Good looking cricketer, one of India’s best, …so has he met any female fans who try to get too close, in front of you? Yes, it happens a lot. I tell him many a times, why are you standing so close to her to get a picture! Couldn’t you have told her to keep some distance! No, this has happened a couple of times. Someone kept their hands like this.
-Then he says, if someone comes close to me, what do I do? This is what he says. One day he made an account on Twitter and girls would message him. Actually, I also had his password. -So I was looking through…
-The mistake that every guy makes. Actually, she asked me for it. -She asked me for my password.
-Facebook password. I said no, I mean…
– He said I won’t give it. I told her that dialogue, that we should give each other space. This is what we should do etc. So she said very nicely, that I will. I was very surprised, how is that possible. She has agreed. The next day, …she says, ‘This is your password, take it.’ I asked her, password for what? She says, ‘Facebook.’ Actually, I changed it, so I told him I’ve changed it.
-She literally hacked into it! He doesn’t know till date how I did it, he keeps asking me to tell him how. Since then, I’ve stopped using Facebook. Your wife is CBI!
-Seriously, from then on. As a kid, one thinks what he will be when he grows up, …and for me it was the Army, and the reason was… …my dad was in the police, …my uncle, or others at home… …relatives, …they were all in the police or army. So, somewhere, when you see this at home, …you also feel like you should do the same. That was my dream too. But ever since I started playing cricket, …my passion to join the army came down. When he was Bittu, …how did the journey start? Everyone in India is a fan of cricket, …I too had the same, I would play at home, in the park. In class 7 or 8, …is when I started insisting that I want to go to a stadium and practice. Because I had these two friends, …classmates, …so they happened to tell me that they will go for practice, …at a stadium here. So then I also started insisting that I want to go to a ground a practice. When you think about it, it was actually quite tough, …because at that time you had to study too, …my family hadn’t permitted me to leave studies and play. So, between 2 and 2:30, I would have to eat food and, …leave for the stadium. I’d reach there at 3. From 3pm to, …6 or 7 we’d practice, then come back. So when I would come back, I remember, I mean, I don’t remember, but my mom used to tell me, …that I would come back and just crawl into bed, without changing out of my whites. After getting so tired, I would only sleep. So, my mom had given my sister the duty to have me fed before I went to sleep. I would go to sleep at 7 and my sister would come and wake me up that no, you must have dinner. So when the food would be made, I would eat and then sleep. They say that when you are sleeping very deeply, you start drooling. So I would be drooling very often and she’d come and wipe it off and all that. So I realise now, that the time they say was for enjoyment, …was actually a lot of hard work. The turning point was when I got selected in Under-15. Because till then, my family felt that I was just wasting my time. They felt that at that time, it was more important for me to study, …because you get a lot of opportunities only after studies. Then, I think coaches also told them that no, he is talented, he can do well, let him play. After that, I kept moving forward step by step so they were reassured, …but there was a time when I’d been playing Ranji Trophy, …for 4-5 years. When it was 2-3 years in, there came a time in Ranji trophy, …one year in which I was, playing an ok-ok season, so my family felt that, …if he doesn’t play India, …and he hasn’t even studied, …what will he do in the future? They never said these things to me, but, …in their actions or, …their thoughts, I could understand that they were worried. A boy, aged 17 or 18 years, …from Meerut in Uttar Pradesh, …and in front of him, the master, Sachin Tendulkar, …what happened after that, the whole world knows. Tendulkar, caught, bat and pad. What happened after that? When he came to bat, …from the dressing room to the ground, …I was at the bowling mark. I was watching him, …and I couldn’t take my eyes away from him. Even after getting him out I couldn’t believe it. It was fine that I got a batsman out, but when I… …left the ground, …then I realised. Even when it came in the news the next day. That’s when I realised I had done a big thing. Did you give the master a send-off? Yes, I bowed my head to him. From fear. No, respect.
