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Nail Biting Cricketers!

by Bored Guest

One of the most popular pastimes on a cricket field is ‘nail-chewing’ or ‘nail-biting’. After ‘spitting’ it surely is the most popular pastime on the field!

Amazing that -- in a [so-called] gentleman’s sport – these guys are allowed to do it and get away with it?! Why no fines here??

Let’s analyze this somewhat:

So, what are they really doing:  Is it just nervousness? Are these fellows always too tense and is that why they are chewing their fingernails? Is it a lack of calcium in their bodies or is it just a way to recycle calcium?


Are they still in a ‘teething’ state, where they desperately need to gnaw on things, just as little pups do when they grow up?

I mean, it doesn’t have to be the nails -- it can be the cricket ball itself!

Shahid Afridi can show you how that’s best done.

Now, if gnawing the ball is called “ball tampering”, why shouldn’t the prior, be referred to as “finger tampering”? In an abstract fashion, one may ask, does it lead to any particular advantage for the team with the highest percentage of chewed up nails?

Without complicating the issue, let me address what’s more obvious:

Weren’t these guys ever taught at home not to chew on their finger nails? This, well before they were let onto the cricket field, exposed to the cameras and a world-wide audience of children. Is that what our child viewers are meant to emulate [while learning more about cricket]?

Shah Rukh Khan (the poor Bollywood Filmstar with a nicotine addiction!) was banned from smoking in public, last exposed at an IPL cricket match on 21st April, 2009, simply because the cameramen (Nimbus or Neo… whichever?!) couldn’t keep his camera pointed towards the playing field. The reason I bring up smoking is because it is almost as bad an addiction as chewing on nails (ask a psychologist!).

In a day and age of greater consciousness about ‘addictions’, we do have to be careful what we expose our societies to:
  1. Drug misuse & addiction (Floyd Landis, Cycling, UCI & Shoaib Akhtar)
  2. Sex addiction (Tiger Woods, Golf, PGA & Shane Warne)
  3. Nail biting addiction (LeBron Raymone James, Basketball, NBA & Harbhajan Singh)

Fact remains, nails are not just bitten during “nail biting finishes” (like the latest 1-ball win of India against South Africa in the 1-day international at Jaipur on 21st February 2010) but it is a rampant habit, an addiction that is an integral part of any cricket game on TV today. Some clinical psychologists even call it “a form of cannibalism and a sign of low self esteem”. Wikipedia states that “Onychophagia or nail biting is a common oral compulsive habit in children and adults, affecting around 30% of children between 7 to 10 years and 45% of teenagers” but what about ‘adults’ that are not teenagers anymore? That quoted, is there reason enough for yet another aspect of training/ coaching to come into play? Must India’s Cricket Coach Gary Kirsten concentrate on this aspect, too?

In the meanwhile, do watch reality unfold on TV for yourself, look out for:
  • Harbhajan (Bhajji) Singh, standing at deep mid on and chewing away to glory.
  • Graeme Smith, standing at first slip and chewing away, nervously.
  • Daniel Vettori, biting his nails almost anywhere on the field.
  • Even Virendar Sehwag, Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar are often seen with their fingers in their mouths, whilst standing in the slip cordon.

Here’s a case in point, as to how desperate [and deplorable] this habit/ addiction can get:

I hear that our own champion, pseudo sardar ‘Bhajji ‘ (Harbhajan Singh) had at one stage chewed off so much of his finger nails that none were left to chew. So, quite desperate to chew on a nail, he was caught on camera chewing on his toe nails doing one of the flexibility exercises for his back and upper thighs in the warm-up area of a cricket stadium -- you can’t beat that!

(The picture in now unavailable for us, as it was pulled off the net by concerned authorities!)

Where are we getting to?

Are these our heroes of today…  our role models?

We’re not letting anyone off the hook here… I’ll write about ‘spitting on the field’ some other day!

by Ajoy Eric Lal
When I’m watching cricket, I’m not just watching the game but also thinking about all that is subtly happening on and off the field. It’s a kind of analysis Sunil Gavaskar, Ravi Shastri and Harsha Bhogle wouldn’t dare undertake!


straight point said...

nail biting is directly proportional to the opposition chances in the middle... :)

Anil Singh said...

Brilliant !

Sujan Rao said...

Crazy stuff dude !

Didn't imagine these things have existed till you wrote !

Ragssssss said...

I am hatke....

I have long hair. I eat my hair!!