Round 20 years in the past, there was a suggestion to the Board of Management for Cricket in India that the group, when travelling abroad, be prolonged the ability of taking alongside a prepare dinner. There have been in fact ‘in-house cooks’ out there, however you couldn’t anticipate Sachin Tendulkar to dish out baingan bharta for the entire group at each meal. (Tendulkar lately cooked it for Mom’s Day, and posted the video on Twitter. He’d cooked some for us within the lodge kitchen in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. He additionally makes a imply steak).
The group members (each gamers and journalists) who had a tricky time discovering meals had been the vegetarians, particularly the wicket-takers, like Anil Kumble, Venkatesh Prasad, Javagal Srinath; and run-getters like Pravin Amre, VVS Laxman. It’s one other matter that Srinath allowed himself the liberty of a non-vegetarian meal now and again.
The Indian group had a keen prepare dinner in Sandeep Patil. He cherished to prepare dinner. “I’ve cooked for a gathering of 50,” he boasts in the present day. Patil, nevertheless, had his limitations: “You get the masalas and I’ll serve you essentially the most scrumptious meals,” he would inform his team-mates. They nonetheless bear in mind the finger-licking expertise at events hosted by Patil. He would prepare dinner every thing from khichri to biryani. He’d personally purchase, lower and clear the meat and greens. He cherished feeding individuals and would solely eat as soon as the primary spherical was carried out.
The cricketers, nevertheless, weren’t fortunate to at all times have Patil travelling with them. So they found methods to search out their meals mates, or mamoos (uncles), on excursions to the West Indies, Kenya, New Zealand. Just a few gamers had been champions at befriending the expatriates and welcoming themselves to dinner. Laxman was the most well-liked in locations just like the West Indies and Australia, the place households from Andhra would compete to host him and some others. On the finish of the day’s play, the vegetarians waited eagerly for Laxman to whisper, “Within the foyer at 7.” The phrase was unfold discreetly.
In New Zealand, the group had a beneficiant mamoo in Mori Patel, a lovable Gujarati businessman, who cherished taking good care of the cricketers. He would carry completely different sorts of Indian meals, he by no means ate non-vegetarian meals, however would typically carry it for the group. Patel usually drove 240 kilometres or extra to ship meals cooked within the morning and served recent for his cricket ‘mates’. The group adored the aged Patel for his selfless service.
The Indian media had an exquisite prepare dinner in VV Krishnan, our photographer, who was, nevertheless, selective in inviting individuals to our room (we at all times ended up sharing). He most well-liked the vegetarians. “The non-veg guys can eat anyplace,” was his easy reasoning. His rice-rajma mixture was a success with the cricketers, who appeared ahead to an invite from Krishnan. Along with his little cooker and heater, it was a sight to behold as Krishnan engaged himself in making ready dinner for 4 or 5 sportsmen. He had a splendid assist employees: Kumble fetching and cleansing the rice, Ashish Nehra making ready salad, Zaheer Khan organising the desk, Ajay Jadeja aiding on some directions. Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev would drop by. Just a few others wouldn’t thoughts doing the dishes. The VV Krishnan Café was an enormous hit with cricketers.
Indian meals was an attraction at most grounds in England and New Zealand, the place households arrange eateries in vans, providing samosas, bhajji pakodas and burgers. On the Queen’s Park Oval in Port of Spain, the stalls promoting aloo-roti did brisk enterprise. There was a particular low cost for the Indian media and we had been allowed to leap the lengthy queue, to be able to rush again to the Press Field as play resumed.
Then there have been the Excessive Commissioner’s dinners, the place the cricketers had been pampered with meals of their alternative. In locations like Zimbabwe, Kenya, and the West Indies, such dinners had been much-awaited within the ’90s. In later years, the gamers discovered quick access to Indian meals via mates and new eating places developing.
Rahul Dravid had discovered a pleasant one in Adelaide and we might frequent the place. In fact, Dravid was the least fussy about meals, simply as Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Ajit Agarkar, Harbhajan Singh and Yuvraj Singh, had been. All of them learnt to get pleasure from Chinese language, Italian, Continental and Japanese delicacies too. Right this moment too, the present group is well-adjusted, and enjoys world cuisines. However they don’t have a bunch of amusing tales to inform on utilizing haricot beans (utilized in baked beans) as an alternative to rajma.