In her book The Zoya Factor Anuja Chauhan explores the world of Indian Cricket through the book’s protagonist after whom the novel is named – Zoya Singh Solanki. It is a romantic tale along the lines of Jane Austen, where the sparks of love bring together two opposite souls –Zoya and the Indian Team Captain Nikhil Khoda. In it Zoya becomes the lucky charm of the Indian cricket team: Apparently the team wins all matches when lady luck Zoya is present. Weird huh? Well, not at all. The truth my friend is stranger than fiction. Cricketers worldwide believe in stranger superstitions bearing with them even stranger charms.
During the last edition of IPL Virender Shewag always carried with him a red handkerchief. While, Rahul Dravid always wears the right pad first and puts his right foot forward when he enters the ground. Sourav Ganguly carries a picture of his Guru in his pocket. Gautam Gambhir is a firm believer in Numerology; his Indian jersey number is 5, while for KKR it is 14 – his Date of Birth. And if you watch closely you will notice that Harbhajan Singh bends forward and prays whenever he comes on to bowl.
These little eccentricities are not just confined to IPL or our times. Cricketers through history have always believed in lucky charms. For example like the Wall, Indian Cricketer Sunil Gavaskar, used to put on his left pad and left shoe first; and just like Shewag, Steve Waugh always carries a red handkerchief. Sri Lankan opener Sanath Jayasuriya hits his pads with his bat before every ball. Bowler Zaheer Khan makes it a point to carry his lucky yellow scarf; and the legend Sachin Tendulkar has a lucky pad. However, the prize goes to South African opener Neil McKenzie, who once believed that he wouldn’t be able to score runs unless the Dressing Room’s toilet seats were closed and flushed before he ventured out onto the pitch.