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Robin Uthappa

Loud and happy with Jesus

The Mumbai Indian turned Bangalore Challenger disturbs the peace at a theatre, gets hold of Tendulkar's bat, and twists a few ears

MS Dhoni carries Robin Uthappa on his back, Bangalore, June 14, 2007
Uthappa tries to find out if MS Dhoni ever gets angry © Associated Press

Are you religious?
Very.

What's the best sledge you've heard?
It's a funny sledge - Andrew Symonds laughingly called out "Hey, baby gorilla," at me during the CB Series league match in Adelaide [2008]. Even if both teams were involved in some hard exchanges during the course of the tournament I found that really funny.

What do hotel rooms need to make them more enjoyable?
They should have PlayStations.

If your house were on fire, what would you grab?
Get hold of my passport, my wallet, get my family together, and make sure I grab my Bible too.

If you weren't a cricketer, what would you be?
I like to study the mind, so perhaps a psychologist.

We see you twist the ears of fellow players during celebrations. Why?
I get so happy, I just want to beat them up in some sort of fashion, so I end up twisting ears.

Most embarrassing moment
In my debut ODI, the way I ran myself out was really embarrassing. It was very funny. I hit the ball along the ground to the straight boundary. Rahul [Dravid] was my partner and we came back for two. James Anderson, the fielder, aimed the ball towards the bowler's end, so I didn't pay much attention. The ball then travelled towards my end. Rahul didn't point it out. And I paid for being casual when Geraint Jones whipped off the bails.

Describe yourself in five words.
Loud, happy, positive, competitive, religious

Is it true that you fell down laughing while watching Hitch?
We were watching at a movie theatre, and by the halfway mark I was sitting on the ground. It was so hilarious.

Laughing seems to be quite a thing with you. Some of your team-mates have said they want to know why you laugh loudly on flights.
Because I watch those in-flight soaps and they really crack me up. I'm the dil khol ke hasta hain [laughs from the heart] kind. I out-and-out enjoy myself.

What's playing on your iPod these days?
I listen to a lot of gospel music. There is this church choir, Hillsong United, and "Hosanna" by them is one of my favourites.

You are the proud owner of…
Eleven dogs and four very beautiful cars. I have a Santro, Skoda, Scorpio and Verna.

Have you ever played with Sachin Tendullkar's bat?
Yes. The great man has been really kind and gave me one of his bats, which I treasure. It is a fairly light bat. During the IPL last year I said, "Paaji, I would love to have one of your bats." Then, during our away game against Kolkata Knight Riders as I was opening my kit, he said, "Here, this is for you." I was so excited. I got it autographed by him. He wrote, "Go, smash them."

MS Dhoni ko gussa kyon aata hain… [What makes MS Dhoni angry?]
MS Dhoni ko gussa kahan aata hain! [When is MS Dhoni ever angry?]

Tell us something we don't know about you?
I'm an absolute romantic.

Robin Uthappa at a promotional event, Mumbai, January 3, 2008
Car-lover Uthappa flogs vehicles for a manufacturer © Associated Press

Can you give us an example?
That would be too personal.

Are you a fan of Bollywood?
I'm a huge Bollywood buff. Aamir Khan, Hrithik Roshan and Shah Rukh Khan are my favorites.

What is your favourite line of dialogue from a movie?
It's from Notting Hill. Julia Roberts says, "I'm just a girl asking a boy to love her."

If you are stuck in an airport lounge, what would you opt for: sleep, a Sudoku or a crossword?
If you force me, probably Sudoku.

You are a foodie, we hear. What is the most unusual food you have ever tasted?
When you go to the West Indies, all you taste is unusual food. You either take MTR [ready-to-cook food brand] packets or eat unusual food. Their jerk chicken was one of my favourites.

What's the best cricket advice you've ever got?
"Don't change your batting - bat the way you are batting. Stick to what works for you." Tendulkar told me that in 2007 during the tri-series in Sri Lanka.

If you were to design a t-shirt with a line on it, what words would you print?
It would read: "All things are possible through Christ who gives me strength."

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

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