Asia Cup 2023: How Indian Cricketers Plan Their Diet?
Image Credit: Healthy, balanced diet is the key

The Asia Cup is about to start today, with the first match being between Pakistan and Nepal. India will participate in the multi-team event to win the coveted trophy, and the tournament is being seen as the perfect launchpad for the ODI World Cup, set to happen later this year in India. In the middle of all these tight schedules and non-stop matches, how do professional cricketers keep themselves fit, and what do they eat?

The world of professional cricket is a super-active arena where physical prowess and mental agility converge. Amidst the fierce competition and strategic gameplay, the diet of a cricketer emerges as a critical factor in their overall performance. These athletes rely on a well-balanced and tailored nutritional regimen to fuel their bodies for the demands of training, matches, and recovery. Let us look at the diet of cricketers and find out how they function.

Balanced Nutrition for Excellence:

At the heart of a cricketer's diet lies the principle of balanced nutrition. Adequate carbohydrates provide the energy necessary for long hours on the field, while proteins aid in muscle recovery and growth. Healthy fats contribute to overall well-being. Former Indian cricket captain and current star batsman Virat Kohli is renowned for his dedication to fitness and nutrition.

He keeps talking about the importance of planning meals and having a good diet. In an interview with the YouTube channel for a series called "Breakfast with Champions", Virat stated that he follows a very strict diet in terms of no extra oils and no added sugars. Kohli's diet focuses on lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, and nutrient-dense foods that aid his rigorous training routines.

Pre-Match Rituals:

Pre-match meals hold the key to sustained energy during matches. These meals typically include complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains, and lean proteins to provide a steady release of energy. Everyone has seen pictures of former Indian captain and wicket-keeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni eating bananas in the pavillion before coming out to bat. Eating such foods ensures that players are energised without feeling weighed down.


Hydration is non-negotiable for cricketers, especially during test matches that stretch over not only long hours but for five whole days. Often, match extras or non-playing staff of the team are seen carrying water and energy drinks to cricketers during over breaks of the match, especially during hot day matches. Proper hydration supports cognitive function, prevents cramps, and enhances overall performance.

Post-Match Nutrition:

The physical toll of cricket matches necessitates efficient recovery strategies. Usually, a combination of protein and carbohydrates is recommended to kickstart the recovery process, aiding in muscle repair and replenishing glycogen stores. The foods that are recommended for post-match recovery include oats, chicken, and Indian options like brown rice biryani.

Snacking for Stamina:

Professional cricketers often rely on nutritious snacks to sustain their energy levels between training sessions and matches. According to Sports Dieticians Australia, snacks like fruits, sandwiches, and energy bars offer convenient sources of nutrients. The options should be low in fat because it slows down digestion.

Home-made Food

We have all seen rags-to-riches stories in cricket. Many players with limited access to tailor-made diets have also made it to the top bracket. Cricketers like Shreyas Iyer, R Ashwin, Mohammed Siraj, and Hardik Pandya have emphasised that home-made food is the best source of clean nutrition in several interviews with BCCI TV.

Supplements and Superfoods:

Some cricketers take supplements and superfoods to bolster their performance. Many players on the Indian team are vegetarians, like Ashwin and Kohli, who complete their protein intake with protein shakes. Even non-vegetarian players with heavy workout routines opt for protein shakes. Cricketers, like Mayank Agarwal, even endorse plant-based protein supplements. Additionally, superfoods like berries and turmeric, rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, find their way into players' diets.

Tailored Diet:

Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting, who coached IPL team Delhi Capitals, said in a chat with the franchise that there’s more knowledge about nutrition and science than there was 20 years ago. So, nutritionists collaborate with players to craft personalised plans that align with their training schedules and goals. A lot of Indian players have their own nutritionists to guide them and improve their overall performance on the field. For example, T20 star Suryakumar Yadav’s nutritionist, Shweta Bhatia, works with him to build his perfect diet. Dr. Divya Purushotham, a consultant with the Karnataka Cricket State Academy, also helps several IPL players plan their diet.