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A woman's touch for the Aussies

Behind the hugely successful Australian squad is a woman who uses her magical fingers to make the men fighting fit ? massage therapist Lucy Frostick.

india Updated: Nov 10, 2003 11:37 IST

Behind the hugely successful Australian cricket squad is an unassuming woman who uses her magical fingers to make the men fighting fit -- massage therapist Lucy Frostick.

A professional to the core, Frostick has toured with the Australian teams to several countries and also savoured the high feeling of being part of the World Cup winning side in South Africa this year.

Now 35, Frostick says she is fortunate to be part of a close-knit group and will be with them until, at least, June when her contract with the Australian cricket board expires.

So how does a woman manage to cope with a men's team?

Frostick's experience of having worked with several sports teams, particularly in the build up to the 2000 Sydney Olympics, comes in handy while dealing with the cricketers.

"This is different because you are away (from Australia) for extended periods of time, and I just have to say I am fortunate that these group of guys are easy to get on with," Frostick told IANS.

"They are a winning team and a happy team. So that makes my job a lot easier."

Frostick, who belongs to Nathalia in Victoria, struggles for words while describing her feelings of being part of the World Cup-winning side.

"If I cast my back to the World Cup, I suppose I was a little bit like one of these players. I was just happy to be there," she said, sounding modest.

"It was pretty exciting to be there and it wasn't probably until we got down the track that you realised what you are actually involved in."

The feeling, she says, did not sink in until the team reached the West Indies soon after the triumph.

"We went back to Australia for a couple of days and then went to the West Indies for two months, so we didn't really have time to sit back and reflect and bask in the moment too much. Now that it's over, you enjoy it more," she stressed.

Frostick says she is not daunted by the larger-than-life personas that the Australians seem to be.

"I don't find it too overbearing. You take it in your stride. This is a world champion team, but I think they are also a bunch of pretty down to earth guys," she remarked.

"No one gets carried away with their own situation, there's someone always around to bring down to earth if someone is getting too excited about things," she added with a laugh.

Frostick, who has done a two-year diploma in massage therapy, came in contact with the Australian team three years ago while working with a massage clinic in Perth, where Australia played the West Indies.

She says the style of massage for Tests and one-dayers are different.

"For a one-day game, most of the work is done by the time the match starts. There will be an odd, maybe, quick rub before the bowler go into bowl or, maybe, when the boys come off for a bit of assistance with their stretch downs out or warm downs.

"In a Test match, may be on day two or three, if we have bowled, I would work with the bowlers," she Frostick.

"In the preparation phase, which is days before a game, your work tends to be deeper, while during or after a game the work is probably lighter."

Frostick says her work cannot be measured in terms of hours put in.

"Some days the massage hours stretch up to eight hours a day but you have to be ready to go any time," she pointed out.

But she insists it is not a 24-hour job.

"You draw the line. I have at times worked up till 11 p.m. and then there also been instances when I have been up at 6 o'clock in morning. There are times when my body also needs to rest," she said.

Frostick is not the first female massage therapist to be associated with the Australian team. Frostick in not married, has a "partner for a long time, but no kids.

"If I decide to settle down and stop touring, I will still do massage therapy of some sort in my own business," she said.

Then she added after a pause: "Maybe not, it's a long way down the track."