#CricketDiaries Ep 4 | Azharuddin, V.Prasad, Sanjay | 1996 Bengaluru, Chinnaswamy | ViuIndia


The way Azhar spoke now, this is his style. Even in team meetings if he got angry,
he would be like “What is this? This is not done. I mean, you guys
are not backing up. You got…” That was enough. I like the way you shaked your head. [rock music playing] Aparshakti: Any India vs. Pakistan match
is not just a match, it’s an emotion. The 1996 World Cup quarter final at
the Chinnaswamy stadium was one such match. This match was no less than
a Bollywood movie. It was high on drama, emotions
and was an action-packed event. India’s aggressive batting assault,
sensational bowling and Prasad and Aamer Sohail’s
intense verbal exchange made this match unforgettable. In Cricket Diaries, today,
the three legends of this epic match will tell us what went on within
and beyond the boundary. To relive the moments from 19th March 1996 Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru,
we have with us today Sanjay Manjrekar, Mohammad Azharuddin
and Venkatesh Prasad. Welcome. How are you? – Thank you. Perfect.
– Good. So, the thing is, I think,
when everyone was growing up I mean, aspiring cricketers…
This match was everyone’s favorite. And even today, people talk about this match. People talk about your moment.
What was the atmosphere? We had equal pressure off the field
as well as on field. When we won the match against Zimbabwe
and returned to Bengaluru we had two days of break in between. – Aparshakti: Yeah.
– We had a lot of pressure on us. I think people might have already told you
about the passes. That’s how it started. Everything started with a pass. Even the waiters would ask
“Mr. Azhar, give us passes.” They wanted not one but many passes. So that was a huge pressure that the person doesn’t feel like going back
to room. Because everyone wanted passes… But, I think, this match of the 1996
World Cup was the best of all. I have never seen such a tense match. – Such tension…
– Aparshakti: It looked like a final to us. There was a lot of tension.
As a captain and a player… Also our players were very tense. I had never played in such a situation. But actually when we went for the warm up… During the pre-match lap,
the stadium was almost full. Almost two hours were left
for the match to start. Aparshakti: Yeah and 50 thousand
people were already there. The kind of atmosphere there was
and the applause we received while taking rounds made us feel
we had already won the match. The atmosphere in Sharjah which was all pro-Pakistan was replicated
here, except that here it was pro-India. I was wondering when Ajay Jadeja told me
“It’s difficult to beat us today. – Because they have to beat the crowd too”
– Yeah… – Wow!
– Prasad: But that was an eventful match I would say.
Because normally what used to happen was the Bangalore boys or the people who are from that place,
they tend to stay back at home and they come to the hotel
before the meeting. So, for me, it was an eventful day for the simple reason that I was there
near the hotel to get into the meeting but there was so much traffic on the road. And I thought that I’m going to be late and that was the initial stage
of my international career. I had not even played
a single test match by then. – Aparshakti: Wow!
– We, you know, are on time whether we have to go by a bus or… – Every minute counts there.
– Prasad: Absolutely… If we were late, even if Azharuddin
as a captain, got late a hefty fine would be levied… Yes, absolutely. …of 50 dollars or 100 dollars
for each minute of delay. – Oh, wow!
– Yeah, so I had to literally get down and I was just a kilometer from the hotel
and I had to get down from my vehicle and had to run so that I am on time
for the team meeting. – Oh, wow!
– As somebody who has come into the team as a newcomer, you have to be there on time. – As soon as you said “I had to run”…
– Otherwise we will be judged by the seniors. – I didn’t…
– You… I don’t understand.
He pointed to me when he said “the seniors”. The senior is here. The latecomer
would struggle to be on the dot. Ajay Jadeja used to run
and get into the bus. – Wow!
– Because I was his room partner and at call time… It’s called call time
these days. What did we call it those days? – Bus will leave…
– Bus will leave… …at 5:30 a.m. and his alarm
would ring at 5:20 a.m. – What are you saying?
– I’m not kidding. I’ve shared room with him. And in five minutes
he used to do everything… – Aparshakti: Yeah.
– …and get into the bus at 5:30 a.m. Was he a strict captain? No. He wasn’t strict at all
but we used to be scared actually. For a formality and, you know… Just imagine, if Sanjay is getting scared
of Azharuddin, how we should be feeling! Being with Sanjay or Azharuddin
and so on. I mean it was… But I have seen him get angry
with Vinod Kambli for being late… – …in New Zealand, you remember…
– Yeah, one time. We had a meeting in the dressing room and he was idling his time away outside
and came after 10 minutes. And the lashing that he got from Azhar… I’ll never forget… I remember him
using one line, “You are a spring chicken”. He would rarely get angry
and that was one of the times. Wow! This swag… I want to know, when did you start
raising the collar? It wasn’t there initially. Yeah, not from the beginning. Aparshakti: When you became
the person you are. Tell us which year it started. I guess it was 1994 or 1993.
