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Sports

June 8, 2019

No to nihari, yes to grilled chicken!

Sports

Sat, Jun 08, 2019

LONDON: Pakistanis, even when they are travelling abroad, are quite particular about food. And the country’s cricketers are no exception.

Back in 2006 when I was covering Pakistan’s tour of England, I was asked by my Editor to do a story on what were the culinary preferences of the national team’s players.

Then, Inzamam-ul-Haq was the Pakistan captain. I made my inquires and was told by my sources in the team the players were generally eating healthy, nutritional food during the tour. It didn’t make a good story.

I pressed more and was finally told that there are times when the players get bored with “bland English food” and are allowed to have more palatable dishes from the east.

In fact there was this particular day during the infamous Oval Test when Nihari was ordered for the Pakistani players in the dressing room. That story of mine was aptly titled ‘Nihari at The Oval’ and made the front page of The News.

So are the Pakistani cricketers still feasting on exotic dishes like nihari and biryani?

Not really.

“Perhaps our players are more aware of what good for them than in the past,” says a team official. “They have clear instructions from the trainers what to eat. They do like having Pakistani food but are also aware of the importance of having a nutritional diet needed by an international sportsman,” he added.

That doesn’t mean that they order cereals for breakfast and pasta and salad for lunch.

According to a team official, the players occasionally go out in groups to have dinner at the favourite joints. “Most of them order grilled food along with salads. It tastes better. Dishes like grilled chicken breast are pretty nutritional and a great source of proteins.”