The aim of the current study was to assess the effects of dehydration on cricket specific motor skill performance among fast-bowlers, fielders, and batsmen playing in a hot and humid environment. 10 fast-bowlers, 12 fielders and 8 batsmen participated in two field trials conducted 7 days apart: a fluid provision trial (FP) and a fluid restriction trial (FR). Each trial consisted of a 2-hr standardized training session and pretraining and posttraining skill performance assessments. Bowling speed and accuracy (line and length), throwing speed and accuracy (overarm, sidearm and underarm) and timed running between wickets (1, 2, and 3 runs) was assessed pre to posttraining in each trial. Mass loss was 0.6 ± 0.3 kg (0.9 ± 0.5%) in FP, and 2.6 ± 0.5kg (3.7 ± 0.8%) in FR trials. Maintaining mass within 1% of initial values did not cause any significant skill performance decline. However, the dehydration on the FR trial induced a significant time and trial effect for bowling speed by 1.0 ± 0.8% reduction (0.3 ± 0.8% reduction in FP trial; p < .01) and 19.8 ± 17.3% reduction in bowling accuracy for line (3.6 ± 14.2% reduction in FP trial; p < .01), but no effect on bowling length. A significant decline was noted in the FR trial for throwing speed for overarm (6.6 ± 4.1%; p < .01; 1.6 ± 3.4% reduction in FP trial) and sidearm (4.1 ± 2.3%; p < .01; 0.6 ± 4.7% increase in FP trial) techniques, and for throwing accuracy for overarm (14.2 ± 16.3%; p < .01; 0.8 ± 24.2% increase in FP trial) and sidearm (22.3 ± 13.3%; p < .05; 3.2 ± 34.9% reduction in FP trial) techniques. Batsmen demonstrated significant performance drop in making three runs (0.8 ± 1.2% increase in time in FP trial and 2.2 ± 1.7% increase in time in FR trial; p < .01). Moderate-severe dehydration of 3.7% body mass loss significantly impairs motor skill performance among cricketers, particularly bowlers and fielders, playing in hot and humid conditions. Fluid ingestion strategies maintaining mass loss within 1% prevented a decline in skill performance.
Gamage is with the Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport, University of Stirling, Scotland, UK. De Silva is with the Dept. of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka. Nalliah is with the Dept. of Coaching, Max Cricket Academy, Sri Lanka Cricket, Sri Lanka. Galloway is with the Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport, University of Stirling, Scotland.