2017 Aug 22
As of last week, there is now a biscuit ban in the Sri Lankan Cricket Team’s dressing room, out of concern for the players’ bulging bellies. Sri Lanka’s Team Manager Asanka Gurusinha confirmed that the embargo had been put in motion ahead of the ODI series against India.
Gurusinha told observerbd.com, “Our physio and trainer are in charge of food at game and they have banned biscuits in the changing room. The other day there were biscuits in the changing room and I informed the catering staff to take it out as our trainer did not want the players to eat in the changing room”.
In light of the rather amusing biscuit ban, here’s a list of epic sports dressing room incidents from around the world.
(Silly as it may seem, if the biscuit ban does end up reversing the downward trend of our national team’s performance, kudos to the team’s “physio and trainer”.)
1. Mourinho’s laughter-free zone
In September 2015, Jose Mourinho banned his Chelsea players from engaging in any sort of banter or jokes in the dressing room, in a desperate attempt to remedy the club’s worst ever start to the season. (Mourinho probably threatened the team to give lines if any of them were caught smiling, knowing him.)
It makes total sense that dressing room banter was to blame for their off start.
Could it have been because the players were allowed to take a longer summer break than usual, consequently leaving them “critically undercooked” for their season’s start? Nah, of course not, the banter is definitely to blame.
It makes sense now too, why Brainslav Ivanovic suddenly started playing like an old man, “his legs having turned to lead”, according to The Guardian.
He was OBVIOUSLY traumatized by the inappropriate joke he heard in the dressing room moments before the game with Swansea. Obviously.
Mourinho’s eccentric embargo clearly proved he had lost control of the situation.
2. ‘Buckle up, cupcake!’
A sobbing Sehwag. A stunned team. An angry captain. An outraged and subsequently remorseful coach. The Indian cricket team’s dressing room has seen it all.
It was the year 2002, during the Indian team’s tour of England. India had bowled out Sri Lanka, the third participating team, for 202, at a bowler-friendly wicket.
When it was India’s turn to bat, opening batsman Virender Sehwag had played a reckless shot and gotten out.
Outraged by his subpar performance, Coach Wright grabbed him by the collar in the dressing room and barked, ‘what the hell’s going on? How can you come back in here after playing a shot like that and unbuckle your pads as if nothing’s happened.’
Everyone froze. You could’ve heard a pin drop.
Rajiv Shukla caught wind of the commotion and walked in to find a distraught Sehwag, sobbing.
Wright later accepted that he had been a bit too harsh, and Sehwag understood that despite the ungraceful deliver, Wright did have his best interests at heart. Water under the bridge.
3. You’ve Been Punk’d!
The Indian Cricket Team truly is ruthless. A young, nervous Virat Kohli was sitting in a corner and minding his own business when a couple of team members approached him and told him that according to tradition, every new cricketer had to touch Sachin Tendulkar’s feet and invoke his blessings.
So when the newbie approached Tendulkar’s feet, the “God of Cricket”, confused, asked him whether he needed something.
When Kholi explained what he had set out to do, Tendulkar roared with laughter and said, “dude, you’ve been pranked”.
4. The One Where Yuvraj Nearly Passed Out
Newbie Indian Cricketer Yuvraj Singh was approached by the then Indian Cricket Captain Sourav Ganguly before his ODI debut in the ICC 2000 knockout tournament, who then told him, “open karega na?” (you’ll open, okay?)
Yuvraj was beside himself in shock. It’s a wonder he didn’t pass out in fear. To his credit, he even managed to squeak a barely audible “yes” in response.
Poor Yuvraj ended up taken sleeping pills to fall asleep that night.
The next morning, Ganguly had casually informed him that he was merely pulling Yuvraj’s leg.
He probably felt like a huge weight had been lifted off his shoulders. But perhaps the slightest bit disappointed, too?
