November 2, 2012

Indian cricket

Muesli, the secret of Tendulkar's energy?

Nikita Bastian
Tendulkar gets some lunch after the practice session, 
at the Kinrara Academy Oval, Kuala Lumpur, September 19, 2006
Sachin Tendulkar: "Sometimes it's good to eat whatever you like and not think of the results"  © AFP
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Remember Sachin Tendulkar's brief but brutal attack against Glenn McGrath in the quarter-final of the Champions Trophy in 2000? Ever wondered erm … what he ate for breakfast that day? He had muesli, it turns out. Tendulkar revealed as much at a book launch in Mumbai on Thursday: "Muesli; the aggression builds up gradually."

He also said that he loves Japanese cuisine, snails are not quite to his taste and he fancies barbequing in the wild - as he did with the rest of the Indian team on tour to Zimbabwe in 2001. Talking about the outing, Tendulkar said: "We went to a game reserve and we cooked for ourselves in the middle of a jungle. It was a beautiful barbecue. That experience of being in the middle of a jungle, making your own food and mingling with your team-mates … it was an experience."

And yes, if you've heard the story of Tendulkar only eating ice cream mid-innings during that India-Pakistan clash at the 2003 World Cup, we can confirm it's true. "I had a big bowl of ice cream and nothing else. I had my earphones on and I didn't want to listen to anyone as I knew what was needed," Tendulkar said of the match. "I just informed the ground staff to let me know when the umpires walk out. When they did, I just removed my earphones and walked out. In the meanwhile, the ice cream was quite good."

Tendulkar does dabble in the kitchen at home, and seafood seems to be on the menu a lot when he cooks. "Sometimes I do cook breakfast for [daughter] Sara, [son] Arjun and [wife] Anjali," Tendulkar said. "Earlier it was on a regular basis, but now it's only on special occasions. I cook various things like prawn masala and stuff that I learnt from my mother. At times I have tried cooking fish curry for Anjali using [his mother's] recipes, and Anjali told me it's the best fish curry she has had in her life."

Of course, if you play professional cricket for over two decades, you must know a thing or two about eating right, and Tendulkar spoke about his routines: "As soon as you come in to the dressing room, you must eat carbs within 45 minutes, as the muscles are tired and that's when the absorption takes place. Protein for dinner is ideal. That's the route I fellow.

"But it also depends on the conditions. I remember during the World Cup, we played against Australia in Ahmedabad and it was really, really hot. For two three days before the match, I went on a vegetarian diet and had bland food like curd rice and coconut water. I wanted to flush out all the spice from my system."

Lastly, if you happen stop by his restaurant, be sure to try the Lamb Curry and Rice. Tendulkar explained how the dish came to be on the menu: "I was in Jamaica and I ordered Lamb Curry and Rice, and it was simply delicious. I ended up eating it four days in a row. I told the chef, 'Can you please share the recipe; I can't leave Jamaica without knowing the recipe and every time I want to have it, I can't come to Jamaica.'"

Nikita Bastian is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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