Note to readers: Morning Stars is a series of interviews with achievers across fields about their morning routine and how they get ready for the day ahead. Mornings bring optimism and a fresh start. And how we spend them sets the tone for the day.
Few Indian cricketers have been as versatile as Dilip Vengsarkar, if one were to go by the different roles he has played in the game over time. Apart from being a star batsman from the late 70s through the 80s, he has captained India and has been a chief selector, coach and talent scout. It was the Vengsarkar-led selection committee that made MS Dhoni the captain. He also fast-tracked Virat Kohli’s selection into the national side. Before all that, Vengsarkar set up a cricket academy in Mumbai in 1995 that moulded players like Yuvraj Singh and continues to train youngsters today.
It would be hard to pack in so much in a career without a disciplined morning routine. At 64, Vengsarkar remains an early riser. Excerpts from a chat:
Would you call yourself a morning person? What time do you usually get up?
I am a morning person and I normally get up around 6.30 am. I love to see the sunrise and feel the soft rays of the sun. Besides, of course, hearing the chirping of birds.How many hours of sleep do you need?
A minimum seven hours, though during my playing career I would sleep at 10 pm and get up by 6 am every day, whether I was playing the next morning or not.
Who or what brightens up your morning?
Since I became a grandfather exactly a year ago, it would be my grandson, Nirvaan. He is my daughter Pallavi’s son. They live in Hong Kong, so we have a video conference with him every morning. Interacting with him for just 10 minutes makes my day, in part because I missed out on Pallavi’s and my son Nakul’s growing up years.
What would mornings be like during a match? Can you share an amusing anecdote?
Mornings would be spent thinking about the match or the days' play. In India, Tests would normally start at 9.30 am. I would have breakfast at around 7.30 am and the team would leave by 8.15 for the ground, depending upon the distance from the hotel to the ground.
I remember, if there was a one-dayer at Cuttack, the team would stay in Bhubaneshwar, as there was no hotel in Cuttack. So the teams would leave the hotel at 6.30 am for a 9 am match. In the eastern part of India it gets dark at around 4.30 pm, so by the time we returned to the hotel it used to be 7.30 pm.
Do you reach for your phone for news/ messages right away or do you stay offline for a while?
I switch on my mobile at around 8 am after I read the newspapers. I don't read news on the phone.
What are the two or three things you do in the morning that are important for you to start the day on the right note?
The first thing I do is pranayam for 20 minutes, followed by a 30-minute-walk on Worli Seaface, followed by stretching exercises for 15 minutes. Then I read newspapers for the next 20 minutes and then attend to the morning engagements.
What do you like to see on the breakfast table?
I like various things. I enjoy typical Maharashtrian breakfast dishes like pohe, thaalipeeth and misal to South Indian fare such as idli and dosa. I also like eggs and fruit juice.
What did you like about mornings in some of the countries that you played in, like England and Australia?
I love English breakfast and reading the newspapers there. In Australia I love to see people jogging or walking in the parks.
Follow the entire Morning Stars series here.