The Lucknow-Kanpur area has the best
vegetarian food in India. Especially the yellow dal (lentil) and
baingan ka bharta (minced eggplant)… …in fact, even the non-vegetarian food
is amazing. Traditional families in the area are known
for preparing special mutton delicacies… They cook special meat in the tandoor
(earthen clay ovens)… …buried in the ground with garlic and rum. A friend of mine makes ‘Dal baati’,
With mutton in red chillies… I really love Dal baati… … but in UP and Bihar, they know
how to make it perfectly… …they stuff the flour with ghee…
Dry Dal… …The mutton is marinated with
special spices and cooked… …and it’s really dark and very tasty … …it melts in your mouth… … And because it’s hot,
you just end up overeating! My mouth is watering
and I have tears in my eyes! We’ll have to observe
a minute’s silence now. You must have imagined what it would
feel like to get your India cap… But, when you actually got it,
how did you feel? I remember… It was a tour of
Sri Lanka in 2005… Rahul bhai (Rahul Dravid) was the captain…
he gave me my ODI cap. Viru bhai (Virendra Sehwag), Paaji (Sachin
Tendulkar), Dada (Sourav Ganguly)… Gautam Gambhir, MS Dhoni,
VVS Laxman… – An army of stalwarts.
– Yuvi pa (Yuvraj Singh)… Bhaju pa (Harbhajan Singh), Ashu bhai
(Ashish Nehra)… everyone was there. I was this young, little guy sitting there… …hoping someone would
come and ask me to play. Then, the night before the match,
I found out that I was going to play… I couldn’t sleep…
Because I was going to play… Then, Rahul bhai gave me the cap
and told me… “Well done, you have performed well in
first-class cricket… …and in the U-19s as well as India A,
even at the NCA (National Cricket Academy). So, just enjoy yourself”. I got out on the first ball,
off (Muttiah) Muralitharan… Again, I couldn’t sleep…
wondering if I would ever play again. Irfan (Pathan) asked me,
“Why are you sitting so despondently?” I told him, “No man… it is my first match… … You still get to bowl, I’m done…” He [Irfan] then suggested, “Don’t think of that.
Take a catch… get a run-out…” Then, Rahul bhai came and said,
“Come on! It happens… Let’s see your fielding prowess as well.” So, then I managed to run out
Marvan Atapattu… Then (Mohammed) Kaif bhai, Yuvi pa…
they were like a wall… at point and covers. I used to be at mid-off…
that’s how we fielded. At point, Yuvi pa was awesome… And he would throw it to Kaif…
and I would back it up from behind. At the time… Zaheer bhai (Zaheer Khan),
Ashu bhai, Irfan… Ajit bhai (Ajit Agarkar)… …we would always get stick from them… …especially on the last two balls,
asking us to stay back. If we tried to attack… we were told,
“Last two balls… stay back!” There was a chance for a catch
occasionally… …but, on the last ball, the bowler is always
thinking that it’s been a good over… …let me not concede a boundary. If even one of us went ahead…
“Stay back!”. The fielding in the circle is like that,
be it… …Kaif, Yuvi pa, Virat (Kohli),
Jaddu (Ravindra Jadeja), Ajju (Ajinkya Rahane)… …all create pressure by attacking. And that creates momentum, we throw
the ball as soon as it comes to us. But then the captain goes,
“Don’t throw”. And the bowlers go,
“Stay back”. It used to be fun… I really enjoyed fielding. Just like the army of night watchmen
who shout, “Stay awake!” To keep each other awake. Like you are now also…
you are a UP boy. But now half you are a
Chennai boy also. Chennai crowd loves you like
you are one of their own. Like if you were to go and ask someone…
no one believes that MS Dhoni is from Ranchi. They will tell you,
“No, he is from Chennai”. No one believes that
Suresh Raina is from UP… …they always say,
“He is from Chennai”. The spectators in Chennai are very knowledgeable. Whether you win or lose…
Whoever the player is… …they have a different level of
appreciation for everyone. However… the yellow team…
our Chennai Super Kings… …had a whole host of big
name players initially. Matthew Hayden, Kepler Wessels, the coach…
(Stephen) Fleming … He used to plan for every game differently. Sometimes he would come in as an Army officer,
sometimes as Naval officer… …sometimes he would come in a lungi. – Really?! Stephen Fleming?!
