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The former Australian keeper on what attracted him to the gloves, giving up weekends for his kids, getting stared at by David Boon, and more
Interview by Nagraj Gollapudi
March 18, 2012
I don't miss wicketkeeping. I miss the practice for the feeling of fitness that it gives you.
The way not to make a mistake is to think properly and put your fear aside. The good players are able to do that, to just turn the fear into a little bit of anxiety.
Cricket gave me the chance to travel and become more worldly.
With wicketkeeping you need to repeat the fundamentals every ball: being in a good body position and watching the ball. Not the bat, just watch the ball and react to the ball. You'll react to anything that's gonna happen if you're in a good body position.
I grew up in a little town, Biloela, in the centre of Queensland which didn't have too many outside influences.
Wicketkeeping is a bit thankless and a bit lonely: if you're doing badly, you have to work it out yourself a lot of the time.
Sledging is not a positive thing; you can't condone it. But I also don't mind seeing it happen at times - just isolated outbursts, because that tells me that international cricket is still very important to people.
I was nine years old, watching another kid during practice for a team we were trying out for, and something clicked. I liked what I saw: might've been the extra attention he was getting or the extra catching he was getting. I took up wicketkeeping from then onwards.
You get what you deserve. You don't get what you want.
The crouched position is not very important in wicketkeeping; it's the one where you come out of the crouch that's important. That's hard to maintain for long periods because you need leg strength and you need to make sure you're not putting too much stress on your back.
It's tradition that sportsmen are role models, and also a little unfair. I'll have no problems with a cricketer saying, "Listen, kids, don't follow my lead. I want you to watch my cricket, but I am not a role model to follow." Something like Dennis Rodman in basketball.
The bowler I liked keeping to best was Shane Warne. There was always something happening.
My parents just gave up their weekends, basically, for our cricket, and I have only realised that, having become a parent - how hard it is to give up your weekends, to give up your life for your kids. They did it every weekend, winter and summer, for cricket and football.
I didn't take defeat too badly. If you can compete and prepare very well and play even pretty well and come close to doing your job, well then, I've got no problems if we lose.
Wicketkeeping is unknown and that's why it can be perceived as underrated.
My definition of Australianism: prepare very well, play really hard, and commiserate and celebrate very well.
When I started my career David Boon used to stand at short leg and just stare at me and the batsman. And I thought, "Oh, I don't think Boonie likes me." He didn't say much at all and it distracted me. He could bluff the opposition with his body language.
Directness is a virtue of mine.
It's great to have some defeats that you can remember, and things that hurt because it makes the good times sweeter.
Once Dad took us to a game in which Keith Stackpole scored a double-hundred. I ran out on the field and patted him on the back and was trampled on my way back. That was fun.
Money has to be secondary otherwise you won't last long in the game.
Discipline in minor things is extremely important. Things like punctuality, wearing the right uniform as a team, making the bus on time and making it to meetings on time are really important. Make sure everyone is on the same page so that when the team comes under pressure, they'll be together.
Merv Hughes was a very effective larrikin. He had the ability to create noise and relax the whole dressing room.
Young cricketers today are more dependent on coaches than they were earlier. I just hope we don't form a dependence on coaches because one thing that has fallen by the wayside is good captains.
Cricket is such a small part of my life; I hope I will be remembered for more than cricket.
If you have fun, you have half a chance of being successful.
Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at Cricinfo
This interview was first published in the print version of the Cricinfo Magazine
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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