Cricketers all around the world have different techniques and their own unique ways to go about in a match.
Cricket is a game of small margins. More often than not, cricketers develop their own superstitions and idiosyncrasies that help them get over the line. Call them habits, superstitions, idiosyncrasies or what you may, but individual quirks are a part of the team game that is cricket.
Often what cricketers do on the field is a part of muscle-memory, as scientists call it. These unique on-field actions make cricketers more endearing to the audience who try and emulate them.
From Virat Kholi’s iconic bat twirl to MS Dhoni’s repeated strapping of the gloves, we have compiled a list of five such cricketers and their unique on-field habits that have often gone unnoticed.
Five world-class cricketers and their unique on-field habits:
#5: MS Dhoni and his strapping of the gloves
Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the most successful captain in Indian cricket history, is known for a few idiosyncrasies that the cricketer's fans have become accustomed to over the years.
Whenever MS Dhoni steps onto a cricket field, he plants his right leg first, looks behind to his left and towards the sky, as if having one little last chat with the Almighty before taking the bowlers to the cleaners.
One of his most iconic habit is strapping his gloves repeatedly. Whenever MS Dhoni hits a four or a six, he walks down the pitch like a tiger, with his blade tucked in his arm, and then removes the strap of both his gloves before strapping them back on.
An extension of his habit involves the Ranchi-born cricketer's waiting for the bowler to get back to his run-up. Dhoni then quietly looks around the field, raises both his arms and uses his thumb to sort something under the lid (helmet) while simultaneously adjusting his sleeves.
#4: Virat Kohli and his bat twirl
Virat Kohli, the Indian skipper might have inspired an entire generation of youngsters to flamboyantly twirl the bat in their hands. Kohli is one of the few international cricketers who have excelled in all three formats of the game.
Since his debut as an international cricketer, Kohli has been known to walk out to the middle with a fiery, positive body language, a wristband and a twirl of his bat. Nearly after every delivery before he goes back to his stance, Kohli raises his bat in the direction of the slip and very nonchalantly twirls it.
Virat Kohli is known to wear his heart on his sleeve, and the bat twirl is an extension of his typical West Delhi boy swag.
#3: Steve Smith and his unique mannerism
One of the best modern day cricketers, especially in the Test arena, former Australian captain Steve Smith has some of the most unique mannerisms. His stance and shuffling in the crease aside, Steve Smith has a very intricate process that gets him in the groove before he faces any delivery.
The Australian, after arriving at the crease, lifts up both his legs one after the other, left leg first and then the right before he gets into his stride. In doing so, Smith touches the pad with his right hand first and then his helmet.
While the bowler steams in to bowl, Steve Smith taps his bat twice, swings it up and down in a rather jerky movement, ducks around and then shuffles across before he meets the ball. Smith is one of the few international cricketers who have excelled despite possessing a 'complicated' batting technique.
While his leg is in the air, he touches his pad with his right hand. Then, he taps his bat twice, swings it up and down in the air, and follows up with another two or three taps. He ducks slightly, twice to be precise, and shuffles across to his right before hitting the ball.
Smith does this ritual before every ball he faces. His shuffling across invites the bowlers to stray down the leg side in the hope of getting him out LBW out. However, such is his hand-eye co-ordination that he rarely gets out in that manner.
Ishant Sharma during Australia's tour of India in 2017 became so fed up of Smith's mannerisms that he tried to mock the latter. Eventually, that became a meme trend.
#2: Virender Sehwag and his red handkerchief
Virender Sehwag, renowned for his belligerent hitting, was one of the few international cricketers who made a name for himself despite not possessing a textbook batting technique. The Delhi-born cricketer instead relied on his incredible hand-eye coordination that served him well in international cricket.
The red handkerchief peeping out of Virender Sehwag's left pocket before dismissing the ball to the boundary is one of the earliest memories of any cricket fan that has seen the Delhi player during his heydays.
Virender Sehwag, like MS Dhoni, also used to keep his right leg first while entering the cricket field.
The explosive former Indian opener also had a superstition about not having any jersey number on his back when he played. He believed in numerology and every time he stepped out on to the field, he would walk with only his name on the back of his jersey.
Sehwag was known for singing and whistling while batting, and one of the reason why he smashed every great bowler around the park was his easy-going attitude.
#1: Sachin Tendulkar
Of all the players mentioned in this list, Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar was known for a plethora of habits that other cricketers who have played with him have mentioned over the years.
Sachin Tendulkar, an iconic cricketer in his own right, made it a point to strap on his left pad first whenever he went out to bat in the middle. Tendulkar also had a habit of ducking a little to adjust his cricket gear. The Mumbai-born lad did this quite often, almost before every delivery that he faced.
Tendulkar might have been a composed cricketer during his 24-year long playing career but he was incredibly fussy about his cricketing kit; Tendulkar did not like anybody touching his cricket kit.
Moreover, after playing a delivery, he used to walk down the track and tap the area of the pitch where the ball was bowled. Tendulkar used to rotate his shoulder at times just before making contact with the ball; he did this when the bowler was in his run-up.
It is also said that Sachin Tendulkar kept his teammates rooted to their spots if a colleague was doing well out in the middle.