Tim Paine with the Wicketkeeping Pro training bat
Some of Australia’s top wicketkeepers have adopted a unique training method many people are still yet to hear about.
It comes from the mind of former Queensland and South Australian ‘keeper Peter Anderson, who has invented a wicket-keeping training bat – The Wicketkeeping Pro – which simulates a ball being nicked.
The bat – utilised in training by the likes of Tim Paine, Alyssa Healy and Alex Carey – has flexible, thin rubber attachments on the side, which protrude outwards to generate a realistic deflection when it comes in contact with a ball.
The Wicketkeeping Pro prototype is a lightweight bat 4.5 inches wide, replicating the width of a standard bat. The rubber extending from the side, emulates the edges on a typical bat.
“I had seen similar products over the years, but they were really were just makeshift,” Anderson said.
“Coaches were using stumps, plastic cones and even standard bats to generate the perfect and realistic catch or nick for the ‘keeper. It was really a hazardous drill for ‘keepers, especially in the pre-helmet days.”
Peter Anderson with his invention
An accomplished wicketkeeper himself, Anderson was heralded as one of the best ‘keepers of his time by fellow gloveman Darren Berry. Touted as a protentional suitor for the Australian Test team, his career was subsequently cut short by a degenerative thumb injury, which he broke ‘keeping to Ian Botham in 1987-88.
Having retired from professional cricket in the 1990s, Anderson has now completed nine years of coaching ICC associate countries in both men’s, women’s and national disability teams. His roles have taken him to Papua New Guinea as national coach, and as head of the Afghanistan Cricket Academy – becoming the first coach to live full time in Afghanistan.
He can also take credit for shaping and developing one of Australia’s greatest wicketkeepers – Ian Healy – training and working alongside with him as he entered the system with Queensland.
“It gives ‘keepers confidence,” Anderson says talking about his invention.
“It reinforces the ability of keeping the head in a still position, which flows onto glove position.”
“It also helps the ‘keeper stay low down in their stance and makes them watch the ball all the way into their gloves.
“For young players it helps give a strong foundation technique for standing over the stumps. And for experience keepers, whether it be at club, state or international level, it helps them move into their rhythm quicker and reinforces technique - especially if they’ve had a dip in form.”
Tim Paine and Alex Carey in training
Anderson first developed the model several years ago which has been adopted by a number of international players and coaches, largely by word of mouth.
Following a training session with Ian Healy’s son, Tom, Healy took the idea to his business partner at the Greg Chappell Cricket Centre which was followed by some limited manufacturing by Gray Nicholls.
Living overseas has its challenges for launching a business but Anderson is hoping to gather some interest from major bat manufacturers to take his product all over the world.
“I do believe there is a good market for it,” he said.
“I believe every coaching kit should carry one and coaches at all levels should have access to the training bat. I’d love to see it reach every cricket playing country in the world and I think it could. I know it would sell, because it works and there isn’t much on the market in coaching aids for wicketkeepers.”
Anderson currently resides in the Cayman Islands and is now in remission after a battle with cancer.