Wasim Jaffer February 23, 2008

'Lee's toughest to face'

The joys of playing at Lord's, favourite openers, Ranji v Duleep, and more


What is the best place you have played cricket at?
England is pretty good - Lord's, particularly. There is a lot of history attached to the ground and it is a privilege to have played there. The Long Room, the people, the atmosphere ... it all just makes it a special feeling. In India, Kolkata comes close.

Who is your favourite opener?
Barry Richards. I have only watched a few tapes of his, but I was so impressed. I talked to a lot of people about him, and everybody holds him in very high regard. I made it a point to speak to him and talk about batting.

Sunil Gavaskar and Matthew Hayden are my other favourites.

Who is the most difficult bowler to open against?
Brett Lee in his current form. Especially considering he has bowled really well against me. Before him, Glenn McGrath was tough to play against.

What is the one big adjustment you have had to make at the international level?
The pressure there plays a big role, so the biggest adjustment is mental. Also, the attacks are better, more consistent, and always at you. So you have to make sure you are always at the top of your game.

You have been part of teams that have won the Ranji and Duleep trophies. Can you compare the two?
Winning the Ranji Trophy means a lot because all along you have been playing with the same players: you have that bonding and team spirit going. Winning a Duleep Trophy is special too, but there you come together for a few weeks, win the trophy, and go back to your states. That bonding during the Ranji Trophy makes the success extra sweet.

Sidharth Monga is a staff writer at Cricinfo