Sporting style

Off the field Matthew Hayden and Venkatesh Prasad  

What are the Chennai Super King stars doing in Pondy Bazaar?

G ood looking cricketers engrossed in shopping, slipping in and out of shirts and showing off well-toned bodies, is something we don't see very often.

At the Peter England store in Pondy Bazaar, Stephen Fleming, Matthew Hayden, Venkatesh Prasad and Steve Rixon spend a morning choosing clothes for themselves. The brand is Chennai Super King's official sponsor of their off-field clothing, and to commemorate the IPL, the brand has come up with PE CSK, a range of casual shirts, T-shirts, denims, caps and sports badges.

Fleming looks striking in a steel grey shirt as he adds a few business shirts to his shopping cart. Must say the guy has good taste for whatever he tries on looks chic. “I do enjoy fashion. My style is a mix of conservative and smart casuals.” The CSK coach says he is happy to be back in Chennai and enjoys the attention he receives here. This time he is not alone.

Along with him is Steve Rixon (CSK's additional coach), who had earlier coached the New Zealand cricket team. “IPL this year is a new experience for me and we share a very good working relationship,” says Rixon. He feels the team's fielding is ‘very fixable' and it has many talented youngsters. Ask him if he has picked up any Tamil, and he laughs: “I have caught onto what's not good. But if somebody would teach me, I could learn the language.”

Hayden is around too, but untraceable. He keeps popping in and out of the trial room. Meanwhile, I spot the lanky Prasad, who sticks out like Gulliver in a land of dwarfs. He seems excited about having found the right length of trousers for himself. “The first trouser I tried fitted me perfectly, and as you can see, I am walking around in them,” he smiles.

And finally, Hayden emerges in a navy blue T-shirt. Images of him clobbering the ball over the boundary flash across my mind. Asked about his style, he says: “It's very casual. As a father of three, I am mostly comfortable in shorts and T-shirts; I'm not that clued into fashion. My wife is… she decides my wardrobe.”

He says it's great to be back in Chennai, now his second home. And has picked up a bit of Hindi. “ Mera naam Mathew hai,” he adds with an Aussie drawl.