-Respect. Now, if I rewind my life, …whatever started in my life was after that. it was an achievement to get him out, …and I came into people’s views. They were asking, who is he, what did he do. So whatever I had performed before that, …all that came into the limelight suddenly. What was the moment like, when you got a call to join the Indian Squad? Generally people say that you can’t sleep before your debut, …but the opposite happened with me. I slept very well. There is nervousness and then there is… …the double nervousness of a debut vs Pakistan. But I never, …thought I would have such a debut. That I’ll get 3 wickets in an extraordinary way. A debut is the dream and, …you imagine what will happen. But you never think that you’ll get a wicket off the first ball, that too… …in a good way. We felt you were playing a video game! It touched the pitch and came inward, …how did you do it? Even I don’t know! If I did, I’d do the same on every ball. But, that happened. It was a moment in which, …all things aligned. You don’t realise they are happening in the moment. When you have a good flow or it is your time, then things go with the rhythm. And then your start in Test Cricket, …you wowed everyone, if not with the ball then with the bat! As a player you always want to contribute. I know that the condition, …was not in my favour. I tried but my bowling didn’t do it. But, the commitment I showed while batting, …I got the result for that somewhere. So, I made 40 runs that day. Did you feel in the 2014 England Tour that you are now a level up? As a player? In terms of skill, experience, ability. Everyone knows that in India we don’t have the best conditions for fast bowlers. So everyone was hopeful that in England especially, the ball swings. It was my first series, and everyone had high hopes. Even me. Because after playing in India, when you play in England then, …it’s swing and I thought I’ll do this, I’ll do that. And, that happened too. I learnt a lot of things, …because it was a 5 match series. How to manage it, how to navigate the fatigue. Because, after 3 matches, …I was out of fuel. I had never played such a big series before. And you have changed your game quite fast too. When you came in, …the specialty was the in-swing delivery, then you, …worked on your away going delivery and increased your pace. So what was that process like? …when I came, so like you said, the ball would swing, …because when I played Ranji trophy all those years, the red ball, …is known for its swing. So somewhere, I was used to it after bowling with it so much. So the first year went very well. In terms of swing, I got a lot of wickets. But then, there came a time when the pace was not too much, …and after one year the batsman began to adjust. Because if you have limited pace and swing, batsmen begin to adjust to it. Then, I started leaking runs, …after which the time to change something had come. I felt I needed to increase my pace. After that, it also happened that, …I got injured and it took time to come back from it. My bowling didn’t have that rhythm, things weren’t going too well. But then, …I started training, …or changed it around. That training helped me. Unknowingly, my pace increased. But I struggled for 1-2 series, because with that pace, …I wasn’t used to bowling with it. So, the ball wouldn’t swing. When I wasn’t used to it, the body took too much load. There were a few injuries and niggles. But, …when I got my off time then, …things began to work out slowly, what is happening and how can I come back from it. So did you have any fears in your mind, that you have forgotten how to bowl, or you aren’t understanding what’s happening. The ball isn’t swinging, the body isn’t responding, were you afraid? Absolutely there was. It has happened before and will happen again, because, …generally, you believe in yourself. But when you start listening to what people are saying, … you can try to ignore it but it will make it to your ears, …that he’s lost his swing, now he’s going towards pace, …but you know inside, what you are getting out of. Fortunately, I was able to emerge from that every time. The phase when you had many questions in your mind, who was the one who supported you? Everyone. Actually, …no one tried to demotivate me. Even in the Indian team, from the coach to the captain, …to the 15th player and the friends from home. Even the cricketing… …not just players and fraternity. Anyone in fact, even a shopkeeper, …everyone was supportive. From anything, …suppose you’re standing in a line and someone sees you. They let you go ahead, even that is a type of support. So what was the moment that you felt that it is fine now. That you have pace and swing? I went to play Ranji trophy again, …after this incident, that, …my swing is gone. Actually, it wasn’t gone but, …if you see, the cricket ball itself has changed a bit. The conditions of the wickets has changed too. Batsmen too, …have been playing in a modern way after the coming of T20. So I realised that I may have swing, but, …I haven’t given myself the opportunity to make the ball swing. So when I got confident that even if I get hit for a lot of runs, it is fine. But I should still make it swing. When I got confident in that, …then things got better ahead. What’s it like being a part of the SRH family? The ground that I have achieved everything on, …my only first class century was in that ground. I dismissed Sachin Tendulkar there. I got 5 wickets there, then the purple cap, …for that city, …I achieved. So it was a very, …different relation with that place. Whether its Dukes, SG, Kookaburra, white ball red ball, you have skill with those, …but I’ve heard you’re a big fan of kite flying? When we were young, …usually, Vasant Panchami falls in January or February, …but we would start 4-5 months before. After coming back from school, …we’ll fly kites, and friends would come together. Those are some good moments from my life. Even today when I go to Meerut, … I meet my school friends, …and go to their homes and fly kites and reminisce about those days. Ok, so is the Bareilly spool better or the one from Meerut? The one from Bareilly is very famous. even in Meerut, when we… …would go to buy the spools, …they would sell it as spools from Bareilly. When anyone would be coming, …from Bareilly, we’d ask them to get the entire wheel. What we call charkha. Are you an expert then? Not expert but, -Because kite flying requires a lot of wrist work.
