Interview of Cricket Fans (ICF) – 29
Thank you so much Vinesh for your participation in this interview, tell us how long have you been following Cricket.
My earliest memory associated with Cricket was in 1998 when Sachin Tendulkar was clobbering the Australian bowlers all around Sharjah. We call it the desert storm now! I was only 3 & a half years back then and I remember I wanted to pronounce the name ‘Tendulkar’ but couldn’t do it. So I used to call him ‘Innukal’. And then there was no looking back.
How does it feel to have met so many cricketers?
It feels great to have so many cricketers. The feeling is surreal. It’s like the people whom I used to watch on television as a kid, were right in front of me and I could tell them how much I loved and adored them. Also, many people in India are Cricket fanatics and want to meet cricketers but don’t get the opportunity. So, I even consider myself lucky to have rubbed shoulders with my childhood heroes.
What are the total number of cricketers that you have met till now?
Hahahaha, I haven’t counted yet but from 2010 till 2020, I must have at least met around 150-200 cricketers.
Would you like to share couple of stories when you met any of them?
M.S.Dhoni was the very first cricketer I ever met. I was 15 back then. Had won a contest. I clearly remember meeting him at Mehboob Studios in Mumbai when he was shooting for a brand. He was so tired that he told me let’s sit on the floor and interact. That’s MSD for you. Humble yet so classy. I interacted for good 10 mins with him. I even wished him for the 2011 World Cup which he ultimately won it for us. One of the best days of my life.
In 2017, someone very close to M.S.Dhoni made me meet him again at Trident hotel. It was supposed to happen on the floor of the suite where he stayed (this was just before MI vs RPS game). But Dhoni entered the lift and I too had to go inside. There were 7 RPS players including him. I remember taking out my phone for a selfie and my friend who was waiting for me at Wankhede was repeatedly calling me. So Dhoni looked at me and said – Girlfriend call kar rahi hogi na? Uthaa le… to which I replied – Nahi sir, single hoon, dost stadium main wait kar raha hai.
Then I clicked couple of pictures in the lift and seized the moment.
On 8th November 2017, MCA had organised a huge gathering at the MCA Club in BKC to commemorate Mumbai’s 500th test match. Chief guest was none other than Sachin Tendulkar. There were hundreds who wanted to meet him but the security was tight and then he left from the function. 20 mins later, my aunt who was present at the MCA club called me up saying – Come on the second floor, there is a surprise waiting for you. I didn’t know what it was and I just went there. As soon as I reached second floor, what do I see? SACHIN RAMESH TENDULKAR standing right in front of me outside his room, alone and without any security. I froze. My childhood was in front of me. I gave him a bear hug, he gave me an autograph and we clicked pictures as well. You sometimes love your life when it gives surprises like these.
I always wanted to meet Virat Kohli. In 2017, the Indian Team was supposed to leave for Sri Lanka for a series. They were to assemble in a hotel in Mumbai and then leave together. My friend and I saw Virat’s Instagram post saying that he is enroute Mumbai. So we went to the hotel and waited for him. I have this habit of constantly pulling my friend’s leg and saying – Arey woh dekh Virat aaya! And he would get up excited only to get fooled by me. I did that 3-4 times in those 3 hours. Then something happened which we didn’t even imagine. Virat Kohli actually turned up there without any security. Checked in like a common man. My friend and I just ran towards him. He was almost inside the lift when I put my hands and stopped it. We told him to come out and pose for pictures since we were waiting for a long time. And guess what, Virat obliged. He signed my friend’s jersey as well. That day onwards, my respect for Virat increased by leaps and bounds. He loves his fans like no one else.
I don’t need to ask you whether you got an opportunity to watch a cricket match live in a stadium, but I can definitely ask you how many total number of times have you watched.
Also, have you watched an international match apart from Wankhede Stadium?
I first watched a Cricket match live in 2010 which was the IPL final between Mumbai Indians and CSK.
Over the past 10 years, I must have watched around 25-30 IPL games and 10-12 India matches only at Wankhede.
Apart from Mumbai, I have also watched a game at Rajkot (GL vs RCB) and Raipur (CLT20 game)
Who are the cricketers that you like but couldn’t get an opportunity to click a picture with?
Wasim Akram, Shane Warne, Viv Richards, Steve Smith
For this final question, tell us your dream team with respect to the cricketers that you have clicked a photo with.