– Definitely. – Wolf in sheep’s clothing, huh?!
– Definitely. Sometimes he would do the ‘haka’. – So… Fleming used to play characters…
– In meetings. … in meetings he used to play characters?!
– Before the season… yes… Army officer… he was very different.
It was a lot of fun. “Come on boys!… Band of Brothers…”
stuff like that. The sort of practice we used to do…
it was quite different… I still remember… In 2008, Matthew Hayden
was making some plans… We were playing against
Kolkata Knight Riders in Chennai… …so we were just discussing some plans. Kepler said, “So, 40 runs in 6 overs
[for the loss of] 2 wickets… or 1.” Haydos (Matthew Hayden) said,
“No mate… 6 overs, 60 (runs), no wickets. From ball 1, I am going to smash
Ishant Sharma over mid-off… …if I get lucky… I’ll keep hitting hard”. We were like… the thinking seems good… …but it’ll be a problem
if we can’t pull it off in this match. So, he changed the perception
within the team at that time… The first six overs are important
in the game… Like Viru bhai… Sachin… Dada… Viru bhai… his approach to hitting
was very unique… Viru bhai had been doing it for a while…
But when Matthew Hayden came in to the IPL… … he totally changed everyone’s
perception of planning. So, I would say that we began preparing
for the 2011 World Cup from 2009 itself. First ball, 6. Next ball, 4.
Bring it on. It was tough to play that Indian team.
We had batting legends in our line-up, from 1 to 8. Down the order, Ashu bhai,
Zaheer bhai, Bhaju pa… …given the opportunity, even
they would go for their shots. During the World Cup…
Paaji, Viru bhai, Virat… everyone… Sachin at the top… he was a great mentor,
a brilliant player… And of course, God! So, there were a couple of incidents
from the World Cup time… …in the match against Pakistan,
we didn’t get our food on time… …because of all the heavy security…
The Prime Ministers… …of both the countries
had come to watch the match. So, Paaji said, “Forget the food… let’s go!
We have a match to win. Grab some bananas or whatever is available
and let’s go… we have to defeat them”. So he was also playing the role
of a mentor … …because there was so much pressure of
playing in India. Wherever we went, all we heard was,
“You must win! Must win!” I still remember something, Ashu bhai had said,
after our loss against South Africa… “You will see… they will applaud us
at Wankhede”. So, despite the failure, he was just looking
for an opportunity, and he said… “This is our opportunity… we lost once,
never again”. And Gary… of course, Gary is… we are both a
Gary Kirsten fan club. – Definitely.
– We both are… what a guy! He is a good man… and on top of that,
he is a very good human being. He always remains calm,
irrespective of the situation… …he always gives importance
to each and every player. And he always believes in process. He never wants to only see results. He believes that if you have a good process,
you are the guy for him. Like how you are talking to me
like an elder brother… Similarly, even Gary bhai was
like an elder brother… And that’s where his greatness lay… …when we won, he was calm and relaxed,
no interviews. Just came and said, “Well done, well played boys.
So happy for you… enjoy the night.” That’s it. Apart from Gary, if anyone can remain unfazed
in both wins and losses… – Then that is MS Dhoni.
– MS Dhoni… absolutely. Despite not wearing sunglasses…
you still cannot tell. Because he doesn’t even wear sunglasses…
His eyes don’t show any emotion. Come on, man… show us some reaction… But he does get angry, you don’t see it.
The cameras don’t pick it up. But, as soon as the telecast cuts to ads,
he’ll go, “Better get your act together.” He does it inconspicuously. We were playing against Pakistan,
Umar Akmal complained about me saying… “Dhoni bhai, look at him (Suresh)…
he is using foul language.” I wasn’t using any foul language. He (Dhoni) asks, “What happened?”