I think, it’s 1993. I am wondering who came into his life
at that point of time. It’s not because anyone came into my life.
It used to be too hot. Usually I used to be at the silly point.
I used to be there most of the time. So it’d sweat and I’d feel
uneasy around my neck. That’s when I started raising the collar
and it’s still there. Yesterday someone asked me “Mr. Azhar,
your collars are still raised.” I asked him, “Should I lower it?”
He said, “No..” In that match, Azhar, Kambli and Sanjay got dismissed in quick successions. Moreover an India-Pakistan match
is always a big event. Even if it is a silly game between India
and Pakistan, people might watch it live. When we won the toss and we started batting my only concern was not
to lose the initial wickets soon. I think Sachin and Sidhu built a partnership
of 90 runs when the first wicket fell. After that, every wicket had a partnership
of about 30 runs. If that match and that
performance had happened today then the man of the match for me
would be Ajay Jadeja. – Wow!
– Sidhu had scored 90 runs but… – as we call it, the game changer…
– Aparshakti: A quick game. A quick innings. – Absolutely.
– Aparshakti: Great. So, one of the youngest in the team, right? Your body language that day…
We have never seen that from you again. – You know.
– Well… It just happened. It was just
the heat of the moment I suppose. And it was a tense match
as we have all been talking about. High expectations from the public. You know, everybody wanted us
to win the game. – Aparshakti: Yeah.
– Forget the World Cup. – Aparshakti: Yeah.
– That’s different. Winning the game against Pakistan
was like winning the World Cup. So, that’s what happened. There was a reason for it.
Actually, it wouldn’t be right to blame them. Because, without any reason,
Aamer Sohail messed with him first. And obviously the way they were playing
in the first 10 to 15 overs it looked like as if the match
would end in about 45 overs. It looked like that… Even they felt the pressure
as the score increased. I think that is why there was… They were slightly tense
because it’s not going to be easy. So in that excitement, they tried to get
an advantage over the bowlers, like… With 40 thousand people
watching that game there was pin-drop silence because nobody knew
what was happening actually. You know, so… That’s when this happened
where he hit me for a boundary and he pointed his bat,
and also showed his finger there where he hit that shot and he said that, he literally spoke
saying that “I’m going to hit you there”. So in my follow through when I was going
back to my run up and I was wondering whether did he really mean what he said
or is he trying to double bluff. So, I said, “This is what I’m going to do,
this is what I’ve done all my life and this is what has brought me to play… – Aparshakti: Yeah.
– …at that level.” – Aparshakti: Yeah.
– Right? So that’s been my strength and let me just stick to that.
So I just bowled. You know,
what is my strength basically and… I think he got, sort of… Because in that atmosphere… He got carried away, I suppose,
and tried to play the same shot. – Aparshakti: Yeah.
– He completely missed it. I think that was one of
the game-changing moments. I think the action what Aamer Sohail did went against him. He became overconfident. – Yeah.
– When you do something like that I mean when you become overconfident then you think that you are going to run away
with the game. I remember going and talking to the umpire,
because David Shepherd was the umpire I told him, “This is not the way
to play cricket and this is not… – what…
– That’s when… …we really appreciate or approve of it.” “If they are going to do that,
our players can also do it because we have players who can be more…” Like a line from a movie,
“It’s a warning, not a threat”. That’s when this code of conduct had come in. Actually ICC had introduced
the code of conduct you know, from that
tournament onwards. So they were making sure
that everybody behaves well on field… Azhar has this style of speaking.
The way he spoke just now. So, even in team meetings,
if he got angry he would be like “What is this? This is not done. Nobody is backing up and you got to…” And that was enough. I like the way you shaked your head. I want to know about the team meetings.
What would be discussed? Specially for India vs. Pakistan matches,
the mother of all games. Team meetings used to be quite serious.
I don’t know about team meetings these days. Because our team meetings were strict. I mean all would gather to speak.
Many wouldn’t even speak as they were scared. Sherry (Navjot Singh Sidhu)
never spoke in team meetings. – Aparshakti: Sherry Paji wouldn’t speak?
– Hardly. He never spoke. But if someone provoked him,
he would be ready to fight. There was one such incident
between Aamer Sohail and him. So, normally we discuss cricket
in the dressing room whenever there is a match. There were a few players who used to joke. Like Ajay would say something to
which Kambli would respond. So they used to make fun.
But they had that freedom. So in our team meetings the coach would start speaking
followed by the captain. But when Azhar used to give a speech, his voice would sometimes go quite low. Remember what Vinod… Sorry to say, but only the “whens”
or “buts” were clear. Sorry. So gradually we had to move closer
to understand what he’s saying. – Wow!
