Beneath all their pumped up torso and gnarled pro makeovers, sportsmen, some of the legends, are predominantly superstitious. Not that they are governed by these rather irrational forces, or so for the pragmatists, but they believe these forces can impact their fortunes.
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Michael Jordan (a graduate of North Carolina) always wore his blue North Carolina shorts under his Bulls uniform to usher in luck. He may or may not have embraced glory without this, but he reckons otherwise.
Likewise, Steve Waugh used to carry a red handkerchief in his left pocket, which was given to him by his late grandfather. Pakistan cricketer Imran Khan wore a tiger T-shirt in the finals of `92 World Cup.
Wade Anthony Boggs, former Boston Red Sox baseman, would eat only chicken the day of a game. Tennis great Bjorn Borg would grow out his beard on days leading up to Wimbledon (is there any picture without his stubble?).
Tennis star Serena Williams blamed her failure to win French Open 2007 because she didn`t tie her laces right and didn`t bounce the ball five times and didn`t bring her shower sandals to the court with her.
Sports and superstitions always go hand in hand. When it comes to sportsmen, just a long and hard training session is not enough as luck plays a crucial part.
Indian cricketers aren’t any different. Even though blessed with the presence of World’s highest run-scorer or one of the best, the current world champions relied heavily on superstitious, which would enhance the team’s chances of winning.
For Indian skipper, it is number 7. It brought good luck (and now glory) for MS Dhoni as he wears number 7 on the back of his shirt both on his India blue as well as CSK yellow. Guess what, he was born on July 7 in 1981, that’s 7-7-81.
Master blaster Sachin Tendulkar always wears his left pad first before the start of any game. His family keeps away from watching TV when he is batting.
Yuvraj Singh wears number 12 to match his birthday, December 12. He also sports a black thread - believed to ward off evil spirits - on his wrist.
Virender Sehwag always carries a red handkerchief in his left pocket. During the World Cup 2011, Viru, on the advice from numerologists, sported a numberless jersey throughout the tournament.
Harbhajan Singh bends forward and prays whenever he comes on to bowl in a match.
It was a yellow handkerchief that did the trick for paceman Zaheer Khan. He keeps his lucky charm with him in every crucial match.
With the kind of talent we posses - a batting line-up capable of dismantling any bowling attack in the world - we still seek that lucky charm.
Possible reasons: It eases pressure and gives confidence, without which putting up a fight with the opposition in the competition wouldn’t be possible, let alone winning.
Secondly, it helps the sportsperson lower his anxiety level thus helping him perform better. The question is do luck play a role in a game or what role do luck play? In the end what matters is win or lose.
First Published: 11/5/2011 5:34:32 PM