Designing your Destiny: Life after Cricket

Designing your Destiny: Life after Cricket

There are two questions I am often asked after meeting new people, and telling them what I do. My answers often cause more confusion than enlightenment to those posing the question.

The first is, “So… Are you a batter or a bowler?”

The answer often furrows brows or brings a look of sympathy.

Wicketkeepers are a mysterious bunch practicing an art not widely understood. We stand inches away from a fully armored gladiator, wielding a wooden weapon, waiting for another to hurl a small rock-like object at us from 22 yards at 90 miles an hour, protected by, in days gone by at least, just a set of oven mitts and shin pads.

A crazy breed indeed.

You need to be brave to be a Keeper, courageous and combative, all the time willing to endure pain and suffering from broken fingers and aching backs.

Hence, the furrowed brows… and look of sympathy.

The other question is, “So… What are you going to do once you finish playing?”

There are two tacks for answering, one the truth and one a generic answer, churned out by all and sundry.

An answer of, “Not sure, haven’t really thought about it”, for some people fits both criteria, truth and convenience. It may well be a thought they do not look forward to considering, but one that is inevitable, and for some, arrives when they least expect it.

For me though, while the answer has changed over the years, I have always known what my next project would be. My answer was always a reflection of what interested me at the time. For now, I am fortunate to have a sideline job, the type every sportsman or woman dreams of. I am designing the equipment I get to use out on the battlefield.

After using AERO Cricket equipment for a few seasons I was approached by them to design the dream batting glove. I had never designed anything before in my life. Sure, I had pulled lots of things apart, not often being able to put them back together, but I had no formal design qualifications.

Where do I begin such a task?

I had been fortunate enough, while studying at the University of Auckland in 2003, to be asked to assist Nike develop their new cricket shoe, the Air Zoom Opener, which was released in 2006, so I had a framework for the process. My degree was in Biomechanics so I had a working knowledge of the relevant anatomy and impact forces that might be involved. Pooling these two streams of knowledge proved to be enough for AERO to take me on initially, and I’ve been designing for them for the last 3 years.

This unique opportunity to be involved and shape the future of this great game, long after I finish playing, has been a great comfort and I believe a great contributor to my success on the field. Safe in the knowledge I have an exciting role post-playing, I have been able to go out and express myself out in the middle.

Yuraj Singh with Aero gearAs mentioned in an earlier piece, the tag ‘unorthodox’ is one that others use to describe my play, designs and thoughts. The freedom to play so ‘extravagantly’ has come from knowing there is a life after cricket, whether it be in design, technical analysis or writing.

After the last few weeks, being involved in the Indian series, I have realized how unique and invaluable it is to be able to tie all these links together. Very few cricket companies contain active elite players, and even fewer use them to design the products they sell. Being a current player certainly opens doors and enhances the products integrity.

Yesterday I attended the Indian Cricket training in Auckland, not to spy on them training, but to meet with the players who were using the AERO thigh pads. Almost two thirds of the team use them now and I wanted to check the sizes etc were ok and if there was any other way I could help. It became a bit frenzied when TVNZ were swamped by a throng of Indian journalists wanting the story, and next thing Venkatesh Prasad, the Indian bowling coach, was asking me if they could have some AERO KPR Legs for their close-in fielders. (Check out

It is such a rare chance to be able to drift between roles as a player, designer and businessman, and it is one I am thriving on.

Who knows what the future holds for the next generation of cricketers. With more and more money entering the ‘Cricket Industry’ maybe cricketers of the future won’t need a career after cricket.

What cannot be forgotten is that only a very small percentage of athletes ever establish themselves in a professional league. Even then your lifespan in many ways is out of your control, and often shorter than childhood dreams will have foreseen. I can only encourage those who have the chance to find another interest or profession along the way, while they strive to achieve their sporting goals.

If it were not for my design work, I would not have the confidence to play my natural game on the field.

And if it were not for my cricket success, I would not have the chance to play test my designs, on some of the best players in the world.

Which poses another question, “So… Where to from here?”
My Zimbio
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It’s a very interesting problem that many cricketers have. Since the profession, in general, is not as lucrative as other sports, elite sportsmen don’t usually make enough in their twenties to retire for the rest of their lives. And frequently, they have very few other marketable skills since they’ve devoted all their time to cricket. So just when their friends are hitting their prime in careers, cricketers can sometimes be lost.

It’s great to see that you are doing well, and it’s something you obviously enjoy. I think cricket journalism is in your future too!

Oh, and you need to make pads that will make me into someone who can actually play. That I’d pay for.

Comment by Manan Shah | 12:00am GMT 25 March 2009

Hi Peter,

Glad to see that you’re thriving in your role with Aero and in the middle as well.

I’ve got a question as much as a comment. Whilst I was at university at Loughborough back in the UK, I worked with the England A Side as part of designing a grading system for cricket bats to take account of the pick up, rather than the standard weight stamp on the shoulder.

I’m currently in New Zealand looking for work, ideally in the Sports Industry. Is it a hard area to break into over here? I’ve been looking all over for adverts and contacts without much success.

Guess I’m a little off topic from your blog, but you’ve got to start somewhere.

Many thanks and best of luck cracking the Indian market. Aero must be pretty happy to have someone on the inside.

Comment by Matt Grimmett | 12:00am GMT 25 March 2009

Glad to see you have something lined up, Peter. As Manan said, the opportunities for cricketers don’t stack up with other sports. In the States, for example, David Beckham models underwear, but he has a celebrity way above most footballers too. I remember reading Jack Charlton’s biography and that he had started studying for the FA coaching badge when only 22 – such foresight is admirable, and I’m sure your chosen sidelines will prove fruitful.

