Cricketers are treated like gods in India, it's no hidden fact. Consequently, it's not easy for them to go out in public as the inundating love of fans, if recognized, can overwhelm them to the point of annoyance. Cricketers, like film stars, thus are forced to come up with ingenious ideas in order to avoid being recognized, so that they can enjoy their time-out in public places.
This is not just the case with Indian cricketers but also those who visit here for a series tour or for the Indian Premier League.
As a result, some of these athletes decide to undergo extensive make-up transformations in order to look nothing like they normally do just so that they too can enjoy the luxuries of being anonymous.
Here are five times cricketers hid behind disguises to go out in public in India-
1. Sourav Ganguly
In his book, A Century Is Not Enough (2018), Sourav Ganguly wrote about the time he disguised himself as a Sikh man with a full beard and turban just to attend the Durga puja.
"My wife, Dona, had arranged for a make-up artist to come home to turn me from a hardcore Bengali into a convincing-looking Sikh," he wrote.
But while Dada was sitting in his car he was stopped by a police inspector who could figure out exactly who he was.
"I was embarrassed but asked him to keep my secret. The escapade was worth it. The immersion scene around the river is just indescribable. You have to see it to understand it. Durga Ma, after all, comes only once a year," revealed the Prince of Kolkata.
2. Brett Lee
During the 2018 edition of the Indian Premier League, Australia's legendary pacer Brett Lee went undercover as a 'ragged old man' with long grey hair.
He then took a trip to a Mumbai park where he could be seen pranking children who were playing cricket.
After acting like a rookie for a while the Aussie started hitting some big shots with his bat and showed years of experience in his deliveries that nobody in that park could face. He later revealed his face only to get swarmed by his fans.
3. Matthew Hayden
In 2019, the 6'1'' athlete from Down Under was spotted at Chennai's heavily populated area of T Nagar.
He was disguised in a fake beard and mustache, and covered his head with a fisherman's hat, looking all dapper in a brand new lungi.
According to Matthew Hayden's Instagram post, he did so after former teammate Shane Warne challenged him to buy items for under Rs 1000.
"It was a challenge by Warne to buy items for under Rs 1000. That's why I went around the market to buy some lungis, shirts, Rajini sunnies and a watch," he said.
"I paid the boy Rs 100. And I can proudly tell you that I won the challenge."
4. Yusuf Pathan
Much like Brett Lee, Yusuf Pathan tried something similar in a video for Nissan India when he hid his face behind a ton of makeup and fake hair and surprised amateur cricketers who were practicing in Delhi.
Not only did Pathan act nothing like his usual self, but he also turned into the typical uncle who loves to teach cricket techniques to the younger generations even if he himself doesn't know the basics.
After annoying the children for a couple of hours, Pathan played some of his iconic, powerful shots and eventually, removed all the makeup to surprise the kids.
5. Shafali Verma
While the rest of the cricketers hid behind a disguise for fun, it became the only way for Shafali Verma to stay in touch with the game she loved so dearly.
After making her India debut last year in a Twenty20 against South Africa, 16-year-old Shafali revealed that she had once disguised herself as her brother and went on to win the 'Man of the Match' and 'Man of the Series' awards before joining the Indian women's cricket team.
"I told my father that I will go and play disguised as my brother (who was sick) and even had his name on my back," Verma told AFP.
"I played and became the man of the match and series."