I said, “I’m just needling him… …telling him to score some runs,
They have a target to chase…” Mahi bhai said, “Keep doing it”,
telling me to add more pressure on him. He is very good at reading
the game situation. He is hailed as the world’s best finisher…
he knows what’s going to happen next. At any given point, he is ready with
three different game plans… A, B, C… Be it as a batsman, as keeper, as captain…
he is always ready with different plans. He plans overnight… then gets a feel for it
in the morning and tries to visualize. He makes sure that the conscious mind
understands the subconscious ideas. So, a lot of people don’t
know this about him. Which is why he remains calm, because
he knows that it’s his game at the end of the day. He has created this entire setup…
with his thought process… …by standing by his team and giving players
ample chances to play and succeed. He has a very unique understanding of
the game and game plans… I think he is a chess player
disguised as a cricketer… You can definitely say that… the
opposition can’t predict his next moves… He is known for chasing down targets…
he works really hard, visualises scenarios… With rotating the strike… sometimes,
he will step out and nudge a single… …that’s not his actual game. He is letting
the bowler know that he can take him on. But he isn’t hitting the bowler just yet,
just takes a single… …till he gets a bad ball and hits it for a four.
He plays mind games with the bowler. He toys with them! Ever since your daughter has been born…
so, I know this about you… you’re… A volcano of love just erupted
in your heart… It’s the best feeling… When I saw her for the first time…
Daughters especially are God’s gift… The moment when I saw her for the first time…
that was a different feeling… All the credit goes to Priyanka… Priyanka’s family,
my family… She has done it really proudly. We had already planned
to name her ‘Gracia’… We were planning it since our honeymoon…
we were in Barcelona… We heard “Gracias” a lot of times
in Barcelona… Then, Priyanka said that if we have a daughter,
we will name her Gracia… You were telling me about this shirt…
the GRF. So, this is the foundation
named after your daughter? Yeah, when she (Garcia) was born,
Priyanka had decided that… …she wanted to do something
for our society. A lot of mothers are unaware about
women’s health… …especially in the rural areas…
This is more rampant in Uttar Pradesh… And she (Priyanka) belongs to Meerut… It is very important to spread the awareness… …sometimes needless miscarriages happen… …or sometimes the local doctors aren’t
aware of certain diseases/complications. She is working hard towards improving the
mid-wife culture for the last 8 months. – Wow… that’s great!
– Hopefully something good will come out of it. This is obviously coming from a
very personal place for her… – …so that’s always the best.
– She felt something. She told me, “I really want to help all those women…
they go through a lot during pregnancy.” I said, “I will definitely support you…
if you need money, if you need anything… …If you really want to do it,
please do it.” So, you’ve obviously got very strong
women figures in your life… Because Gaurav bhai, I have not really
spent much time with my mom. When I was very young,
I went to boarding school… …so, I lost contact with my family, sister,
The upbringing with the elder sisters… I have always yearned for
spending time with my family. The moment I met Priyanka…
and when my daughter was born then… …I figured that they were my happiness. Because when I was young, I couldn’t even
travel by myself from Ghaziabad to Delhi… …and then, I suddenly found
myself at a boarding school… …the circumstances were very difficult…
so, I used to always miss my mom. Whenever I spoke to my mom,
I only told her the positive things… …but, sometimes I felt low… because
the environment there was very different. But, I would tell myself that I should make
the most of the opportunity that I’ve been given… Out of 800 kids,
300 were selected from Lucknow… …out of those 300, 25 got selected… out of those 25, 15 were selected.
