Call it superstition if you must, but even the best cricketer is not above a little faith. Indian batting legend Sunil Gavaskar, who was part of the 1983 team that won the World Cup, always wore his left pad and left shoe first. Former Indian cricket captain, Sourav Ganguly, who led India to the finals in the 2003 World Cup, carried a photograph of his guru in his pocket. With just 16 days to go before the 2011 World Cup takes off, we ask players from the current team what their lucky charms are.
All-rounder R Ashwin is not taking any chances at his first World Cup. “I have my lucky laptop bag. I use to for my change of clothes too, during games,” he says. For 22-year-old Piyush Chawla, the strategy for good luck is how he enters the field before a match. “When I go on the field, I always keep my right foot inside the boundary line first. I don’t have any such beliefs, but my father asked me to do so, and so I follow it,” says Chawla.
Though Yuvraj Singh says he does not believe in superstitions, he says he emulates his icon for luck. “Sachin Tendulkar is my icon and as he puts on his left pad first, I have started doing the same.” Yuvi’s mom, Shabnam Singh, says before taking any decision, the cricketer consults his guru in Punjab. “Before taking any decision, he takes consent from Guruji in Punjab. It is difficult to catch him, but he makes it a point to call Guruji and speak to him. He talks for two to three minutes, but that inspires him. He’s been going to him since 2002," she says.
Cricketer Yusuf Pathan says he’s not superstitious but has a lot of faith. “Just before I begin to bat, I close my eyes and think of Allah. I am not superstitious. I only ask Allah to give me some strength. I also make sure that before going on the field, I fulfil whatever my desires are at the moment, whether it’s to eat something or listen to a particular song.”
Cricketer Munaf Patel believes that positive thoughts do the trick for him. “Before entering the field, I keep my thoughts positive, and think about everything good in my life. This helps me play better,” he says.
While bowler Zaheer Khan has a lucky yellow scarf, master blaster Sachin Tendulkar has a lucky pad, which was given to him by his brother. He reportedly makes it a point to wear the pad on his left leg, even if for a short duration, during each match. He also carries a “lucky” bat.
Tendulkar, incidentally, is the lucky charm for the entire 15-member squad. Captain MS Dhoni says, “This is Sachin’s last World Cup and all of us really want to win it for him.” Chawla adds, “Sachin’s legacy inspires all of us to give our best shot, so that we can bring the Cup back home with pride this time.”
Courting Lady Luck
* Australian cricketer Steve Waugh always carried a red handkerchief, gifted by his grandfather
* South African opener Neil McKenzie thought he could not score runs unless the toilet seats were closed and flushed before he left the dressing room
* Sri Lankan opener Sanath Jayasuriya hits his pads with his bat before every ball
* Actor Amitabh Bachchan does not watch live telecast of cricket matches because he thinks his team may lose
* Sachin Tendulkar’s family believe that whenever they see him playing live, he will get off the field early.