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Sue de Groot

Sex please, we're batting

Will the ladies who helped South Africa make 438 a few years ago please come back?

Sue de Groot

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James Anderson and Stuart Broad share a joke, Dambulla, October 6, 2007
Broad and Anderson: shouldn't have too many problems if England gets a sex dossier of their own © AFP
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Some years ago I remember reading that FIFA World Cup footballers were told by their coaches not to have sex before an important match. Apparently lack of action in bed focused their attention on the field, or sent the energy flowing to their feet, or some such sundried-tomato theory. Now cricketers, it appears, work in opposite ways. Gary Kirsten and Paddy Upton (apparently his real name) made headline news last week with their injunction to the Indian team to get some before a game, allegedly in order to raise their levels of testosterone.

The news that sex improves cricket, if true, may have come too late for some. Sadly we will never know whether Sir Donald Bradman, had he been a bad man, would have been rewarded with those elusive few fractions of a percentage point.

The theory is in its infancy, of course, but one surmises that if this works for the Indians, other teams will follow suit, though hopefully they will also heed the wise advice of Professor Tim Noakes, who pointed out that while a good bout of rumpy-pumpy might be beneficial if followed by a long, sound sleep, hanging around in bars till all hours trying to find a willing subject is likely to have an adverse effect on performance.

Watching my home team get eliminated from the ICC at the hands of England last night made me wonder whether this latest piece of cricket lore might be in any way to blame. Did the English take Upton and Kirsten's instructions to heart, and did following it give them an advantage? Someone with the pre-Raphaelite good looks of Stuart Broad or the tousled cuddliness of Jimmy Anderson wouldn't have had much of a problem finding a participant. Could this have enhanced their already not inconsiderable bowling skills? Collingwood and Onions might have had more difficulty, unless they told the girls their names were Smith and Jones, but even they put up a sound show.

Which brings me to my next question: does a team's collective performance rest on the cumulative level of satisfaction experienced by the individuals in a side? Does some sort of critical-mass theory come into play, where the amount of good sex had by one team is weighed against that had by the other?

 
 
Just imagine it: a flotilla of beautiful women sent by unscrupulous nations to lure their rivals to their doom - letting them down at a crucial moment, or worse, making them feel inadequate
 

If so, the South Africans may need to brush up on their chatting skills. Although they put up a good fight, particularly our gutsy captain with cramp, the early dismissal of some of our finest hitters makes me wonder, since we're pursuing this line of inquiry, whether these players neglected to get their greens, or whether their state of play is perhaps related to their prowess elsewhere. Is it the quality rather than the quantity of sex that makes a difference at the crease? Is a premature exit from the field indicative of anything other than bad light or good bowling by the other side? I hope not, because if this is in any way proved, it opens the door to a dirty-tricks campaign not seen since the incident of the laxative-laced lemon meringue pie.

Just imagine it: a flotilla of beautiful women sent by unscrupulous nations to lure their rivals to their doom - letting them down at a crucial moment, or worse, making them feel inadequate - a fate made all the more excruciating by the fact that these players had been encouraged by their superiors to commit such acts. It's an awful thought.

We have to hope that no self-respecting female cricket fan would stoop so low. There are limits to what one will do for one's national team, or there should be. That said, whoever the skilled damsels were who helped South Africa to their historic 438-for-9 win over Australia in 2006, please would they come back?

RSS FeedSue de Groot is a Johannesburg-based journalist, columnist and television scriptwriter

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Sue de Groot is a Johannesburg-based journalist, columnist and television scriptwriter. Formerly managing editor of men's magazine Directions, features writer for Femina and assistant editor of Cosmopolitan, she is now features editor of Food & Home Entertaining. She wrote the "Wicket Maiden" column for the Wisden Cricketer SA until that magazine's sad demise, and tries to restrict herself to writing about life's six highest pleasures: food, gardening, books, films, cats and cricket.

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Sue de Groot Sue de Groot is a Johannesburg-based journalist, columnist and television scriptwriter. Formerly managing editor of men's magazine Directions, features writer for Femina and assistant editor of Cosmopolitan, she is now features editor of Food & Home Entertaining. She wrote the "Wicket Maiden" column for the Wisden Cricketer SA until that magazine's sad demise, and tries to restrict herself to writing about life's six highest pleasures: food, gardening, books, films, cats and cricket.
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