What was it like playing in the Indian Premier League season of 2008?
I enjoyed playing against guys whom I might have never faced otherwise. I saw how AB de Villiers, Daniel Vettori and [Virender] Sehwag play; how they go about their game. It was good to play under Sehwag’s captainship.
What’s more difficult: playing on the field or being a fair commentator?
It’s tougher being a commentator. I like bowlers more, but if a batsman hits a boundary, you’re supposed to get equally excited. I try to have fun with it though.
Your best game so far...
Was against Pakistan at the WACA Ground in 2004. I took eight wickets for 24 runs.
A bad habit you can’t shake off.
Eating too much chocolate. I’m a chocolate lover.
Your first crush…
On a girl? (Laughs) I think it was back when I was in school. I don’t remember her name anymore.
Is it hard to go from playing to coaching?
I never wanted to get into coaching after retirement. But now I coach at the MRF Pace Foundation in Chennai and I’m really enjoying it.
One thing you can do faster than you can bowl?
A sport you play other than cricket.
Golf. I don’t play much of it though.
You’re fondly called ‘Pigeon’. What’s the story behind it?
When I was playing for New South Wales, Brad McNamara saw a pigeon that couldn’t land and joked that I had stolen its legs because I was very skinny. A stupid comment like that has stuck ever since.
If not a cricketer, you would’ve been...
Running a game reserve in Africa, probably. But I still don’t know what I want to do.
Does your son, James, want to play professionally?
He enjoys cricket and he is a natural bowler. I work with him on his batting.
A genre of music you enjoy.
I grew up listening to country music so I enjoy that. But I have two teenagers, so I’m listening to a lot of
Your cricketing hero.
It has to be Dennis Lillee. I used to get inspired by his attitude, charisma and body language. He was a real showman.
A superpower you wish you had.
To be able to see into the future. I’d want to know what was going to happen in the next five minutes.
You hold the record for dismissing the most batsmen for ducks in Test cricket – which one was
Most batsmen leave the field calmly. It’s only when you get into the dressing rooms that you see them throwing stuff around.
Every time I got Sachin [Tendulkar] out, it was a good feeling. People still come up to me and talk about how I took his wicket in the 2003 World Cup.
The oddest reaction from a fan.
These days, they come to me and say ‘Oh I didn’t realise you were so tall!’ TV makes you look shorter, I guess.
Which actor would be a good choice to play you in a biopic?
The best advice you’ve received so far.
I used to get really nervous while speaking in public. Someone told me to just be myself, talk about things that I know and that make me happy.
Do you like Bollywood movies?
I haven’t seen many lately, but it’s definitely on my to-do list!
What’s on your bedside table?
A lamp, a clock, a horseshoe that my daughter gave me, and some healing stone that’s supposed to help concentration.
Where do you go to escape the fans and the attention?
I used to live in the countryside so I liked going into the wilderness. In Sydney, I do a lot of scuba diving. I’m a trained diver.
The last line of your autobiography would read...
"He enjoyed life and was respected by all."
From HT Brunch, June 21
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