Food, fluids for cricketers Budding cricketers are impressionable

Food & fluids for cricketers

How does a cricketer achieve an optimal level of performance?

It is certain that he will come close to achieving this objective if he 'fuels' his body with the right kind of food and fluids. In other words, players will require a little more than just balance food. This is where the player has to choose between just balance food, supplements or just vitamins and minerals.

Budding cricketers are impressionable people. They consume whatever their teammates or having or whatever their idol might be having. It is also possible that a good salesperson might entice them to purchase a particular body-supplement, and the players may agree without looking into the finer details.

However, it is very important that a cricketer in his formative 'make-or-break' years knows what his diet should be. He should be well aware of the number of calories he should ideally consume, what type of supplements or vitamins he should be taking and what he should consume when. All this is decided on the basis of factors like the cricketer's age, weight, height, body fat, body mass index and the environment he will be playing in. A proper diet can be prescribed after taking into account the cricketer's medical and hereditary history.

Professional advice from a nutrition specialist or a qualified sports personal fitness trainer always helps.

For instance, a cricketer whose family has a history of cardiac problems and high cholesterol should not be put on a fatty carbohydrate-based diet. Players who have an acidity affliction need to keep tabs on what they eat for breakfast prior to the game and between the game. I remember treating a cricketer who had a problem with a supplement. He had procured this 'carbo' drink from overseas and had been taking it for quite a while to improve his endurance on match-days. The results seemed to be good.

It so happened that during a match played in extreme heat, he was stricken by diarrhea and vomited profusely. He also caught a cold. He kept taking this 'carbo' drink during the game, hoping to strengthen himself. Out of the blue, he had severe spasms and his abdomen cramped badly. The cause - an overdose of carbs on a dehydrated stomach. Dr. Aijaz and I, who were the officials at the game, suggested 'hydrating' him first with an electrolyte drink or Gatorade to energise him.

Benefits of a healthy diet:

1. A healthy diet enhances the overall performance of an athlete.

2. Cricket being a low impact, stop-and-go kind of endurance sport, balanced nutrition will sustain the energy levels of each player in team

3. An intake of proper fluids and carbs the night before the match will keep the player 'fuelled'. A protein diet after the game will help in the healing of muscles, cells and tissues.

Proper nutrition will keep a player physically and mentally fit. It will improve his focus, attention span, and reflexes. He will be able to avoid injury, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, coronary heart diseases, obesity, side-effects of supplements on the kidneys, liver etc., and certain types of cancers; e.g. skin cancer caused by extreme heat and direct exposure to sun-rays, testosterone cancer in cyclists, etc.