'I'll always remember getting Sachin paaji out'
Have you taught Preity Zinta how to bowl a wrong'un?
Not really. She wants to bat, she's not interested in bowling. Whoever starts to play the game wants to bat.
Are the shorter boundaries in Twenty20 unjust?
Even the crowds don't come to see a bowler getting a batsman out - they just come to see fours and sixes. So, yes, it is injustice.
Has Sreesanth taught you anything?
I am a quick learner, but I am in no mood to learn anything from Sreesanth.
What is your favourite Uttar Pradesh phrase?
Chida rahe ho, boss? (You teasing me, mate?)
What's one game you would pay to watch?
I would have loved to watch a Test - if not, then an ODI - where Sachin paaji [Tendulkar] faced Shane Warne.
You seem to be crazy about shades.
I have some 40-odd pairs. In the IPL I carried 15 around with me in a hard box.
What is one thing you never did as a kid?
I never fancied autographs. When I went to the National Cricket Academy, some of the boys from my batch would ask for autographs from the Indian players who were recuperating or attending camps. I would tell the boys, "Just take my autograph. One day you will remember me."
What are you known as at home?
Paras - it is a stone that turns anything it touches into gold.
Is there a game from cricket history you'd have liked to play in, as the player who turned the match?
Anil bhai [Kumble] picked up 6 for 12 against the West Indies [Hero Cup final, 1993]. That was in an ODI and that turned the whole match.
What is the best advice Kumble has given you?
I spoke to him after I was dropped from the Indian team. I was quite frustrated, those first three months. But he said, "Play your cricket, enjoy your cricket and just give it your best shot. Everything will fall into place." I can never forget those words.
Which batsmen do you not like bowling to?
Yuvi [Yuvraj Singh], Mahi [MS Dhoni], Viru [Virender Sehwag]. They hit so hard and you don't have any place to run.
Are there any advantages to being short?
As a legspinner it allows me to flight the ball nicely. And most of the greats are short - Brian Lara, Ricky Ponting, Sachin paaji, Sunil Sir [Gavaskar], they all are short. I want to follow in their footsteps.
What is one rule you would like changed in favour of bowlers?
In the Powerplay, I would like to have three fielders in the outfield in Twenty20.
Tell us about a funny incident involving an umpire.
During a practice game against Australia in Hyderabad a couple of years ago, I deliberately did not deliver the ball this one time. I just went through the motions and turned my bowling arm over, but the ball was in my hand. I forget who the batsman was, but the umpire signalled a no-ball. I was surprised and pointed at the ball in my hand and he apologised immediately.
What has been your best moment on a cricket field so far?
The one ball that changed my life: getting Sachin paaji out in the Challenger Trophy. I was just 16 then and it will remain in my memory always.
What is the best ball you have seen a legspinner bowl?
The ultimate would be the ball of the century by Shane Warne. There was another one from Warne to Andrew Strauss - he left it alone but the ball started outside off and went behind his legs to knock out the off stump [Edgbaston, 2005].
Name one quality you have that Anil Kumble doesn't.
I am very, very mischievous.
Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at Cricinfo