And among them, I was in the top 5. I have been given this chance
to do what I love… which is playing cricket. And I won’t let the opportunity slip away. My brother supported me… then, my father told me,
“50% cricket… 100% studies”. But, I responded,
“100% cricket… 50% studies”. Let’s sit down and negotiate. In 2000, I got my scholarship. We played a lot of matches in Bombay. Also, I
went to play U-17 tournament in England. Robin (Singh) sir was our coach. It was a good opportunity. Flying to
England for the first time and… …with Robin Singh there giving us
catching practice early in the morning… …experiencing freezing temperatures,
be it in Taunton, Bristol, Nottinghamshire … …it was a great first experience. This was the first time you
went out of the country. Yeah, first international flight. Going for the first time, straight to England,
that too when it was cold. – And a cold cricket ball.
– And our hotel was in the countryside. Sort of a dormitory. And we were bunked up in 2 pairs. So 4 are here, 4 are there.
And the nights there can get a bit spooky. The places there feel haunted and
we were a bunch of scared 15-year-olds. There’s a ghost! There’s a ghost! There a fellow called Abhishek Sharma,
from Delhi. He showed off, “There’s nothing to fear.”
By night time he would go, “I’m feeling scared”. – May I have some?
– Please. I love carrots. I just went to a radish farm in PK’s
(Praveen Kumar) village in UP. The farm was of full of radish He cooked some radish dish. But did you say that dialogue or not? *dialogue* Like having some radish dish
with some red chillies… And then you’re knocked out… So the four years you spent
in Lucknow… …everything in the same campus –
studies, cricket, everything… How many times did you
think about running away? Initially… I was ragged quite a bit… There was ragging even in class 9? Yes… you always got ragged by your
immediate seniors… I didn’t know ragging happened at
such a junior level… But that was a government school… different culture…
it was a difficult time. You had to do all the chores by yourself…
like washing, making your bed… Even during winters… in fact, some of the kids
didn’t even wash their blankets for four years. These were the kind of
unkempt kids I was around. The blanket would stand on its own No, there were no provisions for washing
as such. When I think about it,
there are adequate facilities today. Back then, we knotted the tie once
and used the same for four years. We just washed it as is with Nirma (detergent)
and hung it out to dry. It was the same with the shirts…
stealing someone else’s soap bar… We made do with whatever we got.
Whenever we got late after extra practice… …we would drink milk straight from the buckets…
There would be blades of grass… … No strainers, we would just use a chunni (scarf)
To strain the milk and drink it At that time… we were all like that. All the athletes would measure the rotis
(Indian bread) they would eat like this. One of the wrestlers would be grinding almonds,
someone would be grinding ginger… What is the story behind
liking burnt rotis? So, the deal was… the rotis were prepared
in the mess kitchen… …and there were a lot of kids, playing different
sports, who used to sit in a long corridor. There was a hierarchy in the
sitting arrangement. Seniors sat at the start of the table…
with the coach at the head of the table. And the rotis used to come from there. And we sat at the other end of the table. So by the time it reached us, all we got
were the burnt rotis The cricket players were the nicer lot… …because our coach was good,
he used to talk in English… …although we didn’t really know English. [coach] “Boys, you look good!”
“…what did he say, bro?” There was a guy named Sankata Prasad,
who loved abusing. – What’s his name? Sankata…?
– Sankata Prasad. Poor guy, he has ‘trouble’ in his name itself… He was a devotee of Lord Hanuman…
The seniors would make us roll (exercise)… He [Sankata] would say, “What the @!#!%^”
And… we were like, “Why is he cursing?” It was his habit.
When asked to roll, he would say, “Yes, @!#!%…” Punctuations. He would get slapped for abusing…
it’s called ‘kantap’ in Lucknow. Once the coach asked him about
how his batting was going… …he said, “It’s going great, @!#!%^” “Man, this guy is crazy…”
We asked him why he curses so much… He said, “It just comes out …
because of where I come from.” We said, “Spare us…
you are going to get us beaten up.” He replied,
“I really try, but I can’t help myself.” Because of him, we got punished a lot. We had to stand holding up our beds…
And we would get spanked with our bats… Some kids would wear thigh pads…
They would get beaten even harder. Crazy times. So many different cultures… …different languages, different food…
So it was great fun. Sometimes we would hear
Kishore Kumar songs playing… …if you turned the radio antenna in one direction,
it would be Kishore Da… turn it again… * static * turn it again, another station would be
playing some other nice songs. Are you guys in touch…
are you still friends? Yes… we have a WhatsApp group. Sankata is still the same guy… still abuses.
