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It is no longer a mystery why various famous athletes use chewing gum during sports. Many studies have proven that chewing gum has benefits for athletes, especially in a game like cricket where one run and a keen eye on the ball are essential aspects of the game. Famous players like Viv Richards, Ricky Ponting, and Virat Kohli are seen eating chewing gum, on the other hand, sports legends like Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid are seen avoiding the use of chewing gum.
In this article, we are going to know the exact advantages and disadvantages of eating chewing gum.
Why do Cricketers Chew Bubble Gum on the Field?
Chewing gum helps the athletes feel calm and relaxed. It is also proven to help athletes keep patience and consistent calmness during play. The chewing gum increases the production of saliva which makes athletes thirsty and thus prompts them to stay hydrated.
Chewing gum also acts as a psychogenic tool and the sugar in it helps to increase the athlete’s energy levels.
5 Reasons and Benefits
Feel Calm and Relaxed
Whether it’s Shoaib Akhtar, who bowls at over 160 kmph, or Shane Warne, who spins the ball in from outside the crease, a batsman needs eye contact on the ball with a steady mind. And this is why some athletes chew gum so that their concentration is not disturbed which is something proven by the scientific community as well.
However, after some recent research, it has been proved that due to excessive consumption of chewing gum the athlete may have to face some long-term effects. The long-term use of chewing gum affects the cognitive ability of the athlete over time. That’s probably why Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid, famous for their patience and concentration, never consumed chewing gum despite its benefits.
Cricket is played in many countries on different continents. The geographical conditions are also different in these different areas. Athletes face extremely high temperatures in some places and cold in others. While playing in the Indian subcontinent, the players have to face more heat and humidity, where chewing gum helps to stay hydrated.
Chewing gum increases the amount of saliva produced in the player’s mouth and makes the player thirsty. As a result, the player drinks more water and keeps himself hydrated and protected from the heat.
Concentration & Rhythm
Some researchers have found that chewing gum can affect the concentration and rhythm of an athlete. Many players have also confirmed this. A legend like Viv Richards backs it up by saying, “Chewing gum made a lot of changes in my game. Using chewing gum gave me the concentration to face fast bowlers without a helmet. It also made my game more rhythmic.” Who’s to argue with that when the legend himself advocates the use of chewing gum?
Reaction and Reflex Speed
According to scientists, although the long-term use of chewing gum reduces the cognitive power of the athlete, its immediate effects are beneficial to the athlete. Chewing gum speeds up the brain’s processing and sends messages through the brain to various organs in the body at a faster rate. As a result, the player’s movement, concentration, and hence game improves.
Increase Energy Level
In outdoor sports like cricket, the importance of body energy becomes more evident. Players use different levels of energy in different forms of cricket. This energy helps the athlete to stay fit longer. Glucose is an important source of energy in the human body.
We know that chewing gum contains sugar but this sugar is not in the form of glucose. When it is mixed with glucose after entering the body, it naturally helps to increase the energy level of the athlete. This affects his game and benefits the team.
Is it Legal to Chew Gum?
Currently, there is no law prohibiting chewing gum. However, if it is found that chewing gum is being misused on playing materials i.e., putting chewing gum on the ball and shining it, action is taken. A recent example is the Faf du Plessis fiasco.
Glucose present in chewing gum makes it easier for players to shine the ball which helps the ball to move in the air. This, however, is an unfair advantage, and cricketers should not do it.
In cricket, where a small mistake by a player or a team can be costly, players use various ways to enhance their individual as well as team performance, and chewing gum is one of them. Proper use of chewing gum has been shown to benefit both the team and the players, although, unfair application on a cricket ball can get you in trouble.