Diagnostic Criteria for Obsessive Compulsive Cricket Disorder

A: Obsessions

(1) Recurrent and persistent ideas, thoughts, impulses or images that are experienced, at least initially as intrusive and senseless e.g. batsman tormented by thoughts that he should walk or an umpire having recurrent fears of getting the ball count wrong, leading to taking out two ball counters.(Crawley Subtype: See Appendix Four)

(2) The cricketer attempts to ignore or suppress such thoughts or impulses or to neutralize them with some other thought or action e.g. taking up home handyman projects.

(3) The cricketer recognizes that the obsessions are the product of his own mind, not imposed from without. This is to distinguish between a cricket disorder and a cricket psychosis. (Paper pending.)

(4) If another major disorder is already present (example golf) the content of the disorder is unrelated to it i.e. one does not practice golf swings on the cricket field.

B: Compulsions

(1) Repetitive, purposeful, and intentional behaviors are preformed to an in a stereotyped manner I.e. taking guard or marking run ups.

(2) The behavior is designed to neutralize or prevent the umpire giving the cricketer out LBW without having a realistic chance of doing so  (The umpire always hated my guts)

(3) The cricketer realizes that his behavior is excessive or is unreasonable. (All batsman always walk in front of their stumps)


The obsession or compulsions cause marked distress, are time consuming, and significantly interfere with the person’s work and social life


Depression and anxiety commonly occurring after run outs, ducks and dropped catches may exacerbate the syndrome. Fieldsmen, after dropping another catch, may be seen rehearsing the action repeatedly and uttering ritualistic phrases such as “the sun was in my eyes,” to everyone present and exhibit avoidance behavior, demanding to be placed at deep third man.

The onset is usually in early childhood and warning signs include buying Australian one-day T shirts and practicing hitting a ball suspended from a tree by one’s father.

Sex Ratio: Sex and cricket are usually considered mutually exclusive (see appendix A)

Course: The condition is probably chronic but symptoms seem to wax and wane on a four year cycle. It is coming to be regarded as a seasonal disorder and is usually in remission in winter.

Impairment: This varies markedly but is usually low in the winter months (see course.) In more pathological cases the sufferer will become what is called a test or first class cricketer. Its most severe manifestation the cricketer suffers from umpiring and will compulsively wear silly hats on ovals. Normal social or work life becomes impossible at this stage.

Prevalence: As this is a recently described disorder the prevalence is not known.

Predisposing factors: The condition seems to be most common in former British colonies but there is no British causative agent yet identified. An association with British Disorder is yet to be established.

Treatments: These are generally unsuccessful but include appalling poor form (a form of self-help/abuse), nagging wives and approaching old age. Some treatment centers look for harm minimization strategies and attempt substitution of golf or bowls for the cricket obsession. These treatments are not without considerable risks and should only be taken under careful supervision and with a prior risk/benefit analysis.

Associated Features: Suffers have combinations of the following symptoms:

Continual checking of cricinfo.com, cricketaustralia.com and other cricket web sites. Anyone with more than two cricket web sites on their favorite’s list should be viewed at risk for developing this disorder.

Buying of cricket books and magazines especially Wisden are often seen in more severe suffers. A loci of infection has been identified in Yallambie ( Appendix C Roger Page Cricket Books)

Running a cricket website or podcast.

Playing cricket despite overwhelming evidence that you really suck at it.

Being on any cricket committee.

Future Research:  There is some thought that the combination of golf and cricket is incompatible with married life.

This disorder has recently recognized as a specific disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Seventh Edition)




  1. Don’t worry Phil. You have described the disorder remarkably accurately, but my observations are that the outcomes are relatively benign. My Dad is 80, and has been a lifetime ‘sufferer’. He is in robust physical and mental health, so what you described as a ‘disorder’ proves ultimately life enhancing in many cases. Your comment about the combination of golf and cricket being incompatible with married life is not always the case. Mum passed away three months ago, but they had nearly 60 fulfilling years together. It may be that they both caught the golf obsession together in their mid 30’s. Dad still ‘suffers’ 18 holes twice a week. I suspect that Mum tolerated more than treasured cricket, but this was probably compensation for her tennis disorder.
    Dad’s GP prescribes Foxtel in increasingly large doses as the years go by. I think its a matter of learning to live with the things you can’t do without.

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