Nothing brings out the believer in you like a cricket match. You could be Richard Dawkins for all the good it does you, but if you follow cricket long enough to develop an interest (read: obsession) in the game, then sooner or later you are going to be reduced to a quivering mess of nerves and obsessive compulsion. All manner of otherwise mundane things become filled with cosmic portent and are able somehow to determine the outcome of a match. And if it can get as bad as that for the average cricket fan, imagine the paroxysms players suffer through.

Here then are seven* superstitions you can expect to see employed at the World Cup, a platform that will inflame our most outlandish neuroses:

Left first, then right
Something a lot of batsmen do before going out to face the ball. But that's not all that batsmen do in that particular order. Some have been known to be particular about brushing their teeth from left to right. Others make a point of touching the left shoulder and then the right while dancing the Macarena, patting the left and then the right cheek of a team-mate's buttocks in celebration, and in Dave Warner's case, punching an opposing player with the left hand and only then with the right.

Unlucky numbers
English players have an abiding fear of the Nelson, so much so that many hotels and dressing rooms in the country don't have a 111th floor. Australians, for reasons known only to them, hate the number 87, while Bangladeshis prefer not to deal with any number above 200, especially while batting second.

Staring at the sun
Some Indian batsmen like to look up at the sun as they are making their way out to the middle. Apparently this goes back to an ancient belief that blinding yourself before starting an innings gives you as good an excuse as any for failing yet again against fast bowling on pace-friendly pitches.

Not getting up from your seat
South Africa have apparently already petitioned a few hardy souls in their dressing room who had remained seated for the duration of that innings by AB de Villiers against West Indies recently to continue to remain seated until the World Cup concludes, presumably in a South African win. The people in question, whose glutei maximi are apparently made of sterner stuff than most, include a hapless mental conditioning coach and a massage therapist who have been airlifted from the stadium still in their seats to a special holding room, where they are being monitored 24/7 until the end of the World Cup to make sure they don't get up, or that if they do have to get up, they do so with their seats still stuck to them.

Carrying some kind of filthy rag in your pocket
Ostensibly to wipe sweat, some cricketers, paralysed by superstition, choose to carry forevermore the same rancid piece of cloth with them for good luck. This particular talisman was popularised by Steve Waugh before being retired for good by Sreesanth.

Being overly affectionate with balls, etc
While Mahela Jayawardene has been known to impart loving kisses and whisper sweet-nothings to his bat during the course of an innings, Lasith Malinga is well known for kissing the ball before each delivery. Incidentally, the number of Sri Lankan fielders who have developed the curious superstition of squeezing hand-sanitising gel onto their hands for good luck during the course of a game has risen correspondingly with Malinga's habit of kissing the ball for good luck.

Good-luck charms
Some England players used to bring lucky jelly beans onto the ground, a superstition shared by Rahul Dravid, who was known to carry sweets in his pocket as well for luck. And then there was Michael Atherton, who liked to bring a pocket of lucky sand on to the ground to give the ball a lucky scrub, and Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis, who put their faith in the magic of lucky bottle caps. What esoteric items will we see brought onto the field at this World Cup? Stay tuned to find out.

*The number eight is considered an unlucky number in my neck of the woods. Thanks for bearing with me.

R Rajkumar tweets @roundarmraj