IPL anchor Lekha Washington on matches, on and off the field, interviewed by Janaki Viswanathan
Why is a qualified filmmaker hosting IPL matches?
(Laughs) I'm a qualified filmmaker who loves being in front of the camera. IPL is a platform to showcase myself and I enjoy the game, especially the short-match format. The atmosphere is so festive. IPL is wickedly cool.
Did this new role require much homework?
Oh yes, I bought a whole bunch of books to coach myself.. on cricketers' names, biographies and terminology.
Were you apprehensive when you landed in Jaipur a couple of days after the blasts for a match?
No, life had returned to normal by then. Money from the camera crew and team members were pooled in to donate to the victims' families. The organisers also gave away Rs 6 crore.
You're a roving anchor.. ever wished you were indoors in a studio?
In the beginning, yes. Studio anchors are a pampered lot. But this way I get to meet more people. I'm not complaining.
The celebs of course, and others too. In Bangalore, I met this guy who had been Nelson Mandela's bodyguard for eight years. He was part of the VVIP security. We got chatting. He's been shot at twice.
Your co-host Ajay Jadeja is rather flirtatious on camera.. what's he like off the camera?
(Laughs) Even off the camera, he's quite a flirt. Ajay is a cool guy, very buddy-buddy.
You interviewed Shane Warne thrice, he seems quite sweet on you.. was that a childhood fantasy come true?
No, my childhood-dream-come-true was meeting Shah Rukh Khan.
Shane's interviews were a bit of a shock because he was hell-bent on not giving any. I was talking to someone else when they asked him if he'd like to do a q-and-a and he said, "Okay."
What is he like?
Very lucid and forthcoming. He doesn't always say what is expected of him. I know his bad boy image is almost legendary but I haven't had a dose of that yet.
Which cricketer would you like to date?
(Giggles) I have been asked out by several of them. There's a whole lot of testosterone out there.
Some of them are very upfront, others are subtler. One of them, a part-time teacher, was an intellectual.
Have you ever been to any of the dressing rooms?
I did visit one in Bangalore. It was so sexy. They have lazyboys and a sauna.. cricketers are really spoilt.
Which team are you rooting for?
Chennai Super Kings, Rajasthan Royals and Kolkata Knight Riders.
Who are the hottest cricketers?
Shane Warne.. Ricky Ponting.. Shane Watson.. actually he's cute, not hot. And of course, Shoaib Akthar.. he is such a flirt!