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Luck plays a large part in cricket

08:30 29 May 2014

San Miguel .... purely because of superstition!

San Miguel .... purely because of superstition!

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Ilford Catholic CC latest blog by B Lucky

Luck plays a large part in cricket – no matter how good, or bad, you are.

In fact luck or fate doesn’t really care if you are Yuvraj Singh or an occasional club cricketer.

A dodgy bounce or a bad umpiring decision can leave you trudging back to the Long Room (or the park pavilion) at any stage of the game.

It’s no surprise then that superstition plays such a big role amongst cricketers. Specific routines, favourite items of kit or particular habits – it’s all there.

For example one of our recent recruits has to drink a bottle of “lucky” San Miguel before batting. In fact he is so superstitious he also has to have a few more during the game and some after too.

Other players have admitted to similar routines including eating a fun size mars bar before a game and replaying the first 30 seconds of the 1987 hit “Respectable” by Mel and Kim in their head as the bowler runs up to bowl.

And it’s not just individuals. If the team is doing well when batting everyone watching the game must sit in the same place, on the captain’s orders. Even if they can’t even see the game – they are not allowed to move, as it would be bad luck.

The good news is it is not just local club players that are susceptible to irrational routines – superstition in cricket occurs at the highest level.

On the international stage it gets worse. Here are just a few examples of irrational internationals;

- Neil McKenzie, the South African batsman, once scored a century after his teammates taped his bat to the ceiling as a practical joke. After that day he started doing it himself before each time he went to bat. But it didn’t stop there for Neil. He also insisted that all the toilet seats in the pavilion were down and flushed when he batted and would check before going to the middle.

- When 1950’s England bowler John James Warr was desperate to take wickets, he used to run into the pavilion and stroke the belly of a stuffed koala bear that had been presented to the team. Did it work? Well….no. He ended up with the worst average by an English bowler with one wicket at 281.

- When Zimbabweans Grant Flower and Mark Dekker would go to bat together, one would say “I hope you get hit on the head” to which the reply would be “same to you”. Every time. Guess this is the cricket equivalent of the acting profession’s “break a leg”.

You might think these guys are just some eccentric examples but the games greats such as Sachin Tendulkar and Steve Waugh also had their own routines.

Sachin Tendulkar always put on his left pad first when going out to bat whereas Waugh kept a red rag in his pocket when batting, after he scored a century with it in his pocket in 1993.

The reasons for this are fairly simple. In any cricket situation, players will do their small bit to influence the outcome of the next delivery as the game is not something you can predict or control. For sure skill plays a part, but there is a high degree of luck.

Therefore cricketers tend to lean on superstition as a crutch as they cannot accept the terrible truth that their whole day is governed by an unpredictable movement of the ball, a bad umpiring decision or the random toss of a coin.

So when one of your team mates starts acting strangely – cut him some slack, at least he is not taping his bat to the ceiling or rubbing a teddy bear in the changing rooms.

Ilford Catholic run three sides in the Herts and Essex Cricket League. If you would like to play league or friendly cricket in the local area email iccc2011@hotmail.co.uk to find out more.

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