5. Offers from Underworld Dons
Back in 1987, a gentleman had walked into the Indian Cricket Team’s dressing room and offered to buy Toyota cars for the whole team, including the manager, if they managed to defeat Pakistan. The then Captain Kapil Dev had ordered him to leave the dressing room which was out-of-bounds for outsiders.
Only afterwards did he find out that the unwelcome guest was in fact an infamous underworld crime lord, Dawood Ibrahim.
Fortunately, the incident did not transpire any further.
6. The Fan That Really Struck Gold
Sudhir Kumar Chaudhary, a diehard fan of Sachin Tendulkar, fared particularly well in the luck department when he succeeded in attracting Tendulkar’s attention after years of fanatical veneration of the “Cricket God”.
He was personally invited by his idol into the dressing room where he took pictures with the players and the trophy. Chaudhary was one of the few outsiders to gain access to the dressing rooms; they’re practically a land where no man has crossed.
7. The Strange Sleeve Obsession
Football Club Arsenal has a weird rule that all players should wear the same type of sleeves on match day, as selected by the Captain. Mathieu Flamini, ever the rebel, ended up having to be banned from cutting the sleeves off his match jersey, after he defied the club’s tradition and cut off his sleeves from the elbow-down before a game against Marseille, when all the players were expected to wear long sleeves.
“I’ve been playing at the top level for 10 years and I like to wear short sleeves,” the former AC Milan midfielder said simply. “It is what I like.”
I personally can’t figure out which side is being more stubborn or ridiculous.
8. Say No to Flip-Flops
Fabio Capello really marshaled his England players in 2008 when he banned flip-flops and player nicknames in their dressing rooms.
English Defender Rio Ferdinand said that Capello’s hardline management had made it feel like ‘the first day at school’.
9. ‘Keep your feet on the ground’
Manchester United’s then Manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, put in motion a rather strange and somewhat draconian embargo back in February of 2010, when he banned his young players from wearing coloured boots. Yeah, you read that right, he banned coloured boots.
An Old Trafford source said: “Sir Alex doesn’t like young players to get ahead of themselves. He thinks their feet should be on the ground.”
Perhaps it was time Ferguson realized that it wasn’t the 1960’s and that he couldn’t micromanage every aspect of the players’ lives.
10. ’No beanies!’
Neil Lennon banned the Bolton Wanderers from wearing beanie hats at training, ironically whilst sporting one himself.
“I don’t want players training in hats because they don’t play football in hats. If they want to get warm, they should run around,” he had said.
11. ‘ManU had too many fat players so I banned chips’
Manchester United once suffered the same (mis)fortune as the Sri Lanka Cricket Team, when the then manager David Moyes banned chips – perhaps the players’ favourite dressing room choice of food – in the dressing room, out of concern for the high incidence of overweight players at Old Trafford.
It goes as no surprise that he got the boot as Manager after less than a year of being in charge of the club.
12. No singing in the shower either
The Sri Lankan Cricket Team however has it way better than Sunderland, because Paolo Di Canio banned, well, everything.
Mobile phones, ketchup, mayonnaise, ice in coke, joking, gossiping, you name it. Even singing in the shower.
“This is a complete revolution,” he had said.
“We’ve focused on changing the whole dressing-room environment.”
He had also said that if someone so much as came inside with a mobile phone, even in their bag, he would throw it in the North Sea. Woah there.
13. The Epic Vitamin C Debacle
Australian Cricketer Brad Hogg, in his book titled ‘The Wrong ‘Un’, revealed how he had fallen victim to a hilarious dressing room prank in his early years.
The team physio had once handed over some pills to everyone in the squad ahead of a game. Steve Waugh, who had been sitting next to Hoggie, had told him, “mate, these pills are very important… You’ve got to put them up your [tushie], mate.”
Unfortunately for Hogg, no one else had been in the dressing room at the time to stop him from gullibly following his mean senior’s advice. So Hogg, despite his initial shock, had reluctantly gone to the toilet and shoved them right up.
Turns out they were just Vitamin C tablets which were meant to be taken orally.
“I felt uncomfortable for a few days, but I never got a cold,” Hogg said.