Wicketkeepers,as a tribe,believe their anonymity on the field marks their discipline behind the stumps. But Peter McGlashan makes his presence felt irrespective of his glove-work. The 29-year-old stand-in for the injured Brendon McCullum has had two ordinary outings in the ongoing India vs New Zealand ODI series but the man with the new-age wicketkeeping mask has stood out.
Its on meeting McGlashan,minus the mask,that several aspects of this multi-skilled player are revealed. A post-graduate in bio-mechanics from Auckland University who put his thesis work on hold for his cricketing career,McGlashans kitbag is a veritable treasure chest of his non-cricketing talent. The mask isnt the only out-of-the-box cricketing gear,his pads and batting gloves are equally unconventional. McGlashans connection with sports equipment manufacturing firm,Aero,and his research related project with Nike makes McGlashan a walking billboard of his own radical thinking.
Once I was involved in a four-day game and play was abandoned on the second day. I dont believe in spending my time watching TV,so I thought of doing something about my head-gear. I got a few copper wires from a store nearby,drew a few diagrams,and took them to the engineers who made this thing. Today this mask is available in shops and its quite popular in England, he says.
His pads,too,dont have ridges and the acute angle of the surface make bat-pad balls loops towards the pitch rather than towards close-in fielders. In his batting gloves,the heavy protection and the layer closer to the hands are divided,giving more air inflow. My bio-mechanical background has helped me to understand the human body better and thats what my designs are based on, he says.
McGlashans alternative equipment has given him an unusual look and made him the subject of some good-natured banter from fellow cricketers. In England,were he plays for Bath Club,he is called Inspector Gadget. On the field,he frequently encounters a question such as: When is the spacecraft going to take off?
McGlashan saw a few jaws drop when he wore an orange-coloured light-enhancing contact lens called Max Vision in a match. When I walked onto the field,someone asked me,What have you been smoking?, he laughs.
McGlashans younger sister Sara is playing the womens World Cup in Australia their parents had a tough time with the remote control the other day because both the siblings were on TV. His first experience with modifying cricket gear came when as a student he did research for a Nike cricket shoe. Most of the Indians players now wear that same shoe without realising that the man standing behind the stumps helped design it.
Ask him about playing against India,and he tells an interesting Tendulkar story. I went to England with the New Zealand under-19 team and saw the entire Indian team at the Heathrow airport. I requested Tendulkar to pose for a picture. When he came to New Zealand later,I got it autographed. And now,here I was standing behind the stumps watching him play one of his greatest knocks, he says about Tendulkars 163 on Sunday.
Did he tell Tendulkar this? Not yet,maybe one of these days I will, he says. By all accounts,its the first instance of McGlashan lacking enterprise.