Challenger of the Day- Vinay Kumar
The genial fast bowler on his secret cricket diary, being chased by a wild elephant, and playing the character of a drunkard for a prank.
Do you have any pets?
Yes, I had quite a few cats at home. It began with Chammi who then gave birth to 4 kittens. It was a full house!
How religious are you?
Fairly religious. I visit Ganesha and Anjaneya temples in Bangalore from time to time.
What's the most eventful trip you've been on with cricket mates?
We went on this one day trek to Kabini in Karnataka with the Ranji team in 2007. We were ready to take off on the trail when we saw a wild elephant charging towards us. We turned and ran for dear life. It was fortunate that it was an all-cricketer group and could jog at a fair clip! A forest official's tranquilizer saved the day.
If you had the opportunity to be on the field for a cricket classic, which role would you play?
I'd have loved to partner Yuvraj or Kaif in that thrilling chase in the Natwest trophy final of 2002. What a match that was!
When you're the 12th man, what's the one menial task that you detest doing?
Sitting around doing nothing! I don't mind the smaller tasks although of course I'd love to come on as a substitute fielder and be part of the action.
What's the first rule you implemented as captain? (of the Karnataka team for the Vijay Hazare Trophy 2009-10)
Everyone at this level understands their roles. No rules. I just said two words, "Enjoy boss!"
You've been called the Rahul Dravid of Indian bowling for your attitude. Have you ever gotten him out?
I haven't had the chance to play against him competitvely, but in one RCB practise match that I got him to play a false shot, the fielder at long-on dropped it!
You have a reputation for being meticulous and stories about a progress diary that you write abound. What exactly goes in there?
I started writing it in 1996 to understand where I could improve based on my previous performances. It's been 14 years now!
What's the funnest thing you've done with the diary?
At the beginning of the season gone by, I flipped the diary to the 2007 season in which I'd picked up the highest wickets (47 in 2007) across Ranji and Duleep trophy and started following every detail exactly as how I'd done it then. And voila, 53 wickets in the last season!
I hear real estate is an area of interest for you. Where would you buy a holiday home if you could?
Mysore. The pleasant weather, peace and tranquility make the it the perfect place to wind down.
The image of a nice guy notwithstanding, have you ever pulled a prank on any of your teammates?
Yeah. When I was playing Zonal cricket in Tumkur, I decided to give my good friend Santosh a bit of of a hard time by acting as if I were drunk all evening and needed to be taken care of. He even got offended but when I immediately changed track after midnight to prove I was joking, the smile was back.