-Yes there is. Maybe… …actually I am realising right now. Maybe that is what made my wrist work good. For the kids watching, if you want to be a good swing bowler like Bhuvneshwar, you must fly kites! Absolutely. And have kite battles! Yes, it’s possible. Maybe. What happened on 22 November, 2017? I was martyred. Lies! It was on 23rd!
-22nd November? I was martyred no. Did I say what happened? When your marriage is fixed, …you are martyred the day it is fixed. I find this all quite false. This is false and I don’t understand why boys get married in that case. Exactly!
-If all they want to do is cry that after getting married this happened and that happened. Are you married?
-No. Oh so you were married off at gunpoint? What had happened? Say?
-See! I will reply but, …only if someone takes the guarantee that I can remain in this house. If you will take the guarantee that I will be allowed into home and everything will be fine, then I am willing to say. So in Meerut you must be knowing someone, …dangerous people.
She is the most dangerous of them all. Hmmmm.
More than Meerut, Greater Noida is popular for these things. Oh this is news! That there’s a fight between, Meerut or Greater Noida? Which is better?
-Greater Noida. It is greater! By name! So how much has he changed after you guys officially came together? Even now it is in progress. He hasn’t changed completely. Like, hygiene, neatness, I am working on all these things. Working!
-Yes, seriously. But we fight so often about these things. I scream at him, that why have you left it like this! On 23rd November 2017 she got a project, and she’s still working on it. This is that project.
Actually you have to train them. In progress.
-How many marks out of 10, now? After changes? 6. Who do you go and vent to? That, save me somebody! Before sleeping at night, under the covers I talk to myself. At night before sleeping, Bhuvi plays 2-3 games of PUB-G every night. Now I have started playing Ludo. Otherwise we fight.
-That has now become one hour of me time. Game time basically. But both of us like playing games. Since we were kids. But you cheat often?
-Hmm. In her eyes. Usually, he is perceived to be shy, and that he doesn’t speak much. But which shy kid starts a love story at the age of 13? It didn’t start at 13. No, actually, that’s when I had a crush on her. At 13, we met for the first time. At that time, we were like siblings. But we weren’t. So when did you start taking the run up for this spell? I started from that moment itself, …but the batsman didn’t know. Actually, at that time you don’t know what is and isn’t, but, …you play together, or anything happens, …whatever it is, playing, visiting each other, …that’s where it started, but at the time I didn’t know what a crush or liking is. But, we used to like playing with each other, or… …any game. We’ve played together a lot.
-We’ve played HopScotch a lot. You know right, throwing a stone into numbered boxes? We’ve played that a lot. I used to make him play, I taught him.
-Bossing me around since childhood. Would he cheat while playing?
-He still does. A lot. It makes me say, “How are you a sportsperson!” So much cheating! In every game! The rules change for him in his case. In Carrom, what he does is, …say we took a shot, …I am setting it for myself. So Bhuvi will take someone else’s setting, …and won’t set for him or anyone else. He will hit a blank shot but won’t do a thing that will get someone else a point. How is this cheating but? Tactics! This is like… Clever.
-Being wily and playing. The clever fox!
-Yes. So don’t you have to make up for it later? No, then I don’t play. I throw the strikers and coins. See! I’m not playing, it’s my carrom. This is what happens! No that the carrom is mine but, …that I am not playing, it’s cheating. There is no game in which she doesn’t lose. Whenever she loses.
-And you losing? I mean, if you lose 1 in 10 games, that’s not losing, that is… Earlier on when one played a game, it would be that you play well, …especially as a kid, and the bat is someone else’s, …so you would win 5 games but let that person win 2. In my eyes it is strategy.
-Bhuvi actually cheats. Even when we play Dumb Charades, he looks up the names of movies on the internet, which is not fair. And if we say, we will also see, he says no no, I was on whatsapp. Or I was seeing something else. I did that in the early games, now I remember all the names! What’s the toughest he’s come up with? Body hanging from the Howrah Bridge. There is no movie like that! -There is, there is. There actually is. But now we are such pros that, …he does one action, the person in his team understands. That it is this movie.
