These and many more anecdotes both on and off the field from the cricketers themselves form part of a new book "Caught and Told" by Sandeep Patil and Clayton Murzello.
"My habit of sleepwalking has given others a lot of sleepless nights, but nothing more than my habit of talking while in my sleep", writes batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar. As his roommate during his debut tour of Pakistan in 1989, Kiran More heard him shout more than once in his sleep: "Maro, maro, thats a four". What shocked him more was that during one these spells, "I even broke my bracelet", Tendulkar writes.
If Tendulkar writes about his habits, Saurav Ganguly recalls about the "bully" that Tendulkar and Vinod Kambli were. "At the national under-15 camp in Indore, there were no greater bullies than Sachin Tendulkar and Vinod Kambli", writes Ganguly. He recalls how his room in the stadium where they were staying was flooded and realized that Sachin and Kambli were at it again taking revenge for a small argument.
His first Test with the Australian accent ended in a disaster, admits Anshuman Gaikwad. Taken aback at the unusual query from an Australian official at the Melbourne Cricket ground when he reached as replacement for Surinder Amarnath in 1977-78, Anshuman Gaekwad said a firm "No". "Have you come here to die?, the Aussie, however, asked the same question again and it was Captain Bishen Singh Bedi who came to the rescue and told Gaekwad that what the officer was asking was "have you come here today?", Gaekwad recalls.
The great thing about cricket is that it produces so many characters and so many funny moments, says Greg Chappel in his foreword. Whilst cricket has become more of a game of statistics these days, it has really been more of a game of stories, he says. "I think the folklore of the game has survived and the game is richer because of its characters and stories," Chappel says.
Former India coach John Wright recalls how he was embarrassed when he once asked Harbhajan Singh during a camp in Chennai in 2001 to run a few laps on the ground and rushed to the pavilion to take a call from the BCCI. "When I returned to the nets, I started looking for Bhajji and was told that he was still running. That was nearly 90 minutes after I got that telephone call!" Wright says.
Gideon Haigh had this to say on introduction of Sunil Gavaskar when his team was honoured by the West Australia Cricket Association (WACA) in 1980-81. The master of the ceremonies began saying.." I would now like to welcome a man small of stature but a giant among crickets. Indias greatest batsman, perhaps the best player in the world at the present time" Ladies and gentlemen, could you please put your hands together for "Sir Neil Gavaskar!"
Virender Sehwag recalls when Harbhajan Singh found a nice way of beating boredom on tour to Sri Lanka in 2002 as he went around wearing a dreadful mask to every room on his floor. Sourav Ganguly and his wife Dona screamed at the sight while Rahul Dravid almost dropped dead in fear!
Tendulkar also remembers when he challenged Vinod Kambli to wear a skirt during one of the Cooch Behar trophy tours and how the irrepressible Vinod did not think twice and was all over the streets of Ahmedabad wearing a skirt. He removed it only when they returned to the hotel at 11 pm!.
And beat this, one of the best fast bowlers India has ever produced Sanjay Manjrekar, once asked Gavaskar, "Sir, when you faced the fast bowlers from the West Indies, did you ever see the ball?" Gavaskar's reply is not mentioned, but the statistics state that by then he had scored 13 of his 34 centuries against the West Indies!
(About the book: Caught & Told, Humorous Cricketing Anecdotes, by Sandeep Patil and Clayton Murzello, Roli Books, pages 120, price Rs.195/-)