What happens when two famous personalities meet on a talk show? Well, one gets to know many secrets. Something similar happened when one of India’s best cricketers Suresh Raina and the ace podcaster Salil Acharya met and bonded over Spotify’s podcast #OffScriptWithSalil.
In a candid conversation with Outlook’s Eshita Bhargava, veteran cricketer Suresh Raina and RJ, actor and podcast host Salil Acharya spoke about fatherhood, their journey, factors that played important roles in Suresh’s career, his favourite cricketer, and much more.
Excerpts from the interview:
Tell us something about your journey.
Suresh Raina: My father was in the army and we learned to live a disciplined life. He taught me to see the positive side in even the smallest opportunity life offers. Cricket has been my first love. I completed my education but was never interested in studying.
Salil Acharya: Well, to crack two decades, in a nutshell, is tough but let’s put it this way if someone had told me that I’d still be on TV and radio and still have a blast, I would have thought they are mad. However, I have worked hard for it and radio has given my work relevance and I feel my voice will be heard, podcasting has allowed me to break the mould that exists and television has helped me to stay in shape and go to the gym and just basically continue staying groomed. I can’t live without any of them and they’re my elixir for life.
Suresh, what are the factors that played important role in the success of your career?
Suresh Raina: I came from a strict background and I’ve lived in a hostel all my life – the training I received really helped me to become what I am today. I feel, sometimes we learn more from our failures than from our success. Everything I have been through, every small match I have played has helped me become better every day.
Tell us something about #OffscriptwithSalil. What made you come up with it?
Salil Acharya: I feel there was this vacant conversational space that existed in the electronic media. I gave it a thought and noticed that having a conversation with so many people, some famous and some not as famous as the most interesting space. Everyone has a story to tell, their side of it that others may not have wanted to hear and because I’ve been working in the sound space for so long, I did think that this was right up my alley and thankfully a few important people around me thought so, as well. I love to bring variation in my content.
One thing you love about your professions?
Suresh Raina: Cricket is not just a profession for me, it’s been, my childhood love. From batting to bowling, to fielding, I thoroughly enjoy playing cricket.
Salil Acharya: The freedom it allows to express myself, my opinions my likes and dislikes and the freedom I get to disagree with popular narratives.
What keeps you going?
Suresh Raina: The fact that I play for my country has been the biggest motivation for me.
Salil Acharya: Everything, the work, the people, the ability to be your own boss, and the fact that I can work forever.
Spill some beans about what you do when you enter to play a match.
We do a certain thing and if the match goes well - We (sportsmen) do tend to follow it regularly to a point that it becomes a habit. For me, it is putting my right foot first when I enter the ground to play a match.
How has fatherhood changed things for you both?
Suresh Raina: It is perhaps the most fulfilling aspect of my life. I enjoy spending time with my kids, learning new things with them. I am waiting for them to grow up, to hear their views about my game, and career.
Salil Acharya: It’s my world now, the world I need to provide for, the world I long for and just the biggest joy for me. It has also been a great process of learning and unlearning for me.
What has been the turning point in your career and how has your background helped you become an all-rounder?
Suresh Raina: When I went to play my first international cricket tournament – I realised the weather was different, the ground was different. I trained myself to control my movements, improve my game and expand my horizons. Being paid well, also helped me invest better in my fitness, doctors, physiotherapist, which in turn helped me get better with my game. My background of playing in my village, my training in the hostel has helped me adapt to various situations, I have found myself in, in my career.
Your favourite cricketer?
Suresh Raina: Rahul Dravid has been my role model; I also look up to Sachin Tendulkar Sir.
What did you enjoy the most? Being an actor, a VJ, RJ?
Salil Acharya: All of it, I can’t be one without the other and everything has helped me become better at my job.
3 things about each other no one else would know.
Salil Acharya: I hate partying, I am not a big fan of socialising, I love to sleep, for days when I can sleep for more than 5 hours, make me the happiest.
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