-Because it is so tough, every time someone gives this movie. So now when we give simple movies, sometimes that gets tough. When did your tuning actually set? Actually after one time, what happened was, …she went to college. My cricket… …I mean, I was playing for the state so I was traveling a lot, so we almost, …were not connected.
-We met once or twice a year, very less. That too on occasions like, ..holi or diwali. But then after some time, we had facebook. She sent me a request! A very desperate request.
-Oh really?! Please, correct yourself. So I added her. Please don’t lie. Oh it’s fine. So when he played for India, …did his attitude change? Yes, a lot. In which way? Not attitude, but he became extremely busy. Then?
Then we had a lot of problems, there were fights. A lot of crying. With time difference, there would be problems and fights. But the day I wouldn’t have match or practice, I would talk to her and cajole her. Saying some sweet things, to butter her up!
-Butter me up! When my office started, Bhuvi was the one asking for my attention. Please give me some time.
-The time changes! Then what would happen is he’d say, you never have time. You don’t talk! I would do that deliberately sometimes, …for example I’m busy, I know she is too, …but it would be the Ace in my hand. I am busy, I know she is to, but…
-I was taking revenge you know. I was not talking to you deliberately. What was the age when you felt yes, he will do something. When you knew him, he wasn’t the Indian star he is now. I never knew, but everyone else knew. Family, friends, neighbours. I didn’t know what is cricket, what he plays or doesn’t. We went for a drive once, when I had come to meet her. So she asked me, …what will you do after cricket?
-I didn’t know that it is that easy to make a career in cricket. -Easy? What do you mean? I mean…
-You mean if I can play it must be easy? …I didn’t know that there is another step after Ranji. I didn’t follow cricket at all. Actually, I didn’t even know the difference between a replay and live. That’s how less I would watch it. When he bats well, I like it a lot. That okay there is…
-That the thing he isn’t known for, …the thing he doesn’t have expertise in, he’s doing well in that. So the biggest pressure was that. So that’s why, when I go to bat, …when I wear the pads, I say to myself, I can’t get out, otherwise my wife will make fun of me. So that’s what happened once. Actually, someone said Bhuvi has come to bat, and I said, what, it’s okay, he’ll be out soon. Literally she said it like this, then said, so what? How do you spot when he is not in the right frame of mind, that, let him be. His mood is not fine today. If his mood is not fine, he will… …remain quiet, not talk much. He will be busy with himself and get annoyed with small things. ”Let it be, it’s okay.” Then I understand. Like during the World Cup something happened, obviously he will be disturbed when the hamstring injury happened. So I knew he’ll not be happy. But more than him I get upset, actually. That Bhuvi, how did this happen. So he gets into a lighter mood himself, that if she’s more upset, I must be okay. Both of you are setting couple goals for the world! There’s jokes and laughter, There’s a lot of joking.
-There’s seriousness too. Not too serious. But yes, sometimes, while fighting. Some mistakes that he keeps making again and again? He leaves the clothes on the floor all the time. He’ll leave the towel right there. You come back tired from practice, so you feel like removing your t-shirt, …and shorts and just sit. It’s not like I don’t pick it up. It’s there and I’m relaxing for 5 minutes.
-And after 5 minutes? I lie down on the bed! Bhuvi’s room, …so, I have given him cupboards in another room so that he doesn’t mess up our room. The bed in that room, …is covered in his clothes. They come from the cupboard on to the bed. When he comes back, again on the bed. So that bed is heaped with clothes. I do that deliberately too, because, …at home she is free. There is nothing for her to do.
-Oh alright alright. So every 3 days, there should be something. So that for a couple of hours she’s busy. So I spread out my stuff for that. Strategy, like I said before. Clever. So has it happened that you play cricket, what would you know about engineering? What do you know about my work? Everyday!
-So if he shows off about cricket that I am not good in any game, …so I show him what I can do.
