R Ashwin April 4, 2012

'I know more about offspin than Sachin'

The India and Chennai bowler on the one thing he can beat Tendulkar at, and being a bit of a cricket nerd

Tell us something we don't know about you?
I am a very sensitive person, especially when it comes to heart-to-heart conversations. I am straightforward and I expect the same from people.

We have asked your team-mates and some think you are a better engineer than a cricketer.
(Laughs) I don't know if I would have made a better engineer than a cricketer. I definitely think I am a much better cricketer.

They say you're a cricket nerd.
I won't say if nerd is the right term, but I'm a big, big cricket fanatic. I just cannot stop thinking, talking cricket. I do carry notebooks and make notes to look at improving and developing my own game. Being the only kid in the family, I grew up talking cricket with my parents. But that has comparatively reduced over a period of time. I have made my dad understand that we shouldn't be talking cricket at home.

The one thing a Tam Brahmin cannot live without?
Thairsaadam (curd rice). I am not usually fussy about food but sometimes on overseas tours if I get bored I take a cooker and some rice and enjoy some curd rice.

What is one Olympic sport you would like a ticket to?
Field hockey, weightlifting, and watching Usain Bolt in the 100 metres.

What was the last book you read?
The one I am reading at the moment is by Jim Collins on improving skills - how one can go from good to great. The last book I read was Fredrick Forsyth's The Devils Alternative.

Late nights or early mornings?
Early mornings. I love my mornings. I used to wake up at 4am as a kid to go for my cricket training. I also love cycling. If I'm in the mood, I take the bike out for a ride.

Does your family wake up to the sounds of MS Subbalakshmi?
Not really. We are not an orthodox Tamil family.

What song would you like played at your funeral?
Interesting. It will have to be the Tamil rap song "Pettai Rap" from the movie Kadhalan.

We're told you are a Tamil movie buff. Can you do a dialogue from a film?
A Rajni [Rajnikant] dialogue would be a good one. It comes from a movie called Pasha. Rajni says Naan oru dhadave sonna, nooru dhadave sonna madri" [If I have said it once, I have said it a 100 times].

Who's your all-time non-sporting hero?
Kamal Hasan and Aamir Khan. Both experiment with their movies. Kamal is probably slightly more talented than Aamir.

What is the one thing you can beat Sachin Tendulkar at?
The knowledge that I have about my trade - offspin bowling. I definitely know my art.

Leander Paes has just won his 50th doubles title. What does it mean to you as an Indian?
I am a very proud Indian. Each time Leander or Mahesh Bhupathi does well I'm elated.

What's the one question the media should be banned from asking you?
The media should not be allowed to ask about a sportsperson's personal life.

What kind of batsman is most difficult to bowl to?
The kind of batsman who really uses his feet - sits back and taps the ball to the on side and allows the other batsman to take strike.

Who is the one person you like following on Twitter?
Andre Agassi.

Name one advantage for an international cricketer of being married and one disadvantage.
There is no disadvantage as such. You must enjoy life with your partner. I am a very much a family man. Marriage gives you a feeling of being settled. I have someone who I can bank on and it is a really wonderful feeling.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo