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 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 V.V.S. 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. He would even be the last to board the team bus,” Ganguly said.
The show also featured India coach Anil Kumble, Kapil Dev and Virender Sehwag.
"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 did 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.”
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.”
"We were chasing 325 in England (Natwest Series final 2002) and I remember Viru whistling down the staircase. When I used to walk in to bat with him I used to say 'thoda sa defend karle tu century banayega (defend initially, you'll get a big score). But then I thought it is best to let players express themselves," Ganguly recalled.
To that Sehwag waxed eloquent about his captain, saying a successful player has to have a successful skipper to back him.
"I never had fear because my captain (Ganguly) would always back me. I also knew that the batsmen after me were all great. The likes of Rahul (Dravid), Sachin (Tendulkar), Sourav (Ganguly), (VVS) Laxman, M.S. Dhoni were there, so I could relax," Sehwag said.
"I remember when I went to England I was going through a rough patch. Sourav then walked up to me and said he is with me come what may and that I won't be dropped. Certain captains back certain players. You need that backing."
Joining Ganguly Former Captain Kapil Dev spilt the beans on two batsmen "most handsome batsmen staying rough” in the dressing room.
"You won’t believe the two most handsome men in our team stayed the most unclean,” said the legend.
"He (Sidhu) would somehow pack his bag throwing the clothes inside it. And Ajay too was not the most cleanest.”
Kapil also lamented that during his cricketing days, selectors used to call the shots and not the captains as it happens nowadays.
Answering points made by dashing former Sehwag that behind every successful players is the backing of his captain, Kapil, who captained India to World Cup glory in 1983, said, "I think during our time, behind a successful player there needed (to be) a successful selector.”
"It happens now that the captain is the boss. In our time, in one generation 6-7 captains were playing. I hoped selectors would have changed during that point and new selectors would come who would give the responsibility to the captain and his job is over,” Kapil said.
"You play one bad shot and you’re out of the team. Now you play 10 bad shots but still have your chance because the captain is backing you. This can happen now, but not in our time.”
Earlier, the former all-rounder rung the bell just before the Indian and New Zealand teams walked out for the national anthem on the opening day of the second Test yesterday. The ringing of the five-minute bell, introduced at Lord’s, is a ritual started in 2007.