We look to our heroes for advice, and group has more hero worship than Indian cricketers. How could they lie to their fans?
Be it mis-information, spin or taken out of context, these are the truisms taken as gospel by the fans that, in fact, won't help your game if you are trying to emulate the stars:
1. "Muesli; the aggression builds up gradually"
Sachin Tendulkar was asked about what fuels him for breakfast and he talked briefly about the benefits of muesli. But the food we often think of as a healthy alternative can also cause issues.
Sugar is high in most muesli, and there is high sugar dried fruit alongside the "slow release" carbs we are often advised to consume. Reducing sugar intake is a no-brainer, but most of us could also benefit from reducing overall carb intake from starchy sources like wheat.
That's not to say we should all go on an Atkins-style zero carb eating regime, but with carbs, less is often more (and the timing is also important).
Finally, the dairy from milk is also a controversial area. Milk is a nutritious substance but we are not all suited to lactose (a sugar found in milk). Those cricketers with a mild intolerance may not notice at all until they cut it out when suddenly their well-being improves. Greg Chappell famously took all dairy from his diet and had a jump in health that followed him onto cricket performances.
2. "It's soft, but that's the way we are"
Virender Sehwag spoke to the press after calling back a batsman who was Mankaded.
For some reason this practice is considered unfair by Indian cricketers. Viru felt he was on the moral high ground and was saying it's OK to be soft as long as you are playing fair.
This is nonsense.
Of course cheating is no way to beat your opponents but that is not the issue. Running out the non-striking batsman is not cheating.
The batter who is trying to steal ground by moving out of his crease before the ball is bowled is the cheat in that situation. As the bowler you have every right to run him out the first time he attempts such a foolish act.
A baseball pitcher has no qualms in doing the same thing to a batter who tries to 'steal' a base. Why should cricket be any different?
A warning is often given, and even that seems overly generous. A wicketkeeper would never give a warning before attempting a stumping. A run out where a straight drive is flicked onto the stumps by the bowler is never recalled.
Don't use fairness as an excuse.
3. "Fitness is a relative term. It does not necessarily mean that one who runs hard and lifts weights is fit. Cricketing fitness is different. So if you can perform, it means you are fit."
Saurav Ganguly was taking about the difference between being fit in gym terms and fit in cricket terms. They are certainly not the same thing but he has it the wrong way around.
Instead of saying "if you can perform, it means you are fit" what he should be saying is "if you are [gym] fit you can perform".
Going to the gym, running or doing yoga has a lot of crossover to the field.
Mainly it strengthens your body so you can get out to play anyway and not be injured. But it also means that you have a solid base of athetic power and endurance to bat all day, hit the ball long, maintain your technique and bowl at breakneck pace.
Many players make the mistake of thinking the gym either has all the answers or none of the answers. The truth is somewhere in the middle. Training is absolutely proven to assist in cricket performance, but it also won't make you into the next Tendulkar.
Fitness work is the base from which you can build. All serious players strength train now, the culture of the past is totally dead except in those who will never reach the top in modern cricket.
If Ganguly was starting now with an attitude to do no gym work he would quickly find others overtaking him. Don't follow his example. Instead get fit to play.