Graeme Swann June 21, 2009

'I'm a charlatan'

He's not quite a rock star, and he didn't become a fighter pilot. At least he's England's first-choice spinner

If you were to bet on Andy Murray winning the Wimbledon or England the Ashes, which one would you fancy?
England winning the Ashes, because Andy Murray is Scottish, so I don't care if he wins Wimbledon or not.

What is the funniest thing someone ever said about you?
I read in the newspaper the other day that I've matured a lot.

What's the worst headline you read about yourself?
I don't know about the headline, but there are sometimes fans who shout words that are a bit tedious at times. Sometimes they shout that my last name shouldn't be Swann, it should be Duck, which is just appalling. Then there was someone shouting out the other day that I've got Swann flu and not swine flu. That is not very clever.

Do you like intellectual things?
I like to do the crossword in the Times, but it tends to be I can't finish it, so I end up making my own words to fill in.

What's the best book you ever read?
1984 by George Orwell - a super book. I tend to read on tours and I end up reading Tom Clancy and Frederic Forsyth and Patrick Robinson rather than [Fyodor] Dostoyevsky and [Frederick] Nietzsche.

Who's sledged you the most?
Dominic Cork

And who have you sledged most?
Cork again. I used to reply to everyone, but I soon realised the best way is to just shut up and get on with it.

What kind of batsman is most difficult to bowl to?
Unpredictable players, because you don't know what they are gonna do next. They normally happen to be down the order.

What would you write on the whiteboard in the dressing room?
"Enjoy yourself."

Your band is called Dr Comfort and the Lurid Revelations. What's behind the name?
Dr Comfort was actually a psychologist in the 1970s, and he released a book of lurid revelations about the women who visited him. Apparently at the time it was quite shocking. It made us chuckle, so we thought we we'd go with that.

Do you see yourself as a rock star?
No, not at all. I'm a charlatan. I've sung in front of at most 200 people.

If not a cricketer what would you be?
I wish I could've been a fighter pilot. When I was at school there was a US airbase not far from us, and when we were playing rugby the planes used to dogfight over the top. And after watching Top Gun every schoolboy in England wanted to be a fighter pilot.

Tell us something we don't know about you.
Some people are just cat people, some people are just dog people, but I love both. At the moment I have two cats.

You seem outrageous by all accounts. Did you ever fancy being a streaker?
No. But they always make me laugh, and it is a shame people get arrested for doing it. I think there are too many killjoys in the world.

What do you think of Duncan Fletcher?
Excellent coach.

Have you ever tested your IQ?
I got it tested at school. It'd probably be in the high 150s.

What's the one question the media should be banned from asking you?
The media should be allowed to ask anything, but they should be prepared to get any sort of reply back. It can't be one-way traffic. You can't say exactly what they want you to.

What has been your best dismissal to date?
[Sachin] Tendulkar lbw in the Mohali Test last year, specially after he got the hundred in the Test match before, and also being the best player by miles in the world. A week before, in Chennai, we'd bowled so much at him trying to get him out. It was like banging our heads against a brick wall, and all of sudden I get him in Mohali, so it was the relief the moment that was the best thing about that wicket.

What's the best compliment you've ever got?
Mushy [Mushtaq Ahmed] once told me it's nice to see me always smiling in the dressing room.

One thing you would like from Muttiah Muralitharan?
His doosra.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at Cricinfo