Food and cricket go hand-in-hand from the days it was codified to resemble what we see today. Do any sports break for lunch or tea, give twenty-plus players a chance at a quick bite or a lengthy feast, of course, whilst discussing the nitty-gritty of the contest at hand. Sunil Gavaskar once famously recollected Imran Khan, filling himself with a plateful of biriyani before letting rip a rapid spell after lunch. 

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No more platefuls of food and perhaps the beer (or the pack of cigarettes), cricketers are bound by strict diets maintained by nutritionists and fitness experts. It’s only on the off chance that they can dine out on their favourite dishes, but I guess they savour it all the more. Before all talk moves to India and Pakistan’s crunch Asia Cup clash later this month, it’s a rather rum idea to explore some of the cricketer’s culinary favourites. 

#1. Rohit Sharma

The Nagpur-born opener swears by the humble vada pav (whenever it’s okay to sneak a bite). The massively popular fast food option across Maharashtra is easy to make: stuff a potato-filled chop between a bun, spread some chutney, and you’re good to go. 

#2. Babar Azam

The Pakistani captain and serial run-getter loves a good biriyani. But after Misbah-ul-Haq banned biriyani, and all oily foods from the dressing room, it has been in short supply in the batter’s diet.  

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#3. Virat Kohli

The star batter manages his diet with extreme caution. Opting to eat many several meals over the day, as against a few hearty ones, he’s got his fitness on point. But waft a plate of chole bature (leavened fried bread and chickpea curry) in front of the ex-captain, and he’ll probably go weak in the knees. 

#4. Mohammad Rizwan

The dashing wicketkeeper-batter loves a rude Kabuli Pulao. The dish, as the name suggests originates from Kabul, but is equally popular in his hometown of Peshawar. Steamed rice mixed with lamb, carrots and raisins sounds drool-worthy. 

If I’ve to choose between the two sets of players, you’ll find me firmly in the meat-loving Pakistani camp.