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Prajakta Pawar in Mumbai

Want to be Sherlock Holmes: Irfan

Delhi Daredevils paceman reveals his quick wit

“I’m a funny man”, says Irfan Pathan, raising our expectations before his rapidfire interview. Twenty minutes later, we agree. The Delhi Daredevils paceman, who leaves batsmen stunned with his in-swingers, left us equally stunned with his quick wit.

With a boy-next-door charm belying his celebrity status, Irfan spoke fondly about his family and friends. And the not-so-mundane desire to time-travel and be Sherlock Holmes. Take a look.

1. My favourite cuisine is my mum’s biryani. She also cooks this mixed vegetable curry which I think is the best vegetarian dish in the whole world.

2. When it comes to beverages, I like milkshakes, hot chocolate and anything else that tastes good.

3. My favourite movie is Hera Pheri. Amongst English films I love Ali in which Will Smith played the title role. I like any movie which has Adam Sandler, Will Smith, Amitabh Bachchan or Paresh Rawal.

4. My favourite music artiste is Lucky Ali. I’d love for him to sing more than he does because he’s got a different kind of voice. I also like listening to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Sonu Nigam and Kishore Kumar.

5. My favourite TV series are Two And A Half Men and The Simpsons. In Hindi there’s a comedy series called Lapata Ganj that airs on Sab TV. A lot of people don’t like that kind of sense of humour but I enjoy it.

6. My favourite gadgets are the Blackberry and iPod. I also carry my laptop with me wherever I go because I like to watch a lot of movies.

7. My mantra in life is Jiyo aur jeene do (Live and let live). With time and experience I’ve also realised the key to being happy is being satisfied with whatever god has given to you. 

8. I idolise my brother a lot. He’s a gem of a person and a very genuine guy. In cricket, I really admire [VVS] Laxman bhai. I don’t think you’ll find any better person than him.

9. One thing I cannot live without is food. I don’t have any other bad habits like drinking or smoking, but I love indulging in food. It’s my weakness.

10. I don’t follow any particular trend or style. I wear whatever looks good on me and whatever I can carry off. 

11. Robin [Uthappa] and my brother [Yusuf] are my best mates in cricket. Robin and I share a husband-and-wife sort of relationship. We fight a lot and at the same time cannot do without each other.

12. Adam Gilchrist was the toughest batsman I’ve bowled to. He was always a tough nut to crack. He had all the shots in the book and at the same time was very aggressive.

13. The easiest batsman to bowl to? There were times when I used to bowl to Mohammad Yousuf and thought I could get him out. He is, no doubt, a world-class batsman but sometimes you feel you can get a batsman out.

14. My favourite non-cricketing sportsperson has to be Muhammad Ali. His entire life is a story of motivation. He was someone who always stood by what he thought was right. He made black look beautiful. He was a three-time world champion and a fierce competitor but he was also a gem of a person. He had a sharp tongue but a pure heart. I remember, once in England I saw a security officer wearing an Ali shirt. I made him take it off in the hotel lobby and gave him his choice of bat from my kitbag in return. I still carry that T-shirt with me.

15. My most memorable cricketing moments are my Test debut at Adelaide, the 2007 World Twenty20 win where I was the Man-of-the-Match in the final, the Test hat-trick against Pakistan and making a comeback in 2011.

16. If I weren’t a cricketer, I’d probably be a priest or a doctor, like my mom wanted me to be. I don’t think I’d have done a good job of either profession.

17. My favourite delivery is the in-swinger that releases perfectly from my hand. I like to see the ball coming in and hitting the pads of the batsman.

18. If I could have a superpower, I’d like to have a time machine. I’d visit the past, repeat the good things that happened and try to change the bad ones. Personally, I’d go back and enjoy my school life all over again.

19. If I were invisible for a day, I’d become Sherlock Holmes and reveal all the mysteries of the world.

20. My message to Delhi Daredevils’ opponents is – beware of Mahela Jayawardene, Kevin Pietersen, David Warner, Ross Taylor and most importantly, our captain Virender Sehwag.

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