Friday, November 20, 2009


Salil Ankola: Tendulkar loves fried Bombil fish

SALIL ANKOLA Casts His Mind Back To The Early Days, Recalling Sachin’s Passion For Good Food And The Tendency To Sleepwalk...

Celebrating Sachin Tendulkar’s 20 glorious years is such a joy for me. It reminds me of my own early days too. Now that I look back, I am reminded of the time when we were both kids. While Sachin was a star even then, having scored a century on his Ranji Trophy debut, I had taken a few wickets myself. But he played for Mumbai while I played for Maharashtra.

Having heard so much about him, I was eager to meet Sachin, and finally came across him during a match in Aurangabad. He was so gentle, yet such a solid player when it came to batting. Nothing seemed to trouble him. Soon, we would be travelling together, on a trip to the West Indies with the U-22 team.

The real connect, however, was made when we attended a training camp and spent close to a month together. We shared a common passion for good food. Off the field, we used to get together and with a few others and talk about nothing but food! Sachin loves to have the fried bombil fish.

The one incident that made me understand his level of commitment and focus came 20 years ago, during Sachin’s debut tour to Pakistan in 1989. At Sialkot, Sachin was caught sleepwalking at the team hotel. He had been very anxious about some new bats which he had ordered, which were to be delivered the next day. A little after midnight, he sleepwalked, eyes closed, into Maninder Singh’s room to ask, ‘‘Mere bats aaye kya? Maine mangaye the (Have my bats come? I had asked for them).’’ The young genius was put back to sleep and the next morning we all laughed off the incident. Today, this story is part of cricket folklore. Something that tells us about what it takes to be a genius!

(Pace bowler Salil Ankola played one Test and 20 ODIs for India is now a television actor)

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