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Wednesday, Aug 21, 2019

Indian cricket team demands chicken rezala, daal makhani on their plate in SA

Virat Kohli’s Indian cricket team has been resurgent, winning the final Test in the series loss before dominating the ODI series, but there has been some added spice on their plates too

cricket Updated: Feb 17, 2018 12:57 IST
Khurram Habib
Khurram Habib
The Indian cricket team has been dominant in the six-match ODI series in South Africa, wining it 5-1 against the Proteas.
The Indian cricket team has been dominant in the six-match ODI series in South Africa, wining it 5-1 against the Proteas.(AP)

The Indian team that is constantly on the move and is virtually living out of a suitcase almost always prefers food that tastes, smells and feels Indian, even in the dressing room on a match-day. (IND v SA 6th ODI HIGHLIGHTS)

An incident from the 2014-15 tour of Australia shows how Indian cricketers are particular about their choice of food. Ishant Sharma and Suresh Raina went out of the stadium during the Gabba Test to buy food, unhappy with the fare in the dressing room provided by the match organisers. (IND v SA 6th ODI SCORECARD)

The issue cropped up here too when a local South African caterer, tasked with providing food in the dressing rooms, was removed and an Indian restaurant -- Geet restaurant from Pretoria -- was hired.

Here is what India have been served at Centurion
Done by local caterer for both teams
Homemade Granola, All bran flakes, Future life high protein cereal, muesli and milo cereal, double thick Greek yoghurt, fat-free milk and almond milk, fresh fruits, dried fruits, biltong dried wors (basically dried meat), mix roast nuts, tea/coffee. (The Indians have asked for an omelette station in addition).
Non-breakfast meals for India (done by Geet restaurant)
Non-veg: Chicken rezala (replaced by Chicken Alleppey for Friday’s final ODI); Lamb Seyal (a dish of cubed meat cooked in spices)
Vegetarian: At least two types of Dal (including daal makhani), palak paneer, goli masala (greens steamed and mashed and stuffed with cheese etc), butter naan, basmati rice.
Also Khurmani ki tikki (Khoobani ki tikki; apricot-filled potato cake or aloo tikki with yoghurt and tamarind chutney) was served last time here. India said don’t need a sweet dish this time.
(For South Africa)
In the changeroom: Fruits, low fat yoghurt, breads, peanut butter, boiled eggs, cheese, tomatoes, jams, butter, granola bars, flavoured milk.
Lunch: Roast leg of lamb sliced in jus, lemon and herb roasted chicken pieces, Napolitano baked line fish, caramelised basmati rice, baked sweet potatoes, Mediterranean baked vegetables.
Dessert: Sugar free Fudge Ice-cream with fresh cut fruits
Post-match: Chocolate flavoured milk, chicken and beef prego rolls, pita with hummus and falafel.

The local caterer now caters only to the South Africa dressing room.

In other venues too, local caterers – non-Indian – were kept away and Indian restaurants were hired to supply the main meals.

“The players were unhappy with the local caterer here. So, we were hired and they are enjoying and liking it. We only cater to the dressing room and to the officials accompanying the Indian team,” said a manager of Geet restaurant. The hotel supplied food for matches at Johannesburg too.

A local caterer at a venue, who didn’t wish to be identified, said they have never had issues with other visiting teams, including Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Only the India team insists on food cooked like at home, he said.

Another local caterer said though they give an option for supplying vegetarian fare in the dressing room, and some cooked Indian style, India players don’t like it, probably because it can’t match the aroma and taste of food made in Indian restaurants. “That is the only reason we can think of. Otherwise, none of the other teams have had issues,” he said.

The issue over catering is only for the dressing room – on match-days and at practice on days preceding the game.

First Published: Feb 17, 2018 09:39 IST

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