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Tendulkar's secret love revealed!

india Updated: Aug 22, 2006 18:28 IST
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Sachin Tendulkar's secret love for 'haleem' - a mutton delicacy prepared with wheat - was revealed during his stay in Colombo.

This was a pleasant surprise for Taj Samudra Sous Chef Pawan Singh Rana, a Tendulkar fan, who also saw S. Sreesanth savouring 'chaat' and Yuvraj Singh enjoying 'saag bhutta'.

"I had prepared 'haleem' without knowing that Sachin also likes it. But when I served it to Ajay Jadeja, he asked me to quickly send it to Sachin's room as he loves it," Rana said.

"I called him up. Although he was about to leave for dinner outside the hotel, he tasted it and relished it," said Rana, who belongs to Himachal Pradesh in India.

Mutton, wheat, ghee, 'kesar' (saffron) and salt are used as ingredients for preparing 'haleem', a popular dish in India and Pakistan.

Former India One-Day Series (ODI) captain Jadeja, who was as an expert for a television channel, should know all about the eating habits of Tendulkar as they once shared the dressing room and are good friends. Also, some years ago Tendulkar had cooked 'baigan ka bharta' at Jadeja's New Delhi residence.

Other Indian players also enjoyed their food as they either frequented Navratna, an Indian restaurant in Taj Samudra, or simply ordered food in their rooms.

"But whenever Sreesanth comes down to the restaurant he orders 'chaat'. He also loves 'gol-gappas', 'bhel puri' and 'papri chaat'," said Rana, who has been with the hotel for over a year.

Punjab players Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh and Dinesh Mongia prefer the food that is popular in their state.

"They always order 'saag-bhutta', 'baigan bharta', 'kachche mirch paneer' or 'dal navratna'," said Rana.

He said that the team as a whole liked the vegetarian 'thali', which comprised assorted dishes, roti and rice.

"When they do not feel like going to the restaurant they order a 'thali' in their rooms. Vice-captain Virender Sehwag and his wife (Aarti) especially like the thali, which they invariably order."

Although captain Rahul Dravid rarely visited the Navratna restaurant, he also enjoyed the Indian food.

However, Rana, who had served the Indian team when it visited Colombo for the Indian Oil Cup last year, noted a distinct lack of enthusiasm and cheerfulness among the players.

"This time they look a bit different from last year, when they would just barge into the restaurant and say 'Pawanji, just get us anything quickly, we are hungry'," he said.

"Whether it was the bomb blast of August 14 or not playing matches, they look subdued. The day the bomb blast happened, no one came down to the restaurant and ordered food in their rooms."

Seven people were killed in the blast less then three kilometres from Taj Samudra. South Africa, the third in the Unitech Cup Triangular Series, pulled out because of security reasons, and India and Sri Lanka agreed to play three one-day internationals.

But persistent rains washed out the first two matches, forcing the two cricket boards to scrap the series.

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