Tour Diary: Star commentators, meeting a legend and a special fan
Watching RR-CSK with Dravid mock commentating, catching up with Prakash Padukone and smiling after a player's dad joins the RC fan club.
Watching the IPL with RCB stars
It was akin to following a match at home. Seven guys sitting around the TV, munching on a sandwich, sipping an energy drink, offering an opinion as the cricket unfolded on screen. Except the setting was the pavilion of the Chinnaswamy stadium, and the six others sitting around me went by the names Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble, Dale Steyn, coach Ray Jennings, Evan Speechly (Physio) and Ramesh Mane 'Kaka' (Masseur).
Rajasthan Royals were toying with Chennai Super Kings and even as RCB's other players sweated it out on the ground, a cricketing insight on the match on TV came from the greats every few balls.
Rahul started it, and understandably so. Having found great form in the practise match, he was relaxed and with the TV on mute, he turned commentator, the fun sort. You can read one of his comments here: http://www.royalchallengers.com/chief-blogger/overheard-part-6
Anil then waxed eloquent about Suresh Raina's ability to hit sixes without ever stepping out of his crease. As he raised a 'warning' about the relevance of that tactic against Shane, Raina was bowled, and Anil smiled a knowing smile.
In the midst of all this was Dale Steyn's aahs of relief, as Evan worked his ankles and lower back. Coach offered a few gems of his own, cracking up everyone in the room. It's a great dressing room to be in, this one.
One great to another
Venkat Vardhan's (owner of DNA entertainment) elegant house would have been the envy of all and sundry in Bangalore on Sunday night, Glittering as it was with the presence of the entire RCB team, there was another sportsperson of yore, who stood out in a cricket heavy crowd.
I didn't come across him till we'd gotten to dessert, and in hindsight, I might have missed the opportunity if it hadn't been for that second helping of kheer. I turned around, and blinked. In the second it took me to realize the enormity of the moment, I muttered, "Good evening, how are you?". "Very well", and a smile was Prakash Padukone's reaction.
We chatted a bit, and I took an appointment to see him on Monday. It was there that I realised a part of what went into the making of a champion. His office at the Tata Padukone academy was sparse, and spotless.
A sepia toned family photo lent class to the table and as he spoke, his half-open drawer revealed there was no place for messy stationery either. Every diary had its space.
He took down notes for our discussion, and at the end, as we were leaving, we noticed the used paper being immediately dispatched to the dust bin.
Meticulous came to my mind immediately. I guess it's what they call learning from the legends
Roelof's dad is here!
While browsing through the comments on my Challenger of the Day section with Roelof Van Der Merwe (http://www.royalchallengers.com/chief-blogger/challenger-of-the-day-roelof-van-der-merwe), I came across something unusual.
This is what it said, " THIS IS MY BOY,I AM A PROUD DAD SITTING HERE IN SOUTH AFRICA AND SUPPORT RCB WHO BECAME MY SECOND SIDE AFTER THE PROTEAS—GO ROELA GO"
Excitedly, I checked the profile, but the location said Chandigarh. I was hoping it wasn't spam, and sure enough, when I spoke to Roelof about it, he texted his father, nodded and hi-fived.
Ladies and gentlemen, let's welcome Mr. Van Der Merwe Sr (Username: "Roela" which is also Roelof's nickname) to the fan club!
It's getting exciting in here!