While cricket is known for its complex strategies and gameplay, it’s also recognized for some of its more peculiar practices, one of which involves the players’ habit for chewing gum. Cricket athletes have long been associated with this curious habit.
But why do cricketers chew gum? Is it a mere distraction or an essential part of their pre-game routine? In this blog post, we’ll explore the fascinating world of cricket and delve into the reasons behind the players’ gum-chewing habits.
Reasons for cricketers chewing gum
To increase focus and concentration while playing
One of the primary reasons for cricket players chewing gum is to increase focus and concentration while playing. It can stimulate cognitive functions and help blood circulation to the brain of the player. This improved brain function can help cricketers stay alert and focused during long matches, allowing them to make better decisions and react more quickly to the ball.
To reduce stress and anxiety during high-pressure situations
Amongst various other reasons, cricketers tend to chew gum during matches to reduce stress and anxiety during high-pressure situations. In cricket, players experience moments where they are put under a tremendous amount of pressure to perform well. During these periods, chewing gum can make them calm and help them become more focused.
Chewing gum can also help reduce the cortisol level in the body. This hormone is responsible for stress. Additionally, the repetitive motion of gum chewing can act as a distraction for players, helping them to shift their focus from the pressure of the situation to the physical act of chewing gum.
All these factors combined make gum chewing a useful tool in helping cricketers manage stress and anxiety during high-pressure situations, allowing them to perform at their best.
To keep the mouth moist and prevent dehydration during long matches
Another reason why cricketers chew gum is to keep the mouth moist and prevent dehydration during long matches. Dehydration will cause tiredness and seriously impact the performance of the player.
Chewing gum stimulates the production of saliva, which moistens the mouth and keeps it hydrated. Ultimately, keeping the mouth moist and preventing dehydration is just one aspect of a comprehensive approach to cricket performance, which also includes proper nutrition, hydration, and physical training.
To improve breathing and reduce the likelihood of dry mouth
Another reason to chew gum during matches is to improve breathing and reduce the likelihood of dry mouth. When playing cricket, a player’s heart rate can increase rapidly, which can cause them to breathe irregularly or even hold their breath. Chewing gum can help to regulate breathing and provide an easier airflow to the lungs, allowing players to perform better during intense moments of the game.
Additionally, saliva production can decrease during intense physical activity, leading to dry mouth. By chewing gum, players can stimulate the production of saliva, which can help alleviate dry mouth and improve hydration levels. Ultimately, these benefits can aid in maintaining optimal performance and endurance throughout the entirety of the match.
To help maintain oral hygiene during extended periods of play
Another benefit of chewing gum is that it helps maintain oral hygiene and fresh breath during the match. Since cricket matches can last several hours or even days, players may not have the opportunity to brush their teeth or rinse their mouth regularly. Therefore, chewing gum can reduce the chance of gum diseases.
To alleviate ear pressure during flights and travel to different time zones
One of the common reasons why cricketers may be seen chewing gum during a game is to alleviate ear pressure during flights and travel to different time zones.Changes in air pressure can cause discomfort in the ears. Chewing gum can help unblock the Eustachian tubes, which connect the middle ear to the back of the throat, and promote equalization of pressure between the external and middle ear.
To keep the mouth and jaw active during long periods of inactivity
Between batters waiting to take their turn at the crease, or fielders waiting for a ball to be hit in their direction, there can be long periods of inactivity during a game. To keep their minds and bodies alert during these periods, cricketers have been known to chew gum.
Chewing gum is believed to keep the mouth and jaw active, which can help maintain concentration levels and prevent players from becoming too lethargic.
To satisfy a habit or ritual
Chewing gum has become a widely accepted habit or ritual among many cricketers during matches. Some may speculate that chewing gum helps cricketers to concentrate or alleviate stress.
However, another reason for chewing gum during play is to satisfy a habit or ritual that some players may have developed over time. This is similar to other types of athletes who have their pre-game routines, lucky charms, or superstitions. It may provide a sense of comfort or familiarity for the player and increase their confidence on the field.
While there is no solid scientific evidence linking chewing gum to better performance, if it helps a player to feel more comfortable and focused on the field, then it may have some psychological benefits.
Chewing gum has become a common habit among cricketers as it helps them to focus better, reduce stress, and control anxiety during matches. Additionally, the act of chewing gum also provides a physical stimulant, trains their jaw muscles, and keeps their mouth moist. While research about how gum helps in cricket is limited, the habit has certainly become an integral part of cricket culture. As more players adopt this habit, there could be further studies into how it benefits cricket performance.
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