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Gill, Kohli, Maxwell: Why Are Cricketers Experiencing Cramps During the WC?

Shubman Gill had to retire from the IND vs NZ semi-final because of a cramp. Read about why players experience this.

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It’s the 23rd over of the much-awaited World Cup 2023 Semi Finals. India is batting against New Zealand. Mitchell Santner is bowling and Shubman Gill, in form, has already secured 79 runs for the team.

But that’s right when the batsman experiences a cramp. A medical team runs onto the ground and Gill has to retire. India eventually won, and the rest is history. But what happened to Gill?

Shubman Gill had to retire from the IND vs NZ semi-final because of a cramp. Read about why players experience this.

Shubman Gill experienced cramps during the WC semi-final against New Zealand.

Why did he experience cramps? Why have several players experienced cramps this World Cup?

FIT spoke with Dr Ashis Acharya, Senior Consultant Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine unit, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi, to understand why sports players experience cramps on the field.

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Why do players experience cramps on the field? What is the cause?

Dr Acharya shares that the most common cause of cramps is not stretching enough or doing enough warm up before the match. 

“Playing cricket includes a series of high-intensity exercises such as running, so stretching is of utmost importance.”
Dr Ashis Acharya

But there can be other causes as well.

  • Muscle fatigue

  • Dehydration

  • Stress

  • Electrolyte imbalance, particularly magnesium and potassium

Shubman Gill had to retire from the IND vs NZ semi-final because of a cramp. Read about why players experience this.

Australia's Glenn Maxwell reacts in pain after hamstring injury during the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023 match between Afghanistan and Australia at the Wankhede Stadium, in Mumbai, Tuesday, 7 November 2023.

(Photo: PTI)

Does the weather have anything to do with it?

In a post-match press conference, Gill told the media, “It started with cramps and I pulled my hamstring. It was humid out there and also after effects of dengue.”

Dr Acharya too agrees that weather does have a role to play, but not a direct one.

He explains that in humid or moist conditions, like Mumbai’s weather where the match was happening in Wankhede stadium, the players sweat a lot.

“When you sweat a lot, you naturally lose a lot of electrolytes with it. This causes an imbalance and can result in cramps. A similar thing wouldn’t happen if the match is being played in, say, Dharamshala.”
Dr Ashis Acharya
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Are there any quick fixes that can get players back on the field?

The most common cramps that players experience are in their calf muscles and hamstrings, explains the doctor. The only quick-fixes that can work in these cases are:

  • Take them off the field and do proper stretching

  • Use muscle relaxant spray on the affected area

Dr Acharya adds:

“But if the whole muscle is cramped, quick fixes might not work and the player might have to take rest. That’s the only thing that works, which is what perhaps happened in Gill’s case.”

Which other players have experienced cramps during the World Cup?

Several players have experienced cramps in this particular tournament. On the same day as Gill, Virat Kohli too experienced a spasm while playing on the field. While he did stay on the field for 149 minutes and secured his 50th ODI century, he could clearly be seen in pain.

New Zealand's cricketer Daryl Mitchell too experienced cramps in the very same match. There was a point in the match where he wasn't able to stand properly.

Shubman Gill had to retire from the IND vs NZ semi-final because of a cramp. Read about why players experience this.

New Zealand's Daryl Mitchell reacts after an injury during the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023 first semi-final match between India and New Zealand, at the Wankhede Stadium, in Mumbai, Wednesday, 15 November.

(Photo: PTI)

A similar thing happened with Australian cricketer Glenn Maxwell on 7 November in the match against Afghanistan when he led his team to victory while he was suffering from cramps in his calf, hamstring, toes, and back.

Shubman Gill had to retire from the IND vs NZ semi-final because of a cramp. Read about why players experience this.

Pakistan's batter Mohammad Rizwan suffers an injury while missing a delivery that bowled him out during the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023 match between England and Pakistan, at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata, Saturday, 11 November.

(Photo: PTI)

Other players to have experienced cramps in this tournament are Shreyas Iyer in the match against Netherlands, South Africa's Heinrich Klaasen in the match against England, and Pakistan's Mohammad Rizwan while playing against England too.

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Topics:  Cramps   World Cup 2023 

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