Conundrum: you are invited to dinner at the homes of Virat Kohli and Sourav Ganguly. The problem? It’s the same night. Who should you choose?
Much might depend on your location. We know that the pair live almost a country apart, Kohli in Mumbai and Ganguly in Kolkata. But all other things being equal?
Kohli is one of the most gifted batsman to have ever trodden on Indian outfields and will have some fascinating stories about the anxiety of facing Lasith Malinga’s yorker in the World Cup final or how he got his nickname Cheeku, while Ganguly had a fluency to die for outside off stump – and more to the point, as president of the BCCI, holds the future of world cricket pretty much in the palm of his hand. Think how, late in the evening, you might lean forward over dessert and with the third glass of arrack scorching the back of your throat but intensifying your confidence, subtly plant the suggestion in his mind that growing the game to a few more parts of the globe might just be a good idea.
But perhaps, ultimately, it will all come down the service – in which case you might opt for Kohli, since he will deliver the courses himself, whereas Ganguly…well…you know…he once refused to carry drinks on to the field as twelfth man and at Lancashire ordered Mike Atherton to hold his sweater. Not necessarily the attitude you want from a host.
We know this about Kohli because of Sarandeep Singh. Sarandeep is a former India selector and off spinner who took 314 first-class wickets, including ten in Tests, at the turn of the century. And he did get invited to dinner at the Indian captain’s home recently – history does not relate whether he was ever offered the Ganguly alternative.
And what he reported back has shaken the cricket world to its foundations, for Kohli, apparently and despite, at a worth of £26m being 66th in the most recent Forbes Rich List – does not employ hired help.
“At his home there are no servants,” an obviously shocked Sarandeep told Sportskeeda. “He and his wife will serve food to everyone. What else do you want? Virat always sits with you, chats with you. He’s very down to earth.”
Which is not what you might have thought had you seen Kohli arguing with umpire Nitin Menon when Joe Root was reprieved in the last over of day 3 of the second Test in Chennai. If looks could kill, they probably will, as Peter Gabriel once sang.
But that intensity is not something that is readily apparent once he has crossed the line back into the real world, according to Sarandeep.
“No, he’s as down-to-earth as he seems aggressive on the field,” Sarandeep said. “In selection meetings he was so polite. He always used to listen to everyone and then finally come to a decision.
“He has to be that way on the field because he’s the captain. He’s the one who will handle the pressure on the ground and make decisions in the heat of the moment.”
And in the heat of the kitchen, you might hope. Because obviously you’re going to accept Virat’s invite. Just don’t tell him you’re not vegan.
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