– But fielding was very important to him. So when he was the captain,
during the team meetings… If anyone had misfielded on that day or if we had a new player who is a good
batsman and bowler but is a weak fielder then he used to get really upset. “He has no idea of fielding. Where to…” That was the only thing he’d talk about
in team meetings. He had a theory “Take 100 catches in a day, then the ball
will start getting stuck in your hands”. Because the ball would get stuck
to his hands. The best thing about Azhar is specially from a bowling point of view,
he used to just give you your field. You just have what you want and bowl
to your field basically. That’s about it. My best performances came
when Azhar was the captain. I feel very privileged and happy that,
you know, he is saying that. Not many people do that. – It’s true. It’s a fact.
– It’s not easy to praise somebody. So sweet. So talking about that match. It was the perfect recipe
for a blockbuster movie. All these situations that happened… The match was undecided till the end. – Aparshakti: Yeah!
– When we got a few wickets we thought we might win the match. And then when Rashid Latif came
and started hitting sixes we got stressed wondering when the match
will end and when we will win it. So that was their specialty that
even though it wasn’t a good game for them, they fought till the end.
It wasn’t easy to win over them at that time. We knew that the match was
under control, but still when Rashid Latif got dismissed,
I was convinced that we won’t lose… And from then onwards,
whenever India plays against Pakistan, we always had the confidence… – Yes.
– …that we can beat these guys. You are very right. After that match, I think Yeah, exactly. It really lifted
everybody’s spirit, I suppose. You know, when we landed in Kolkata after winning, for the semi-final game there was a huge number of people
welcoming us at the airport. Okay? And as we were going
towards the hotel, there were hoardings. And that’s when I think the players
had started endorsing products and so on. So, we finished the game we lost the semi-finals and were coming back there were garlands made of slippers
on the very same hoardings… – Aparshakti: Oh.
– …for our players and cow dung being thrown on that. I was wondering how people can change
so quickly, isn’t it? I mean, that’s amazing. The kind of emotions
that people have. Don’t do well in India… – Aparshakti: What is it, Mr. Azhar?
– Especially in certain places. – If you don’t do well in India…
– Dead! “Dead”. Would Sherry Paaji recite poetry
in the dressing room? He never runs out of it. I think he was more of a quieter sort
in the dressing room. – He saved all that…
– Aparshakti: For the commentary? – Saved it for his second innings.
– …for post-retirement. It was shocking. – All of us, right?
– Yeah. It was shocking, all of a sudden… – as to what happened.
– Aparshakti: Wow! Yeah, because… If he was like that during his cricketing
days, we might’ve won more matches. I have heard he used to avoid fielding
sometimes. Sherry Paaji, sorry. Then, after sometime,
we named him Jonty Rhodes. So then he could not avoid fielding. Because he had a big name like Jonty Rhodes and that’s why he couldn’t avoid fielding. Because he used to stand and… For example, if I’m standing at the slip,
he would stand at mid-on… “Shall I go back?” I said “Come ahead”. Once I lost it completely
and made him field at silly point. Normally at silly point,
you have to stand close. He was slowly going back. – Did he reach the short cover?
– He was fun and an outstanding player. So, I want to know the dressing room secrets
of that match. Someone who cracked you up
even in such an intense match. Actually, our team in 1996 under Azhar to be very honest, was a bit boring. – Aparshakti: Is it so?
– Quite studious kind, I would say. – Aparshakti: Studious?
– Yes, similar to a school. – Everybody is studious.
– Good student of the game. – All the first benchers were together?
– Yeah, and sleep before 10 p.m. – Azhar always slept early.
– By 9:30 p.m. or 10 p.m. Venkat and the Bangalore gang all the computer engineers… – To the cricket atmosphere.
– Studious gang. Like cricket was their hobby. – Azhar: Kumble.
– There was one guy who used to encourage. He would say “Let’s enjoy. Pakistan wins because they never sleep
before 12 a.m.” But that is how we were and Ajay
was the only guy that we could say was fun. Who was the most mischievous? That would be Ajay.
And his mischief was deliberate. – He had a sense of humor…
– Kambli? – Yeah.
– Kambli was the most mischievous. Kambli would behave as normal
but looked comical. – Oh.
– Yes, he used to be like that. He was totally different from the others. For example, when Mr. Wadekar was the manager we used to respect him
and behave properly in front of him. Kambi would be like
“Sir, what are you doing? Let’s go.” He would say “Why are you pinching there?” Sir used to do like that.
But he never used to say anything to him. Once Ajit Wadekar was running
after him in the dressing room because he did something to him. Just imagine the coach running after him… Ajit Wadekar used to tell him how to play. Kambli would ask “How many 100s
have you got in your career?” Ajit Wadekar had one I think.
