Tuesday, 1 November 2005
Australia's Test squad had a special piece of homework to bring to their training session on Monday - some of their own urine.
In an era of full-time professional players, well-drilled in all manner of on-field and off-field preparation techniques, it may be surprising to learn half of the urine samples came in too dark.
"Players, on waking this morning, had to take a urine sample," spokesperson for a study involving the Australian Institute of Sport and sports drink Gatorade, Kelly Drew, said.
"We have done a test on that urine already. We do know that 50 per cent of them turned up today dehydrated, which is not a good sign."
Drew said the samples had come from a mixture of batsmen and bowlers.
"But it's the first time they've really come together," she continued. "They're preparing for a training session. They've all flown in for today, so it's not indicative of their usual training patterns.
"I think it will be very different as we get into the season."
The study is being monitored by the AIS's head of nutrition, Dr Louise Burke.
And while the full results have not been released as yet, early indications are that skipper Ricky Ponting is the team's best sweater.
"We then applied sweat patches to their forearms, which they kept on while they were doing their 35-minute warm-up," Drew said at the team's training session in hot conditions today at Allan Border Field.
"We'll send them down to Melbourne and run them through the lab and that will tell us the composition of each individual player's sweat.
"Then we can look at it and say `this player is a particularly salty sweater', so they need to ensure that they are actually replacing that salt.
"We know Ricky Ponting is quite a salty sweater because he has quite a lot of salt left over on his clothing.
"But today when we do the tests we'll be able to actually know the individual player's composition of their sweat and help them out."
Drew said players who are heavy sweaters may need to start their fluid intake a couple of days before the match or training so that they have enough fluid and don't become dehydrated.