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Kohli has made fitness a non-negotiable: Gloster

James Jose/Dubai
Filed on August 7, 2020 | Last updated on August 7, 2020 at 12.11 am
Former Indian team physio John Gloster. - KT file

The former Indian team physio also spoke about Sachin Tendulkar's longevity in the game

Former Indian team physio John Gloster has said that Indian skipper Virat Kohli embracing fitness and raising the benchmark is what separates him from the rest and added that that would be his legacy.

Kohli continues to push the boundaries when it comes to fitness and one which everybody has now brought into, with India on top of their game.

And Gloster, who was the team's physio from 2005 to 2008, said that Kohli has made it a non-negotiable.

"He embraced fitness and he made it non-negotiable for Indian cricket when he got to a position to do so," Gloster told Anis Sajan, mentor of the Delhi Bulls franchise in the Abu Dhabi T10 League, also the managing director of Danube Group, in a video chat titled 'Cricket Unplugged with Anis Sajan.'

"Love him or hate him, he has created that environment to say that it is a non-negotiable and if you want to be part of this team, you have got to embrace fitness as well and start embracing it at a younger age. So, his legacy is going to be that we all need to look at our own fitness. What works for him may not work for someone else. Some of his dietary practices are definitely not going to work for some of the others and long term may not necessarily work for him either but in terms of the actual training, the discipline around the concepts of strength, speed and power, he said that in the modern game of cricket, particularly in the shorter form, without it, you are not going to survive. You won't survive in this team or in the majority of other teams now because again, it is a non-negotiable and everybody else is embracing it so we have to as well," he added.

The Australian, who is now settled in Mumbai, also picked Sachin Tendulkar as the best player in the modern era and spoke about the batting icon longevity in the game. 

"You got to take your hat off for Sachin for his longevity in the game. Anybody who has spent 10 years in international cricket, knows how hard it is, anybody who has spent 15 years in international cricket, knows how hard it is to play on top of the game. To have somebody stay in the game for 22 years at the top of their game, in India, with the pressures that Sachin is under, I think you have got to put Sachin right up there probably because of everything else he had to put up with in India to stay at the top of his game and to succeed amongst tremendous odds," felt Gloster.

Gloster, who previously worked with English County Surrey before joining Bangladesh, served under four captains - Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble and MS Dhoni.

And while he spoke in glowing terms about each one of them, Gloster said that MS Dhoni had all the attributes of the previous three.

"If we could get a little piece of one of those four captains and put it into one captain, you will have the greatest captain of all-time. They all brought something to the table that benefited Indian cricket going forward. But if you wanted to look at perhaps the most complete captain that India has had during that period, then you probably couldn't go past MS because he learnt from the previous three and took sort of the special pieces of those previous three captains and brought it into his own captaincy. So, therefore, he had the advantage of learning from them and embracing that but bringing his own flavour to the fore as well," he explained.

Gloster has been with the Rajasthan Royals in the IPL since the inception of the league and has witnessed the high of being crowned champions in the inaugural edition in 2008. When asked about his own longevity with the same franchise for such a long time, he said that it has probably got to do with accessibility as well as what he brings to the table.

"One of the things is because I live in India. So, I'm the only of the international support staff who is here 24/7, 365 days of the year. So, it means that there is a constant for the players, there's a constant source for them to access. For a player, the biggest fear is injury and the biggest fear is not understanding an injury or getting a correct diagnosis or treatment for an injury. To have a focal point for your biggest fear is very important to a player. I think that helps that I've been fortunate to be with a franchise that allows me to sort of bring new innovations to the fore and keep pushing the boundaries around sports science, around sports medicine and best practices. So, I think they appreciate the fact that I can bring that to the table for them," Gloster said.

He also said that his association with other franchise leagues around the world like the Abu Dhabi T10 League, where he is the physio with the Delhi Bulls, and the Pakistan Super League (PSL) has also helped.

"Also, I think they (Royals) realise that they benefit from me because I have such great association with other leagues around the world and I can bring that knowledge back to the table - on players, on management, strategy, also on the whole ecosystem of support for players, dressing room management, all those sorts of things are valuable. To be successful in India, you've got to understand India, you've got to understand the culture, you've got to understand the variations between the north and the south, east and west, the way people think and be integrated at some level in that culture. So, for me, that is probably part of my recipe for success," said Gloster, who has been a physio for close to three decades.

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