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Dirk Nannes

'I wanted to be a musician'

He skis, he speaks broken Japanese, he plays the sax, he keeps McGrath out of the side. Delhi Daredevils' Dutch import via Australia opens up

Dirk Nannes celebrates the wicket of Jacques Kallis off the first ball, Bangalore Royal Challengers v  Delhi Daredevils, IPL, Port Elizabeth, April 26, 2009
How do you say "bowled 'im" in Japanese? © AFP

What's your claim to fame?
Being Jack of all trades, master of none.

So what are the trades you've tried your hand at?
I've tried my hand at music, business, skiing, and now cricket.

What sort of music?
I always wanted to be a musician growing up. I played saxophone but gave up after a while.

And the skiing and snowboarding?
I was a mobile skier - basically freestyle skiing - and I represented Australia at the World Cup, the most prestigious tournament in the sport.

Is there any sort of correlation between skiing and cricket?
Absolutely none.

What's the most dangerous thing in skiing - the closest to facing a 100mph delivery?
That would be going off a massive jump for the first time. My personal best was 30 metres long and eight metres high.

You speak Japanese, we've heard.
I speak it, but very broken if at all. I can't put a sentence together.

What would you tell your grandchildren about keeping Glenn McGrath out of the team?
I would tell them their granddad once got picked ahead of the best fast bowler in history. And for one day at least, I was better than the best fast bowler - even though he was retired.

If you were batting to McGrath, what do you think would be the first ball he'd bowl to you?
Chest-high full-toss or bouncer. I wouldn't score, but I wouldn't be dead either. I would cut it away with my glove maybe …

If you were teaching Jesse Ryder to ski, what would your first instruction be?
Try and stand up [with the skis on].

What's the one thing in your cricket career that you regret?
Dropping about 50 catches over my career.

Do you still have butterfingers?
No, I'm okay now, but I used to s**t myself under catches years ago.

Who's your favorite commentator and why?
Michael Holding and Damien Fleming. Fleming takes the piss out of everyone and I enjoy it and laugh all the time. He talks sense as a former fast bowler.

What's the one sledge you're tempted to use on the field but can't?
I can't really use it in an interview either. I would love to be an angry fast bowler and just abuse people, but I really don't have it in me to do it.

What's the dumbest nickname anyone's given you?
"Dirty Dirk". I just hate it. I don't know how it came about.

Tell us something we don't know about you?
[Asks his wife, Erin, for help] My wife says I'm an excellent father and I've always got time for my kid.

When you're being belted around the park, who do you think of?
Brad Hodge. Six years ago he took 29 off one of my overs. Even it if it was in some practice game in Victoria, I remember it and it does trouble me.

If not for cricket what would you use cricket balls for?
Use them for lawn bowls for my son.

What are you are a proud owner of?
Five musical instruments, five computers, and 600-odd CDs.

Complete this sentence: When in Australia, don't forget ...
To use sunscreen.

What do you like to drink when celebrating a win?
Beer.

When you travel to a foreign country, what do you look for?
Something unusual that I wouldn't see in my country. Vietnam, Japan are places with cultural differences that I have visited.

Do you own any unique cricketing record?
I'm probably the only fast bowler to have figures 0.1-0-2-1. I bowled a knee-high full toss, which was caught at point. The next two deliveries were full-tosses past the head and were called no-balls, and I taken off the attack. There's another one where I bowled the first ball and faced the first ball for Victoria against Queensland at the Gabba in 2006-07.

What's the best compliment you have received so far?
The best thing various people have told me is I'm far better than what I think I am - that I belong at this level.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

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