Team India's lunch menu had a different flavour to it on Friday. The players relished Kerala-style cabbage stir fry, potato mezhukkupuratti and lentil curry before they went on to beat Australia in the first Twenty20 International at the Manuka Oval in Canberra.
Their taste buds were being satiated by a Malayali chef, Thomas Eso who hails from Ayiroor in Pathanamthitta district. He has been preparing food for the Men in Blue ever since they arrived in Canberra for the third one-dayer on Wednesday. The players were also treated to a variety of fresh juices and snacks on match days and during practice sessions, thanks to Thomas.
"I'm happy that India could win both their matches in Canberra. All the players and supporting staff offered words of appreciation for my service. Coach Ravi Shastri said the food had a homely feel about it. I will hold those words close to my heart,” Thomas said.
“Pacer Natarajan, who caught a whiff of the aroma of South Indian cuisines floating from the kitchen, was the one who came to meet me first. When I introduced myself to him, he went into the dressing room and brought Sanju Samson along. Thereafter, the other players also came to the kitchen and clicked photos with me. I found all of them very warm and friendly," he added.
Thomas had worked with a couple of five-star hotels in the US and Dubai before he moved to Australia about 15 years ago. His wife Shyni is a government employee in Canberra. The couple have two children, Abhishay and Anna.
Thomas has also cooked for the Indian women's cricket team that toured Australia some years back as well as the Australia's national rugby team.