both off the field in the rehab settings and on the field in the playing settings. I was given some background obviously by Andrew (Leipus) about the players which was very helpful but again as I’ve said a numerous times before that it’s also important that I make my own assessments with the players physically, emotionally and psychologically to come to conclusions on my own about where they are in the sport.
Talking about Sachin’s tennis elbow…is he fit for the Pakistan tour that starts in a few days from now?
Look, I can’t say whether he is fit or not at this stage. All I can say is that to this point, he has progressed as well as we would have liked him to be. There is still a long time to go before the 1st Test; anything can happen in that period of time. As I’ve said before, it can be a difficult injury to treat. We are following the advice that has been given and to this point he is progressing as I would have hoped. But again, you can test them in the nets as with any injury, but it’s not the same while playing the match. So for us the crucial thing is to get him playing. Unfortunately, he missed out in the 1st Innings and we are hoping that he bats well in the 2nd Innings and I need to see him getting bat on ball, but you know it’s a problem he has had for a while, so it’s not going to disappear overnight. We have to work with it, take each day by day and follow the advice given to us by the board and hope that it keeps progressing well.
John, does being an integral part of a squad that has the likes of greats like Sachin, Dravid and Sourav add extra pressure on you?
Again, I think it’s coming back to treating the injury or the problem or the individual as you see it. It’s important to understand the personality whom you are treating. You have to treat every individual’s injury as it presents to you with your clinical knowledge. It’s great to be involved with guys such as Rahul, Sachin and Sourav who are respected the world over because they are great cricketers. As a physio, my job is to make those great cricketers fit to be on the field so that they perform for the crowd that has come to see them. You got to treat them as individuals and keep distant the fact that they are role models.
What is the procedure for becoming a Physio of an International Cricket Team right from the grassroot level?
You’ve got to be passionate about what you are doing. You’ve got to be passionate about the sport that you are involved with as well as be willing to expand your knowledge in that particular area. As an undergraduate you should start off with junior teams. I’ve been fortunate enough to get some lucky breaks. Getting to work with Surrey was probably the biggest stepping stone in my career. I was working with the team which was filled with International Cricketers which put me ahead of many others. You can be the best clinical physio in the world, but if you don’t have the confidence of treating a particular player then it’s not worth anything. So you need to be able to communicate very well, be a good team player as well as co-ordinate well with your selectors, your coach and especially with the trainer because he is an integral part of the relationship that you have with the squad and just accept that you also have limitations. I don’t profess to know everything about a physio or everything about an injury. You must admit that if you can’t help someone, then you should look elsewhere to get advice and seek help. So I’ll be humble enough to admit that I don’t know everything.
So what can the whole of India expect from John Gloster in the coming years?
Well I would just like the whole of India to know that I am doing the best that I can and helping a squad to perform at their best will be my prime duty.