More sex please – we're cricketers, says coach

India's one-day side have a bold new strategy for success. But will getting busy in the bedroom really give them an edge in the Champions Trophy?
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The Independent Online

The Champions Trophy was aroused by a bit of the other yesterday. India's players were advised by their South African coach to have more sex to improve performances on the field.

In a leaked document, which immediately enlivened a tournament struggling to retain its place in the world, Gary Kirsten told his charges what was good for them and he was talking about what goes on between the sheets, not in the nets.

Although copies of the privately circulated four-part vision statement were hard to obtain, its contents had become common knowledge. Leading cricketers from around the globe could be seen walking round with broad smiles sweeping across their faces. What was good for Indians was obviously good for them.

Kirsten addressed what is a serious issue in a document produced with the India team's mental conditioning expert, Paddy Upton. But if it got out he might have known that it would produce a "nudge, nudge, know what I mean squire" reaction. The document touches on topics as diverse as diet, spiritual intelligence and India's history in wars. But it is the section headed "Does sex improve performance?" that has attracted all the attention.

To which the answer is immediately given: "Yes, it does so go ahead and indulge. From a physiological perspective, having sex increases testosterone levels, which cause an increase in strength, energy, aggression and competitiveness. Conversely, not having sex for a period of a few months causes a significant drop in testosterone levels in both males and females, with the corresponding passiveness and decrease in aggression."

Cricketers are away from home for months on end yet whenever wives and girlfriends join a tour there is often a sniffy reaction. Dalliances are not entirely unknown but players who might assume they have now been given a free rein were also issued with another scenario by Kirsten and Upton.

"If you want sex but do not have someone to share it with, one option is to go solo whilst imagining you have a partner, or a few partners, who are as beautiful as you wish to imagine," says their document. "No pillow talk and no hugging required. Just roll over and go to sleep."

Both Andrew Strauss, captain of England, and Ricky Ponting, captain of Australia, were slightly bewildered by their female inquisitor when she asked about sexual habits and whether they would form part of a vision document. Ponting said he was blushing.

Graeme Swann, the sprightly England bowler, was much more supportive. "That is the sort of forward thinking that I think the game requires," he said. "I assume it's not within the team, I assume other parties are involved. It could be one for the ICC if they really want to make it more exciting, fly in the wives and girlfriends or other parties to really improve the standard of cricket."

For those players who are thinking of abstinence, however, the document is bad news. Celibacy can diminish performance. "You may experience that your mind spends more time focusing on the fire in your groin than on good sport practice, preparation and sleep," said the dossier. The Champions Trophy will never be the same.

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