Saturday, 25 August 2012


With the imminent staging of the Paralympic Games attracting the media’s attention, Fantasy Bob has been interested to see reports about the growing concerns over the practice of boosting among athletes. FB understands boosting to mean that an athlete inflicts an injury upon themself with the objective of increasing blood pressure, thereby blood flow and thereby performance. The injuries mentioned include breaking toes, sitting on drawing pins and scrotal constriction. (On the last mentioned, FB’s experience leads him to be sceptical of any alleged performance enhancing effects  – all it is likely to do is make the eyes water.)

FB has not heard of this practice before. He is uncertain if the performance enhancing impacts of raising blood pressure is confined only to elite paralympic athletes but is considering the implications in areas familiar to him. He has concluded that lower league cricketers, such as FB, do not need to break their toes to raise their blood pressure.  There are many such incidents in any match - whether such leads to enhanced performance is open to discussion.  In FB's case something needs to enhance performance.  He may then have to resort to boosting. To assist his worldwide readership understand the issues further, here are a number of boosting tactics which FB has seen adopted.

Scoring can have boosting impacts. An enthusiastic but innumerate junior takes up the scorebook, but attributes the 4 runs which flowed from FB’s sumptuous cover drive to his batting partner. When FB notices this on the scoreboard, his performance is enhanced to the point that he swings wildly at the next ball. The scorer makes no mistake in identifying the dismissed batsman.  Further performance enhancement follows.

Catching can lead to perverse boosting impacts. For there to be one catch dropped off FB’s bowling is only to be expected, and there is no boosting impact. But things can progress from that modest start.  FB has suffered from serial drops – his highest total was 5 drops in a 6 over spell. The second time his butter fingered teammate grassed a dolly catch was a boosting event, which lead to an enhancement in his performance and another 3 chances. This is completely counterproductive – the more catches are dropped, the more chances come and the more catches are dropped.  This is one of the reasons that the legislators limited the number of overs for any bowler.

Any LBW decision in lower league cricket is a boosting event. The provision of the availability of defibrillators for triggered batsmen should be considered as a priority.

Boosting - FB expects new rules for next season's competition - or his blood pressure will suffer.

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