All sportspeople have their pre-match rituals, Rafael Nadal had to decline a meeting with the queen during Wimbledon to not mess with his winning routine. Cricketers are very superstitious about which pad goes on first and which bats and gloves they use but here are 12 of the more individual ones.
1. Every time the South African Neil Mckenzie went out to bat he had to make sure all the toilet seats are down and checked the lights eight times. He was most famous for his habit of taping his bat to the ceiling of the changing room. McKenzie also feared treading on the white lines of the cricket pitch (which must have made batting rather difficult).
2. It was David Shepherd who popularised the practice of keeping one foot off the floor when the score of 111(Nelson) was reached. On 11/11/11 South Africa needed exactly 111 runs to win a Test against Australia. Umpire Ian Gould, and a good part of the crowd, spent that minute hopping on one foot.
3. Virender Sehwag used to wear a number 44 jersey but that wasn’t turning out to be too lucky for him. So after consulting a numerologist, he decided to wear a numberless shirt and since then, the bowlers rarely got to see the back of that jersey.
4. Duck seemed so ominous to Steve James (Glamorgan) that he refused to eat it! He also wouldn’t even let his children have a rubber one to play with in the bath until after his career was over and he had retired when he also finally tried duck.
5. Anil Kumble became the second man to take all 10 wickets in a test innings against Pakistan in 1999. During the match, Kumble got a wicket every time he began by handing over his cap and sweater to Sachin Tendulkar
6. England cricketer Sir Len Hutton always carried a five-shilling coin with himself which was given to him by his grandfather’s friend with recommendation never to part ways with it as it might bring bad luck to his game.
7. For Jack Russell, twenty cups of tea per day was standard. He would dip the tea bag in once, and then hang it on a nail, ready for the next cup. The story goes, in 1989 at The Oval, he used one bag for a whole Ashes Test match. He also likes his Weetabix, soaked in milk for precisely eight minutes.
8. Mark Ramprakash chewed the same piece of gum for the duration of his innings. He batted for long sessions facing ball after ball and top scoring in first class with 301* and reaching 131 centuries (that’s a lot of time per gum). He was known to place his gum on the top of the stumps before heading off for a break, and pop it back in his mouth when he returned.
9. Sourav Ganguly and the photo of his Guruji (spiritual teacher) in his pocket. He always made sure his guru’s photo was in his pocket whenever on the field. He also wore rings and maalas (prayer beads) which he believed were lucky.
10. Steve Waugh one of the most famous Australian captains used a red rag to wipe away some sweat during a Test match against England at Leeds in 1993. He went on to score a hundred and kept it in his pocket when batting for the rest of his career. However Marlon Samuels asked Waugh for a piece but hasn’t scored very much since!
11. Mohammad Azharuddin and his black tabeez. A ball hurled towards his legs usually ended up at the fence. He was brilliant in the field as well and always wore his black tabeez. However, whenever he was batting, he let it hang out of his jersey to bring him better luck.
12. Michael Clarke believes in listening to loud music before going out to bat, saying that it is lucky for him and also helps him concentrate better.