Prannoy Roy

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Prannoy Roy

Camera-shy, publicity-shy owner of the Mumbai Indians, Nita Ambani, on India Decides. Here’s the full transcript of the interview:

Prannoy Roy: So very lucky to have you with us Nita Ambani, thank you very much for joining us. Many congratulations on the streak of victory this time. What an amazing number of wins by the Mumbai Indians. What's different? What are you doing different this time?
Nita Ambani: I think the difference is that we have a very young, talented, disciplined team, ably led by Sachin, mentored by our seniors like Harbajan, Zaheer, Robin and Sekar. So I think we are gelling well as a unit.

Prannoy Roy: Yeah, the entire team is performing well. But Sachin, he's playing like a 21-year-old now!
Nita Ambani: Absolutely! Mukesh and I keep on telling Sachin, your best is yet to come and his energy just surprises us all the time.

Prannoy Roy: Right, you must be giving him the right diet, I wish we knew what he ate. But he's also a wonderful human being and great to have part of the team, isn't he?
Nita Ambani: He's a fabulous, humble human being. I have known him for years as a parent at my school and now he's a family friend and the way he approaches his game, with such discipline; it is just wonderful to just watch him and learn so much from him.

Prannoy Roy: Now, Nita, all the viewers have asked me to ask you this one question - Sachin says he is not going to play the T-20 World Cup and they say that you're the only one that can convince him. Please convince him to play.
Nita Ambani: Well I'm a huge fan of Sachin, but I think there's some decision, with his cricketing wisdom, that he has taken and I think we should respect them.

Prannoy Roy: I should give him his...but you know, we will really miss him, especially the form his is in. Coming to your role, how much time do you spend strategizing with the team? Must be taking quite a lot of your time, it's really involving.
Nita Ambani: You know last (year) after I came back from South Africa, I realized the only way I could manage this team is to learn cricket thoroughly. So the last eight months have been spent in learning cricket and spending a lot of quality time with my team. Specially, it was a decision to encourage youngsters, young up-coming talent like Shikhar and Saurabh and Ambati and Stuart Binny and Ali Murtuza. So we spent a lot of time motivating them, building a strong team unit which is ably led by our captain Sachin.

Prannoy Roy: I must say, the youngsters are doing amazingly well and it’s lovely to see Ben Strinth growing like this, but we also see Mukesh very involved this season. The whole IPL must have brought positive fun into your lives.
Nita Ambani: Yes, yes. I think it has brought a lot of positivity in our whole family, including Mukesh and Mukesh's mother and my mother and all our children. We are all involved in Mumbai Indians!

Prannoy Roy: And is it true that Mukesh is a little superstitious and doesn't want to sit during a match because he always stands and cheers.
Nita Ambani: I don't know whether it's that but I think he just enjoys it and then gets very involved and very anxious. I think he keeps on standing!

Prannoy Roy: One other question which viewers want to ask. You always bring a child to the presentation, tell us what that signifies. Are you involved...the team is involved in some kind of educational initiative, right? Tell us more about that.
Nita Ambani: You know Prannoy, education was my passion and now cricket has become my passion and I thought, how do I combine both these passions? And 40 per cent of the Indian population is under 18 years old and education is the key to unlock this huge talented potential. When I spoke to Sachin, he very, very strongly said we are there to support you. So we decided to support five of these NGOs who've done outstanding work at grassroots level with children and education and I'm so happy for this initiative, really.

Prannoy Roy: It is very important for stars, Bollywood stars or cricket stars to campaign for a good's good to see that.
Nita Ambani: Yeah, and Mumbai Indians has such a large fan base. And if we can spread awareness using this platform, I think we can do a lot to unlock this huge potential that is laying in India.

Prannoy Roy: But tell me, with all this hard work, involvement, passion in building this team, which is done so well, do you have time for your school as well? That's another passion, right?
Nita Ambani: Yes it is. I'm enjoying (it). Actually Prannoy, I've enjoyed the journey of cricket. I've learnt a lot and I've cherished every moment and I enjoy my school everyday. I leave in the morning to go to school and then it's to cricket.

Prannoy Roy: But you're a really bad example for all of us, it seems like you spend 20 hours a day working!
Nita Ambani: At this moment, I'm doing a 20-hour day but enjoying every moment of it!

Prannoy Roy: Yeah, so for Nita Ambani, there've been two big successes - cricket and education. What next?
Nita Ambani: The university, Prannoy, I'm looking forward to the university.

Prannoy Roy: Tell us a little bit about it.
Nita Ambani: Well, it's still very, very initial. We're looking at land, but you know, after my children left for Yale and Brown, I've realized that there is a need for liberal education in India. And I've been now talking to various universities and thinking how do we get this and integrate this so that the university has the best of international education but still has a very Indian soul and is rich in Indian culture, just like my school.

Prannoy Roy: Now, I've got to say, personally I just love the name Mumbai Indians - really appropriate. But I do have one favor to ask of you, would you please be a little kind to the Kolkata Knight Riders, you know Kolkata is my hometown, if you could be a little kind to them.
Nita Ambani: (Laughs)

Prannoy Roy: Ok, thanks very much Nita Ambani for joining us. Rare to have you on television and congratulations on an amazing streak with the Mumbai Indians.

10 years ago

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