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Michael Kasprowicz - Kasper calling

From a simple pillow to food, touring India is full of challenges, feels Kasprowicz

Saturday, October 31, 2021
Wonder that is India

From the rather comfortable view I have from the Nimbus commentary box, I have been observing not only some great cricket but also great change in the touring life in India. India was one of the great experiences of my life. My tours to India provided greatest challenges both on and off the cricket field.

Life on an Australian One-day cricket tour forms a three-day cycle, which consists of simply travel, training and then playing. Whilst playing against the best players in the world is a tough, the following provided the other challenges on tour that now appear to have changed on an Indian cricket tour today.

Let’s start with the food. Personally, I love Indian food — the spicier the better with the ‘Sougie’ chicken from Nagpur hitting the spot. Or perhaps the fresh ‘Paneer Palak’ in Mohali is proving to be a personal favorite of mine.

Most of the team embarked on the culinary expedition in discovering new tastes. However, some would simply stay with what they knew. Shane Warne famously shipped in baked beans and canned spaghetti on the 1998 tour whilst Jason Gillespie would simply refuse to try anything spicier than tomato sauce. The humble omelette became his staple meal and he used to go around saying that he had eaten so many eggs that he will turn into a ‘chook’ (Australian term for a chicken).

It seemed that everyone fell ill at some stage, which was not a great preparation before a Test match to be played in 38 degree Celsius. This is what contributed to the almighty challenge of playing in India.

The next challenge to deal on ‘tour’ is the hotel pillow. Just like a person’s fingerprint, which is never identical, finding a good pillow and waking up without a sore neck proved tough work. Shane Watson has addressed this by bringing his own pillow from home, which makes perfect sense.

Finally, how do the players occupy themselves in the little downtime available on tour? Steve Waugh would bring a camera and Matthew Hayden a ‘breadmaker’ but most brought DVD’s and music, whereas today the players bring a rather nifty device in the Playstation 3. It is the perfect downtime machine in that it contains all your movies, thousands of songs and you can play games against your other highly competitive teammates all in the comfort of your own hotel room.

Things might have changed since I last toured India but then again, there is still the heat, and there is still the most enthusiastic crowd in the world. There is one other thing that is still there and should never change and his name is ‘Tendulkar’.