'I take a shower every day'
Hygiene, nicknames, freeloaders, arson and more in this interview with the Mumbai Indians' enfant terrible
Is it true that you have 20,000-plus songs on your iPod?
Yes, it is true.
Which one do you listen to the most?
The one am hooked on to these days is "O Saathi Re, Tere Bina Bhi Kyan Jeena" [What's the point of living without you].
Who is your saathi (partner)?
I'm trying to find one.
Tell us a secret about yourself.
There must be something we don't know.
I take a shower every day.
What was the most naughty thing you did as a kid?
I was very naughty. I'm still like that. Once, at school, I shot at a beehive, after which there was complete chaos. When they found I was the culprit, the teachers gave me a lot of stick.
Name one mistake you try never to repeat on the field?
I don't want to give loose balls. I don't want to drop a catch, especially off my own bowling. And I don't want to get out by giving a direct catch.
You are supposed to be a specialist at giving your team-mates nicknames. Give us some examples. And which one was your best?
Viru's [Virender Sehwag] is good - "Lala". Yuvi's [Yuvraj Singh] is "Buggi", [Suresh] Raina's is "Bhabhi".
What's the one ball you've bowled that you will always treasure?
My best ball in Test cricket is the one that got Michael Hussey in Bangalore last year. He left the ball and it turned in to him like a legspinner. I don't know how it happened and it was like a mystery ball even to me. I was shocked when I saw it again later, because it turned in big time.
One sledge you won't forget?
Actually a lot of people are scared to sledge me, because if they do so they know they will have to hear a lot of crap from me later.
Batsman you most enjoy beating?
Brian Lara. Toughest.
What's the best thing about playing cricket for a living?
God has been kind that I can actually do something I love.
One compliment you won't forget?
I'm still waiting for it. Perhaps I will get it when I pick up my 500th Test wicket.
What do hotel rooms need to make them more enjoyable?
I don't want to say. You will land me in trouble.
Which ground has the most hostile crowds?
And the most amusing crowds?
Kolkata and Mumbai.
Which tour do you look most forward to?
Going home. That is a very short tour, but the one I enjoy the most.
What do you like to drink to celebrate a victory?
I enjoy a glass champagne or wine with my team-mates after a victory.
How often do your friends ask you for free tickets to matches?
All the time. Once someone asked, "Can you get 70 tickets please?" Seventy! Mera ghar ka thodi hain stadium, yaar! [I don't own the stadium]. People feel we get tickets easily, but we only get three each. It's hard to explain to friends. They think we are lying. That is not the case.
If you could have one thing from the likes of Anil Kumble or Sachin Tendulkar, what would it be?
The thing I would like from them is the way they handle things: they are very calm. Of course, apart from that, I would try to be like them - they are champions. And I hope people remember the day I leave cricket.
If you were to design a t-shirt, what five words you would put on it that describe you best?
Emotional, straightforward, prankster, fighter, no-nonsense.
If your house was on fire what would you grab first?
I will grab the guy who burned my house and make sure I burn him first.
Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at Cricinfo
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