Game for a quick match?

Game for a quick match?

Game for a quick match?

enjoying Indian cricketers playing football. dh photo by Srikanta Sharma R

Gone are the days when cricketers ran a bit to warm up before plunging straightaway into the game. The term ‘cricket practice’ is now all about fitness. Cricketers play a few minutes of football, rugby or tap ball before they play cricket.

Besides fitness, these sessions also build team spirit, camaraderie and encourage a certain amount of bonding among the team mates. Metrolife spoke to a few former cricketers and people associated with the game to find out how these sessions have become a huge hit with the players.  After a quick run and some mild stretches, the players settle down to a friendly game of football where they sometimes even tease each other while tackling the ball and even push in a fun way.

“Games like these get the players into the spirit of the game. It’s a ten minute activity where the players share their little jokes too when playing, laugh a lot before settling down to serious cricketing,” said Sujith, a former cricketer.

Mamatha Maben, former captain of the Indian Women’s Cricket Team says these warm up games were introduced less than 10 years ago. Research has proved that these games help loosen up and lighten the body.

“Earlier we used to just run around the field, do some stretches and then get on with cricketing. Now these ten or fifteen minute games such as football, rugby... help activate the brain and act as a wake up call,” observes Mamatha.

She also points out that these games have a flip side as well. “These games have direct contact with the body when you run and bend and sometimes the chances of injury are high. So the players have to be very careful,” she adds.

Dodda Ganesh, a former Indian test cricketer, observes that these games are a sort of morale booster.

“They motivate the players and instill a competitive spirit in them. Games like football and rugby are always played during practice sessions and never played on the day of the match, lest the players injure themselves. But they make sure they play at least one round of football on the eve of a big match,” he avers.