Ice Used To Keep Beer Cold

Monday, December 15th, 2014

Plenty has changed in the world of cricket over the past few decades.

These days, the guys have rule changes and things like the Decision Review System with its snicko, hot spot and sound devices, and to complicate everything further, more managers and coaches than you can poke a stick at – and ice baths.

Ice baths, you say? Who are we? Test cricketers after a hard day’s toil, or wild men from the Yukon?

In my day, ice did a damn fine job of keeping beer cold, or in my Midori and lemonade.

But, thankfully (for me anyway), the ice bath was just something the fitness and recovery team were discussing.

Today, the ice bath, along with the massage, the counselling from everybody from the coach and captain to any number of sports scientists and fitness men, and anybody else who might want to put in their five cents’ worth, has changed the protocol of the game.

Back in the day, it was routine for players to grab a couple of coldies and go and have a few with the opposition team, and for members from their team to return the visit, a rotation that went on as long as the Test lasted.

These days it’s all about fitness and preparation.

Immersing yourself in a giant receptacle full of cold water and ice is as painful as it sounds. Just the sight of it is terrifying enough. Will I survive the torture?

How best to confront the challenge? Dive in head first, or ease the body in centimetre by painful centimetre, with the crown jewels in some way protected?

Surely I’m going to lose something to frostbite – a nose or some other appendage – and isn’t it funny how things shrink when they get too cold for comfort?

I have had only a few ice baths in my time, and I was told – very convincingly – that it was all doing me a whole lot of good.

Clutching my phone in a death grip (thought I might make a couple of calls to take my mind off things) I inched my way into the bath.

Eventually, I got my legs, ankles, glutes and lower core under water, and stayed the distance for about six minutes. When I emerged, with beet-red legs, I was assured that the toxins had been flushed out and any small micro tears would have been miraculously healed.

I then took the shortest possible distance to a hot shower, with my boy bits aching, and not entirely convinced that the ice bath had done me any good at all.

I’ve stuck with the spa and sauna ever since.