-She only knows how to show off. Whenever there is a technical problem, in a computer… …or anything else. She’s the one who comes to the rescue. Not only computers, I mean, I know that much… …I don’t know about everyone else, but for Bhuvi, …he can’t do anything else, apart from cricket. What’s the subject on nowadays? Nowadays, it is this only, that I know, …that Bhuvi won’t do it. I have to do it. If I have to do anything, we always fight about, not fight, whatever this is, …is always about a game. I like playing a game, …I keep saying two minutes two minutes, I think I’ll make it up to her later. She loves dogs. So we have a dog too. You just have to praise the dog. ‘What an amazing dog!’ You give him a lot of love…
-He shows love to him, so that I feel nice, that he likes our dog. Bhuvi calls him ‘Dog.’ He is one! He can be called one. -Exactly! He’ll say, ‘Dog come here, dog, go there.’
-We used to fight about this initially. That why are you calling him dog. I will call a human as one, right? Boy, girl. So a dog is a dog.
-But everyone has a name right? He also has a name. Actually, Alex has, -Grandparents. …yes, were from the US. See. That’s why I call him Dog. It sounds nice in English. He stays here, …but does everything like a westerner. But Bhuvi loves him a lot. No actually, when he goes for a tour, he video calls specially to talk to Alex. He’s doing wonders for India, what’s been your favourite spell of Bhuvi’s? His debut. Against Pakistan. At the time, she didn’t know what it was.
-No. Then I knew. Obviously I knew about our debut.
-No you knew that, but… What, you think I didn’t know what a wicket was? Then I was in a hostel and was watching with the girls. They had no idea that there was anything like this. So they were very impressed with him. They were watching and saying…
-She’d be jealous too. No no, I wouldn’t be jealous, I was happy. So when he took a wicket, someone else came to bowl, …the girls were saying, ‘Call him! 15 number tshirt, Bhuvneshwar.’ It was making me very happy, that nice, there is a demand for him. What is the best gift he’s got for you by himself? She doesn’t like big materialistic things. So once what happened on her birthday, …I mean, I am always confused about what to give and what not to. So I write her a small letter, and it makes her very happy. Like recently, for my birthday, he wrote me a letter on a tissue. He must be getting bored on a flight, so he wrote me a letter on a tissue.
-I was getting bored in the flight, I thought what should I do. He writes well? He makes mistakes in english, but the rest is fine. That’s okay. It’s straight from the heart after all. Leave grammar aside! An innocent face. But your answers, …are sweet as Meerut Rewri? Or are they spicy? Let’s find out. Spicy Quotient. Okay. Kane Williamson, or David Warner? Williamson. Fast bowler, of the Indian team, who… …wants to sleep all day? Mohammad Shami. Kaif or Praveen Kumar? Kaif. A batsman in the World Cup who worried you, that he would score a lot? Maybe, Warner. Because when Warner had just come in to the IPL, …after winning the Orange cap, …he was looking like he was in form. Before that, …he had made a lot of runs, so we knew he was in form. If you had to follow another career, apart from cricket? Army or Police? Army. Mom’s scolding or Dad’s? Mom’s. Because I got a lot of it as a kid so I’m used to it. Dad never scolded us. Only scoldings or… That is but a part of scoldings. It was complimentary. Kadhi Chawal or Meerut Rewri? Kadhi Chawal. Best surprise you’ve given your wife, so far. On her last birthday, I think it’s the best I gave her, I don’t know what she thinks, …I spoke to her friends, …and planned her party, at home, with 5-6 people. Had the room decorated, …and got things written. I think that was the one from my side. She didn’t scold you that day, right? I was safe for a week after that. Boys trip or romantic getaway? One thing about you that the world doesn’t know. I feel that I… …I don’t know about the world, but my wife thinks that I am not very emotional, but, …I think I am emotional. I feel that way. If you say something like that with such an innocent face, I will have to believe it. I am saying it for you to believe it. Okay, I will. Cool. This tuning of yours, …the ‘it’ couple of Uttar Pradesh, …let’s test it. You have been playing Dumb Charades for a long time, …let’s have you enact a name, and let’s have her guess it. 4 words, Actor? Okay. Shahrukh Khan? Kuch Kuch Hota Hai? Let’s make it tougher! Tea? Coffee? Chai? What? Drinks? Cricket. Batsman? Game? Game. Game. Over? First word is game. Second word is game. Actor? Okay. Aamir Khan? Then? Some Khan? Aamir Khan, Salman Khan? Shahrukh Khan. Saif Ali Khan. Saif Ali Khan, okay. Is it recent? Uh! I don’t remember the name. Orange? Red? Red. Red Money? What? Second half is red. Sacred Games!
-Yes! I thought it was a movie! Should’ve said it’s a series!
-That’s what. How! I’m saying now, that’s means, right now.