When Sourav Ganguly sent home-cooked food to Inzamam-ul-Haq
A hoarding carrying a promotional banner of Sourav Ganguly (left) and Inzamam-ul-Haq. (Photo courtesy: Getty Images)

A day after India registered their sixth Asia Cup title; Aaj Tak hosted Salaam Cricket Conclave at Hotel Maurya, New Delhi. Top cricket dignitaries made their presence at the venue. Speaking about the intense India-Pakistan clashes, former Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly walked down memory lane alongside his Pakistan counterpart Inzamam-ul-Haq.

The talks about intense clashes gave away to anecdotes about camaraderie that the players of the teams carried. When asked about the rivalry, Inzamam recalled the time ahead of Pakistan’s tour of India in 2005 when he had come down to Kolkata to shoot for an ad alongside Ganguly.

Inzamam revealed, “I was staying in a hotel in Kolkata during the shooting but the food always came from Sourav’s home.”

Ganguly went on to praise the hospitality the Indian side received during their tour to Pakistan in 2004. “That was one of the best tours of my cricket career. I have rarely seen hospitality like that on and off the field. The people were great, the facilities and food was excellent. I want India to make more such tours. It’s also great for batsmen because they have some of the flattest pitches in the world,” Ganguly said.

While Ganguly praised Pakistan’s hospitality the Indian side received in Pakistan in 2004, Inzamam said that the Indians, too, reciprocated the same the following year when Pakistan had come for a tour. Inzamam said that no restaurants or shopping centres charged him or any of his players, and sometimes that would be embarrassing.

That is not all, Ganguly also requested Inzamam to bring bats for him from Pakistan and the latter gleefully obliged. Ganguly said, “Sialkot in Pakistan and Meerut in India produce great bats. I thought if Inzi-bhai can hit those monster sixes using bats made there, I would also like to try them and hit a few.”

Mind you, they were two skippers of arch-rivals teams and when on ground, the pressure was immense but off field shared an interesting chemistry that is bound to win hearts of fans across borders. The two cricket greats, who are known for their leadership and mammoth six hitting, are despised for their running between the wickets

They continue to bond over food, and of course, cricket. In days to come, in All-Star Cricket or MCL, we may get to see them on the field together, maybe once against each other or for that most anticipated moment — the two running together.