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Maidens over

Will staying away from the ladies help cricketers win matches? Don’t ask Saqlain

india Updated: Feb 17, 2011 23:36 IST

From tomorrow, when the 2011 cricket World Cup kicks off in Dhaka, till April 2, when we get to know which country is the world champion, the 14 contesting teams will also be honing their off-the-field tactics and strategy to win one match at a time.

Call it discipline or superstition, there will be some coaches who will insist that their players concentrate fully on the job at hand: winning games and moving ahead for the ultimate glory. One standard decree in such big ticket tournaments has been keeping one’s mind off amorous thoughts and activities.

So there will be reminders in dressing rooms and beyond of staying away from wives and girlfriends. Once the relatively tame league games are over and the men are separated from the boys, women who don’t fall under the categories of wives and girlfriends will probably be out of bounds for players. Can the colourful lot handle such enforced brahmacharya-hood for more than a month and a half?

If former Pakistan off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq’s latest revelations are to be taken note of, the chances of cricketing monkhood looks slim. Mushtaq has ‘confessed’ that he had to hide his wife inside a hotel cupboard the night before the final against Australia in the 1999 World Cup in England to avoid disciplinary action.

Mushtaq mentioned that when he was ‘chatting’ with his wife in his room, the Pakistan team manager had come knocking. In the panic that ensued, Mrs Mushtaq was bundled into a cupboard that her hubby locked from outside.

It doesn’t, however, take a Doctor Freud to figure out that with Australia ultimately going on to beat the Pakistanis in the final — and remember, in this match the hormones-friendly Shane Warne took four wickets for 33 runs to claim the man of the match — abstinence may not have been a winning strategy.

But then there will be some punters who will insist that because Mushtaq ‘chatted’ with his wife the night before, the star spinner managed only one wicket in his four overs and handed Australia an eight-wicket victory on the platter.