Comment by Dave Wilson | 12:00am GMT 25 March 2009

Hi Matt, That sounds like an interesting project rating pickup as opposed to weight and would be difficult to quantify unless you are looking at centre of percussion or something similar. There are very few opportunities in Sports Industry in NZ due to small market and dependance on offshore equipment brands. There are a handful of different companies manufacturing bats and even fewer producing equipment. Depends a little bit on where around the country you are, part time work may be a good start. I’d recommend offering to do anything from warehouse handling to admin just to get a chance with someone.
Dave- Not all of us have the David Beckham or Dan Carter physique for underwear modelling, so we need to make do with what we were given 🙂

Comment by Peter McGlashan | 12:00am GMT 26 March 2009

Good to see a cricketer not trying to become a TV commentator, although your writing is of a high quality.

Comment by sean | 12:00am GMT 27 March 2009

Hey Peter!
Writing in from India…Saw your innings of 50 odd a few weeks back against us, and I must say that I loved your inventive shots. You seem to be a superstar in the making, at least as far as limited overs cricket is concerned. Hope u have a great career! And would love it too if one of the IPL franchisees sign u up, the crowds here would be thrilled to watch players like you.
Cheers mate.

Comment by Sandy_India | 12:00am GMT 28 March 2009

Good article Peter. Have you tried getting Brendon McCullum to wear your new wicket keeping helmet/mask you have worn?

Comment by Craig | 12:00am GMT 29 March 2009

A very well written article Peter, I appreciate your thoughts on how you are going about managing a life after professional cricket.

Given your tertiary education in Biomechanics, and experience in developing cricket equipment, have you ever used some of that knowledge to analyse the batting techniques of yourself and/or others? If so, did it lead to anything useful?

Comment by Susan H | 12:00am GMT 29 March 2009

Hi All,
Am in the last day of the last game of the season in NZ so have been a little slow in replying.
Susan- In my role as a Keeper I’m often analysing opposition batsmen to work out strengths and weaknesses we can exploit. A lot of that analysis is done using a mixture of my coaching background and biomechanics experiences. You can predict where a player is most likely to hit the ball based on the arc of their downswing or placement of feet and can then set the field accordingly so I guess in that respect I often put my Biomechanics degree to use. Also from my own hitting technique, more so when trying to hit boundaries at the death, I try to maximise bat speed and striking power by thinking about the shot from a kinetic chain point of view.
Craig- Brendon did receive one of the early prototypes before the last T20 world cup, but it was a bit bulky and the foam parts were hand shaped (not particularly well!!) by me only days before they flew out so he never really got a chance to practice with it before the tournament. The new AERO KPR Faces are much lighter and foam parts are machine moulded so are much more comfortable to wear than the butchered parts I made for him 🙂
Thanks for the kind words Sandy, I would love a chance to be involved in the IPL and entertain the massive crowds over in India. Hopefully someone at one of the franchises likes what they saw.

Comment by Peter McGlashan | 12:00am BST 30 March 2009

Pretty interesting. Didn’t know you did that. Nicely done. Wish you success in that.

Comment by Xavier Rose | 12:00am BST 30 March 2009

Hi Pete,

It’s interesting to see you in that picture with that baseball catcher Head gear on. I always thought why don’t Wicket Keepers wear the protection baseball catchers wear.

I myself being a keeper it was interesting to see how the game has evolved. I thought for a moment if this was legally allowed in cricket… :-), After checking the Aero Website i was convivnced..

Nice article.. and keep those reverse switch hits coming…


Comment by Ganesh Venkat | 12:00am BST 31 March 2009

Great read Pete!

Not only do you play professional cricket, but you\’re also involved in another part-time career in cricket!! Some guys have all the luck (and talent!)

Fair play to you Pete, hope the equipment aspect continues to do well, it must certainly be a great advantage with the contacts you\’ll gain through your playing career.

Comment by Woodster | 12:00am BST 1 April 2009

Oh Thanks for sharing the details McG!.

So you are not just a professional cricketer but, also a designer of Cricket equipments. innit?

Are Indians too using Aero products? As we could hardly see an Indian use foreign kits. As we know, Anil Kumble was the only Indian Cricketer of the past 2 decades to use a foreign kit (GM Kit).

I have a liitle suggestion. All the Aero equipments are looking different and cool too. But, the elbow guard and the bat are the worst looking in Aero kits. It will be very nice if the bat is given some good graphics like Puma and Slazenger do. That could attract many players who love the bat designs. The elbow guard resembles a fracture curing bandage. So giving a new style of it makes Aero the best in style too.

Wicket keeper is the best role in the Test Cricket because, you don\’t get bored. At least you get the ball to your hands once in an over. Many fielders stand in the hot sun without even touching the ball for hours.

Comment by Gilly_da_gr8 | 12:00am BST 1 April 2009

Big congrats on the call up Pete!

Comment by Zac | 12:00am BST 7 April 2009

Hey, Peter.
Derek here from the USA.
Cricket’s mainly a game played by Indian ex-pats or of Indian origin and their kids here. But I picked up the game and noticed this guy wearing a black, baseball style catcher’s mask in a T20 match V Sri Lanka. I got a laugh out of it, with Baseball being the big game around here. Just thought I’d say hey!

Comment by Derek | 12:00am BST 16 June 2009

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