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Don't retire, be clever

Too many players are quitting Tests to extend their career. Not cool. Here are a dozen ways to keep your whites while being injury- and stress-free

Nishi Narayanan

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Brett Lee jumps for joy after bowling Herschelle Gibbs, South Africa v Australia, 1st Test, Cape Town, March 17, 2006
The hip-twist: not the secret of Brett Lee's longevity, then © Getty Images
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Kick it old school. Or rather, don't kick it at all. Be gentlemanly and shake hands to celebrate a wicket. Fewer ridiculously high leaps and Brett Lee would have had a hope of making it to the 2013 Ashes squad.

Get a runner whenever you can. If Arjuna Ranatunga could, when he felt a touch out of breath, so can you. If you have scored a century, reward yourself by skipping the fielding, like Tendulkar and Ganguly have done. In fact, put a clause in your contract saying you will.

When in Bangladesh, field in the deep. Fewer boundaries equals less running equals longer leg life.

Excuse yourself from tours to New Zealand. Yes, we know it's really pretty there but it's just too far from most parts of the rest of the world. If Steve Waugh could get deep-vein thrombosis on long-haul flights, you have no chance. Also, sheep don't make good scouts for the IPL.

Avoid playing in South Africa. The rarified atmosphere of the highveldt will leave your lungs as overworked as Kamran Akmal's slip fielders.

Get rid of any heavy bats you may have and thoughts of any slogged sixes you may want to hit with them. They spell death for your back. Grind out your runs with a bat that weighs no more Justin Langer and you'll live to see your 100th Test. With most young players skipping Tests to get straight to the IPL, you'll have a career as long as Wilfred Rhodes'.

Learn to spot the yorker and get out of the way. It's all very impressive when batsmen "dig one out" or even "charge out of the crease to hit it for a six" but there's always a chance you could lose a toe, or at least stub it real bad. So watch the bowler's hand and back away outside leg.

Do not miss series against Pakistan, for you'll get to play them at home when ostensibly playing them away. Ergo, less travel.

Stop playing football during training and avoid the embarrassment of having reporters earnestly ask which of your butt cheeks sustained an injury.

Give your eyes some rest as well and stop watching endless videos of your dismissals, the opposition's weakest link, or the latest episodes of The Real Housewives. Take the slices of cucumber out of those tea sandwiches and put them on the bags under your eyes. While you're at it, beware the finger cramps that come from overzealous updating of Facebook pages or from attempting to beat your team-mate's Twitter following.

Drink vegetable juice during the post-match celebrations. If Andrew Flintoff, Andrew Symonds or Jesse Ryder ask you to make a night of it, step away slowly, avoiding eye contact, mumble a polite "No thanks" and scoot.

Don't just get into a hyperbaric chamber for injury recovery. Move into one.

Nishi Narayanan is a staff writer at Cricinfo

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Nishi Narayanan
Staff writer Nishi studied journalism because she didn't want to study at all. As she spent most of the time at j-school stationed in front of the TV watching cricket her placement officer had no choice but to send out a desperate plea to the editor of ESPNcricinfo to hire her. Though some of the senior staff was suspicious at that a diploma in journalism was the worst thing that could happen to ESPNcricinfo and she did nothing to allay them, she continues to log in everyday and do her two bits for cricket.

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Staff writer Nishi studied journalism because she didn't want to study at all. As she spent most of the time at j-school stationed in front of the TV watching cricket her placement officer had no choice but to send out a desperate plea to the editor of ESPNcricinfo to hire her. Though some of the senior staff was suspicious at that a diploma in journalism was the worst thing that could happen to ESPNcricinfo and she did nothing to allay them, she continues to log in everyday and do her two bits for cricket.
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