Sachin Tendulkar wardrobe secrets, Navjot Singh Sidhu and Ajay Jadeja’s unorganised off field habits were some of the anecdotes shared by the former India cricketers in a talk show at the Eden Gardens here on Friday.
Former India captain Sourav Ganguly revealed that batting maestro Tendulkar would just ‘bat and shop’ during his playing days.
“He (Tendulkar) would only bat and shop. He would get a Test hundred and the next day you would
see him shopping in an Armani or Versace and you will see them hanging in his wardrobe. He was very fond of his clothes and had a great wardrobe,” Ganguly remembered.
Talking about VVS Laxman, Ganguly said the elegant Hyderabadi batsman was a perennial latecomer.
“You would see him taking a shower even as the no 4 and 5 batters were at the crease. Even he would be the last to board the team bus,” Ganguly said in a talk show, organised on the occasion of Kolkata hosting India’s 250th Test on home soil.
The show also featured India coach Anil Kumble, Kapil Dev and Virender Sehwag.
Often credited for changing the face of Indian cricket by bringing in aggression to the table, Ganguly said his teammates were his jewels who delivered for him.
“Viru [Sehwag] at top with his batting and when you came to bowl you knew you’ve one (Kumble) who can bowl and give you wickets on any surface. He would say ‘You give me runs on the scoreboard and I will win you Tests.’ He did exactly that.
“It was my honour to lead both of them and also Rahul, Sachin, Harbhajan...It was a golden generation; we were blessed with exceptional talents. They have made Indian cricket superior,” the former Indian skipper said.
Showering praise on Sehwag, Ganguly said: “He changed the batting mindset of people around the world. If you see today’s era, if the players don’t get runs quickly there’s criticism. It all started with guys like Sehwag, (Matthew) Hayden.”
Remembering the historic 2001 Kolkata Test win against Australia, he said: “I didn’t have Kumble and to beat that Australian side from that position, Harbhajan stood up in the series.”
The first World Cup winning skipper Kapil Dev joined Ganguly and said in the 70s and 80s India did not have the right mindset.
“Things started moving and cricket kept on changing from Sunil Gavaskar era. The Board also did not have the resources, it was a tough time. I never thought we could reach the pinnacle of Test cricket so quickly.
“We always thought aggression was north Indians’ forte. We knew Bengalis being artistic. Suddenly we saw Sourav with his unmatched aggression. South Indians were calm and soft but Kumble changed all that with his passion,” Dev said.
To a query, Kapil Dev mentioned the names of former opener Navjot Singh Sidhu and middle-order batsman Ajay Jadeja as the most unorganised off the field.
“To call them ‘dirtiest’ would be harsh but they were very ‘rough’ off the field and would hurriedly pack the clothes and wear them for days,” Kapil said.
Sehwag gave credit to Ganguly and Kumble and also named MS Dhoni, saying that a successful player has a great captain behind him.
“Dada had only one motive to win overseas and become number one. Their captaincy was attacking and to back their boys was their strength. I remember having dinner and Kumble told me you would play the next four matches, performance would not matter, just go and give your 100 per cent. I was so content.
“I made my second triple hundred under Kumble. The seed was sown by Dada and Kumble continued,” Sehwag, recalling his 319 against South Africa in Chennai Test in 2008, said.
“Cricket has not changed but it’s the mindset that has. I never had fear of losing my place as my captain would tell me just go out there and play freely. I could play the fearless cricket because I had my captain’s backing.
“Captain played a big role – be it Sourav, Kumble or MS Dhoni. Every successful player has an equally great captain behind him.”