Did Germany win the football World Cup last year because their federation allowed wives and girlfriends to travel with the team? It did have a very positive effect on the outcome but it wasn’t the reason why Germany won the World Cup, coach Joachim Loew said later.
Interesting facts came out after the tournament. Holland, who allowed players to see their partners twice before their thrashing of Spain, went on to finish third while some top teams who preferred the path of restrain fell early. England skipper Steven Gerrard, who played his third World Cup, left his wife Alex Curran — a model and fashion columnist — back home and we all know how England performed in Brazil.
The issue of whether wives and girlfriends should accompany players on long tours has been debated over and over again and coaches or federations who have shown faith in their players and considered them mature, professional individuals have allowed families to be with teams.
But not the BCCI. Only Shikhar Dhawan’s wife, Ayesha Mukherjee, who is a resident of Melbourne, and Stuart Binny’s wife Mayanti Langer, who is part of the official broadcasters’ team, are in Australia but not in the team hotel.
Cricket South Africa and coach Russell Domingo are cool with partners travelling with the team and on Wednesday, when the team took a break from training, Morne Morkel was seen having breakfast with his wife Roz Kelly at a cafe on Flinder’s Street. Later in the evening AB de Villiers posted a photograph having dinner with wife Danielle at a restaurant here on Instagram.
“Look, the amount of time you spend away from home, it can only benefit the players,” Domingo said on Thursday.
“They are all professionals. They all know that when it is training time, it’s training time. But instead of them just going back to their room and thinking about training, thinking about the game, they have got to look after their kids now, and they have got to take their wife out to dinner. So I think it is a good distraction to have if you call it a distraction because it takes your mind off the game,” he said.
“Watching a lot of cricket, thinking a lot about cricket can mentally drain you. So having the family around definitely serves as a way to keep your mind fresh and to not let what’s happened or what’s going to happen drain you too much. So it’s a big positive for us to have them around, no doubt about that,” the 40-year-old said.
Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma went for a walk on the St Kilda beach in the afternoon while the South Africa team trained at the Melbourne Cricket Club. Later in the evening, skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Suresh Raina and Ravindra Jadeja went out for dinner at a Mexican joint in the food court on Flinder’s Street and ordered wraps after which they had fruit juice at the Boost. Their evening was off cricket but with cricketers around, were their minds really off the game with fans asking them for selfies and urging them to win Sunday’s match?
A silly point, or is it simply about playing spoilsport?