In all these years cricket has been termed as a sport where an individual requires proper skill set and physical strength to flourish in the international arena. As time passed by, the players understood the mental aspects of the game. Thereafter, it has been given equal importance in making of a good cricketer as it demarcates extraordinary talents from the ordinary ones.
There have been players who found instant success in internationals but bad habits caught up with them due to the lack of their mental toughness. Among them, certain cricketers became the victims of alcohol abuse and it derailed their promising careers. There have been instances when they consumed it in the wee hours of the day and took the field in the most inappropriate manner.
Here is the list of 5 cricketers who consumed alcohol before taking the field:
1) Herschelle Gibbs
Herschelle Gibbs. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)
At the dawn of the 21st century, Herschelle Gibbs was one of the few batsmen who had the class to match the likes of Tendulkars and Laras. The South African could pulverize quality bowling attacks nonchalantly. Some of his knocks have helped the country achieve memorable feats in international cricket.
Especially his 175 at Johannesburg is considered as a typhoon which rolled over the Aussies in the most epic run-chase in ODIs. Gibbs was thrashing the Australian bowlers to all parts of the ground. He left the opposition high and dry with his attacking batting display but it was him who was really high.
In his autobiography “To the Point”, Gibbs has admitted that he had consumed alcohol hours before the game. What was more interesting is the fact that he was unaware of the situation when he went on to bat. Still, he managed to record his best ODI score and one can say that the booze eased his nerves at the right time.
2) Jesse Ryder
Jesse Ryder. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)
A decade ago when the Kiwis visited the Indian shores, a hard-hitting opening batsman took the centre stage. No, it was not Brendon McCullum but it was his partner, Jesse Ryder who showcased his talent against a top tier side. Suddenly the Wellington born cricketer became a hot commodity and he was a regular in the team for the next couple of years.
He looked a little bit out of shape for the likes of cricketers but Ryder’s ability to play big shots irrespective of the situation covered up for it. The southpaw was beaming with his on-field activities as he even got the opportunity to play the most celebrated T20 League, IPL. During all this time his drinking problems made him a liability for the team.
There have been a couple of instances where he has been dropped from the playing XI because of his habit of late-night partying. Particularly in his debut series against England, he was found intoxicated in the morning of 5th ODI. Though he scored 24 runs in the game he was making headlines for the wrong reasons.
3) Andrew Symonds
Andrew Symonds. (Photo by Hamish Blair/Getty Images)
Australian cricket was enjoying a golden period in the early years of the 2000s. It was a time when highly skilled players of the country were finding it difficult to get into the national side because of the presence of gifted individuals like Andrew Symonds. He was a player who never reached his full potential but still achieved a lot of success including 2 World Cup wins.
The all-rounder was a game-changer who has proved his worth in tough situations. His numbers might not earn him a great deal of respect but he contributed whenever opportunities were presented to him. Unfortunately, he was an enigmatic character whose career will be always remembered for his controversial matters.
Symo’s temperament and attitude towards the game have been questioned several times. The most talked incident is his hangover before an ODI against Bangladesh where captain Ricky Ponting was enraged due to his late-night drinking sessions. He was eventually dropped for the encounter but not before almost dozing off on the field during the net practice.
4) Andrew Flintoff
Andrew Flintoff of England poses with the Ashes urn. (Photo by Tom Shaw/Getty Images)
There are players who will contribute to the side and then there are personalities who can change the outlook of a team with their supreme on-field abilities. The revered English all-rounder, Andrew Flintoff is in the latter category as he can inspire a side with his rampant performances. Throughout his career, he was the beck and call of the Brits in dire straits.
Like his 2005 Ashes heroics, Flintoff has always shown his proficiency with the bat in his hand. Especially his second Test century at Lord’s was a treat to watch as he reacted in a stunning manner when the team was under the pump. His sparkling innings was the lone bright spot when the hosts lost the game against the visiting Proteas by an innings margin.
Freddie is also known for his activities beyond the 22 yards. Among them, his pub sessions have invariably put him in a bad light on more than one occasions. He even revealed in a talk show that his famous ton against South Africa came when he was under the influence of alcohol. As usual, he gained all the attention but this time he was showered with negative comments.
5) Wasim Raja
Wasim Raja. (Photo by S&G/PA Images via Getty Images)
The yesteryear cricketer, Wasim Raja is often hailed as a batting marvel by his counterparts and teammates. Such was his class that even the opposition ranks relished his strokeplay. His aura reached the zenith when he piled on more than 500 runs in a 5-match Test series against the likes of Joel Garner and Andy Roberts in their den.
Even before that he stamped his authority when he caressed his 2nd Test century at the Karachi stadium against the famed Windies bowling line-up. Surprisingly instead of getting the praises, Wasim was criticized by the Urdu press for his indecent behaviour towards the audience. Later it was revealed that the southpaw was not sober during the game.
He continued his cricketing sojourn with liquor as his only best friend. Till his retirement in 1985, he was repeatedly found in the drunken state before the games and it overshadowed his batting prowess. At last, it can be said that he was a cricketer who suffered from mood swings due to his drinking problems and that’s why he failed to make it to the elite panel.
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