And I’m like, “It’s high time you changed…” Abuses a lot. There is never enough food in a hostel. Especially, if you are in a sports college
and working hard… Have you ever gate-crashed a wedding
for food? No… The marriages around Tedhi Puliya… Tedhi Puliya… We couldn’t get out…
the gates would be shut. Man, I love these names…
Tedhi Puliya. So, you haven’t eaten food in any of the
marriages around Tedhi Puliya? We didn’t know… Because we had a huge campus…
around 140-150 acres. I remember, there was a Lord Shiva temple
where you would get sweets. So, we used to go there and check
if we could find something. After offering prayers to Lord Hanuman…
When you got out… You would get four pieces of Boondi
(sweetened, fried chickpea flour)… – Those small ones? Exactly four pieces?
– Yes, the small ones. Yes… I mean you would get two-three,
sometimes four… So when you bit in to it and heard that crunch…
that was a special feeling. I think most children go to temples
just for the sweets. Absolutely … I know I definitely went for the Boondi. I would speed through the prayers… …just to get to the sweets. – But… what is there to eat?
– Then there were the 26th January ladoos. What are those?! Back in school… …we used to get a small box with sweets..
a couple of ladoos, gujia etc… …it used to be distributed during our
cultural programme… I used to thoroughly enjoy
eating that as well. There was a tea stall run by Pradeep bhai… It was a culture there – a junior didn’t
have to pay if there was a senior around. So some of the guys went (to the stall),
only when there was a senior. But there were some seniors
who wouldn’t pay. “Brother didn’t pay up.
Now I’m down 20 rupees.” Because the first guy left without paying… We would keep having tea
till another senior came by. It’s like gambling. Have another tea hoping that a senior
would come… …but if doesn’t, then double debt. Is it a real challenge for you… switching
between international and domestic cricket… In our country, there is a gulf of
difference between the two… …for an international match… …you will find the entire city queuing up
outside to watch the match… …whereas when you play domestic cricket,
No one shows up. So that for one has got to be
a strange feeling to deal with. But then there’s the challenge of… … different levels of bowlers …is that a difficult mindshift to change? It’s not actually…
It’s all about how you prepare yourself. You have to keep playing.
Instead of thinking about what’s what. Whatever’s happened is in the past. What’s next?
‘coz you see, we don’t live in the present. We always think about the past.
These things tend to stay in your mind… But if you work hard and enjoy yourself… I think enjoyment is the key…
because I like to enjoy my cricket. I just have fun playing… When I enjoy myself, I tend to give my best. There is no elevator to success,
you have to climb the stairs. So, it’s important to see how
you go about doing that… …that also requires preparation,
it’s a challenge. But you enjoy life more when it throws
a challenge at you. It is not an easy game.
You have to work hard.. …pile up the runs in the
Ranji Trophy to be selected … People, the media will always say things
but, it is more about how you enjoy yourself. How you enjoy the successes with your
loved ones, family, friends and buddies… …you can always remember
the good times… He has played for India, he is a World Cup winner,
Champions Trophy winner, he has played with Sachin. So my folks are happy with these achievements… – …he has batted with Paaji.
– Absolutely. I have money… Family, which is important,
everything is great… But yes, inside me there still is
a passion to play for India again A real fighter is one who bounces back… Everyone has done it, Yuvraj has done it…
The way he came back inspired so many of us… Ashish Nehra has played at the age of 38… …so many other players as well. You just have to keep working hard…
Sooner or later, you’ll play. If not today, then tomorrow.
Or the day after… … maybe in 10 days, maybe in 10 months…
But eventually, they’ve got to select you. They will have to select you…
because we are here to play the game.