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Want to live long? Play Test cricket

Researchers at the University of St Andrews have found that the more number of Tests a cricketer played, the longer he is likely to live. Sir Don Bradman is the best example. Vijay Dutt reports.

books Updated: Apr 11, 2008 01:05 IST
Vijay Dutt

Test cricket is the secret to longer lives, so play on. That’s what researchers at the University of St Andrews found while studying whether occupational success influenced longevity among Test cricketers in England.

Researchers found that the more number of Tests a cricketer played, the longer he is likely to live. Sir Don Bradman is the best example of such success and, hence, a long life.

It also means that top Indian Test cricketers, like Sachin Tendulakar, Sunil Gavaskar, Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble, Sourav Ganguly and Kapil Dev, can expect long and healthy lives ahead.

Professor Paul Boyle, a health geographer, found that a longer life was associated with a higher number of matches.

“We already know much about the relationship between occupational circumstances and mortality – those in lower social or occupational classes have shorter life expectancies,” said Boyle.

The researcher analysed the lifespan of 418 cricketers, born between 1827 and 1941, who played for the England Test team. Sixty-nine of these cricketers were living when the study was conducted.

Data on English Test cricketers distinguishes between amateur ‘gentlemen’ — those from privileged backgrounds and who lived longer — and professional ‘players’, who came from the working class and had shorter longevity.

The results showed that ‘amateur gentlemen’ cricketers who played in several Tests lived for 79.3 years on an average while ‘professional players’, who played in only a few Tests, lived for an average of 71.5 years.