During India vs New Zealand semifinal of the ICC World Cup match, Shubman Gill looked dangerous as he smashed 8 fours and three sixes en route to his 79, but his innings were cut short by cramps, and was retired hurt. Even Virat Kohli suffered from cramps! But Gill and Kohli’s cramps during the World Cup match isn’t the first one! Several other cricketers, including Australia’s Glenn Maxwell, also suffered from the ailment during the tournament.
New Zealand’s Daryl Mitchell too suffered cramps during his innings, and at one point wasn’t able to stand, let alone swing his bat. South African player Heinrich Klaasen was also seen battling cramps during the match against England in Mumbai.
As cramps become more regular on the field, we take a look at what causes them, how they affect the body, and what can be done to avoid it.
Reasons for cramping
In the case of Shubman Gill, the cricketer said that the cramps were an after effect of his dengue. “It was quite humid and just the after-effects of dengue,” he was quoted as saying. Gill said that dengue had left him with reduced muscle mass, which could have caused the cramps.
Apart from this, there are other reasons causing cricketers to cramp during World Cup matches.
Some players are likely to experience cramps due to dehydration. Muscles require a balance of water and electrolytes. If someone drinks too much water, it dilutes the electrolytes. Notably, if one dilutes all the electrolytes, the muscle gets stuck in the contraction and can’t relax, causing serious pain.
2. Extreme Hot Temperatures
Experts also note that weather is an important factor in cramping. They note that an increasing number of athletes will complain of cramps in hot temperatures. Because sweat evaporates more slowly in humid temperatures, the body produces more sweat to cool itself down. This can result in a greater loss of fluids and electrolytes.
Another cause for cramps, according to experts, is neuromuscular fatigue. Muscles tend to cramp specifically when they are overworked and fatigued due to electrical misfiring.
Some sports therapists also note that cramps may occur due to a lack of blood flow. They say that a narrowing of the arteries that bring blood to the legs can cause cramping pain in the legs and feet during exercise.
What should one do when a player suffers from cramps?
It’s not totally possible to prevent cramps, but experts state that sportspersons should drink plenty of liquids and stretch the right way to avoid these painful spasms. However, if an athlete suffers from cramps during a game, they should opt for some gentle massaging and hydrate their bodies.