So that’s how he pulled his leg. – The relationship was different.
– But he never used to mind. Very sportive person he was. – Aparshakti: So sweet.
– He used to pull my leg too when he was the manager. I want to know, how long did
the team celebration go on for? I think the team’s celebration went on for almost one hour. After that, everyone… Ours was a boring team
and we didn’t have a drinking culture. But I will never forget one thing Ajay Jadeja, again, was our ring leader
and when we went back to the hotel he said, “Let’s go to a night club.
Let’s go out”. We thought “Why not?” as we had won. Normally we don’t go.
That day, I had even written in my diary that in one of the night clubs we had entered we were treated like gods
who had descended from heaven. People were like “Wow!” “This is the team that defeated Pakistan
just few minutes back and here they are.” It felt wonderful the kind of reception that we got. I think whatever we are or even if we are here, it is because of
the people of our country. I would rather say we all unite
because of people like you cricketers like you or
sportspersons like you. So, yeah, coming to the game segment which is called LBW.
It’s called “Let’s Be Wicked”. I will give you a statement, you have to tell me which player
can be associated with it. You have to pick a name from that team. Most likely to make an excuse
to stay away from fielding. It’s obviously Sidhu. [laughter] Navjot Singh Sidhu. – Sherry Paaji…
– With due respect. “With due respect.” Great. Okay. Most likely to not pay attention
during a team meeting. Could be Srinath. There would be a team meeting
of his own, happening in his mind. “What they are saying
is not right, what I’m thinking is right!” – Isn’t it?
– Yeah. That’s all it was. But when we ask him to say something… Okay. Most likely to pull a prank
on teammates. Ajay Jadeja, I think. – Kambli also.
– Aparshakti: Yeah, Kambli. Jadeja, Kambli and Srinath. Most likely to boss around
in the dressing room. Boss around? Boss around… Azhar didn’t try to boss around.
But he was the boss. – Aparshakti: Yeah, okay.
– When he was around, we used to… Aparshakti: Oh, okay. Especially when they are eating, I’m like… I used to always tell
them “Eat properly”. Because I wanted them to be fit.
I wanted… Because they had so much talent. I wanted them to play for a long time
and not for a short time. So, in this one, you want to name yourself… – Which means…
– Yeah, you can say that. Most likely to talk nonstop. – Jadeja, I think, non-stop.
– Yeah, Ajay. He used to speak non-stop
in the dressing room. – Aparshakti: Yeah?
– All the time. – Jadeja, Kambli, Srinath.
– Kambli also. Most likely to sledge the opponent. – Manoj Prabhakar.
– Aparshakti: Yeah? – Yes.
– Aparshakti: Wow! He was daring. I liked him as a cricketer. And, of course, Venkatesh Prasad. – Venkatesh Prasad would do this.
– To a certain extent. A little bit. – Wasn’t it the right hand?
– Left. No, right. Yeah… Last one.
Most likely to go on a shopping spree. Aparshakti: Yeah? – Mr. Azhar is very happy to raise his hand.
– Azhar believes that if there is a glass filled with water you can throw some from it to fill it again. – Aparshakti: Yeah.
– So, he believed in spending a lot. And not just on him, on others too. Once we had been to Dubai,
and there, I saw a trouser which was priced at 150 dollars
and I didn’t buy it as it was out of my budget. He asked, “What happened?”
I said it’s costly. He said, “So what?”
and gave his wallet in his style. So sweet. So, thank you so much – for all the amazing memories, you know…
– Was it amazing or… Yes, genuinely. These stories… – I think…
– I think we must thank you because it has given me
a very good opportunity to meet Sanjay and Venky
after a very long time. – Thank you so much.
– Thanks a lot… Before leaving, you have
to tell us which are the two teams who will play in the finals this year. Mr. Sanjay, who will play it this time? India vs. Australia. India vs. England by Azhar. .- Aparshakti: England or Australia…
– And – Australia or India.
– Azhar: This is not right. Add more strokes
and add England, New Zealand… Keep adding strokes. – England, of course. England is very…
– Azhar: India is not worthy? – It can be England vs. Australia…
– He is a traitor… – …or England vs. India.
– He is a traitor. – He is not giving a chance to India.
– Aparshakti: Okay. – England vs. either Australia or…
– Azhar: Australia or England vs. India. – Aparshakti: Wow!
– We are straight. We both. Outspoken. Great. So, may the best team win. Thank you so much for, you know,
giving these memories to us. And when people will watch
this show, I’m sure, those who didn’t know much about 1996 match,
will definitely relive this match again. – Pleasure having you on the show.
– Thank you…

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