India batsman Veda Krishnamurthy answers questions on her many nicknames, Bengaluru traffic, and wanting to be like Rafael Nadal
What did you do with your first India shirt?
I still have it in my wardrobe. Doing anything fancy with it never crossed my mind.
Had you not been a cricketer, what profession would you have chosen?
It's a complete contrast [to what I do right now], but I would have loved to be a doctor.
Who in the Indian side complains the most after getting out?
Nobody really complains after the game, but in the nets maybe Punam Raut.
If you could impart your dancing skills to a team-mate, who would it be?
The only person in the Indian dressing room who cannot dance is Jhulu [Jhulan Goswami]. She has two left feet.
What's the best thing about her dancing?
Oh, she's a sport. She can't dance, yet she dances, unlike jo bhao khaatein hain [those who like to be difficult]. There are quite a few of them: Smriti [Mandhana], Shikha [Pandey]. Among the ones who start dancing instantly are Harman [Harmanpreet Kaur], Mona [Meshram], Sush [Sushma Verma] and myself.
What movie have you watched most?
Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham
You have a reputation for being a prankster. Tell us about one prank you're most proud of having pulled off.
I can't recall any specific prank, but more often than not it's Jhulu who's at the receiving end.
Who's the secret prankster in the side?
If Mithali [Raj] is in her element, she can pull off a prank or two. But then she also has the talent to put on a blank face and pretend she has not done anything.
Tell us something about Raj most people might not know yet.
She is super fun-loving. She loves to go out and explore places when we travel. She loves animals. Looking at her, people get intimidated, thinking she's a very serious person. She takes time to get along with people, but once she's comfortable, she can be the most fun person to be around.
"I really enjoy the way Meg Lanning plays: she comes in, scores in a flash, and even before you know, she's got her fifty"
What are your first memories of meeting her?
In 2005, our coach at KIOC [Karnataka Institute of Cricket] was felicitating Mithali, Nooshin [Al Khadeer] and Karu [Karuna Jain]. At the time, it had only been a month since I had started playing cricket. I was one of three girls who were chosen to present the guests with bouquets. I had only heard how good a cricketer she was. When I saw her, I fought with the other two [kids] and told them, "Nothing doing, I'm going to give it to Mithali. You both go and give flowers to the others."
In a 100-metre sprint, which team-mate of yours is likely to reach the finish line first?
Pooja Vastrakar. She is quite quick.
Who'd be last?
I think it would be a tough competition between Jhulu and Mithali (laughs).
What's your most preferred social-media platform?
Instagram. I kind of connect to it. Firstly, because you have to upload a photo to be able to write something. Besides, Instagram is not so much about people sitting and giving their opinion.
Is there a reason behind your choice of jersey number, 79?
Yeah, it adds up to my birth date . Seven is my lucky number, while nine is two of my friends' lucky number. But to tell you the truth, this theory [about my friends' lucky number] is something I use only to make them happy. I chose 79 largely because of my birth date.
What nicknames have you been known by?
In the Railways and the Indian team, I've always been Ved. In Hobart, they used to call me Darthy - after Darth Vader, [picked] by Corinne Hall. In the Karnataka circuit, I'm known as Dhana, which literally translates to cow. But in context here, Dhana means a buffalo, because of my height. When I started playing, I was only four feet tall. But within a year, I grew up to 5'2" or 5'3".
Have you ever had a role model outside of cricket?
Rafael Nadal. The competitiveness in him - whatever level, whatever round he's playing - is always high. That's something I don't have. I am not someone who shows that aggression on my face. But Nadal wears his emotions on his sleeve. And being compared with [Roger] Federer always and to live up to the expectations of his fans - I admire how he carries that responsibility.
One difference in the captaincy styles of Raj and Harmanpreet.
Mithali is calm, as everybody knows. She makes sure she doesn't show her emotions in her body language. And she remains that way throughout. Harman is more aggressive. You can tell from her body language how happy, excited, or angry she is.
Is there a difference between a six hit by you and those hit by Harmanpreet?
In my case, I think there may be a slight uncertainty after I connect - will it go for a six, did it find the middle of the bat? But the moment Harman hits it, she knows it's a six.
As a Bengaluru girl, what are your thoughts on the city's traffic?
I love Bangalore's traffic… because I don't have a choice. Getting stuck in Bangalore traffic is a blessing in a way, because that's when I get to sit in the car and listen to music for hours. It's chill time.
Is there one cricketer whose fielding skills you admire?
I've always enjoyed watching Suresh Raina field. And there was England's Lydia Greenway. I played against her and I remember her stopping so many runs just like that. She was on another level altogether.
West Indies allrounder Hayley Matthews and England batsman Lauren Winfield were your team-mates at Hobart Hurricanes in the WBBL. Tell us something about them most people won't know.
Hayley is very lazy, and Lauren can eat a lot.
One cricketer from the current lot of opposition players you have immense respect for?
It would be Meg Lanning. Whenever I watch her play, I always feel she knows she's got that extra second when she bats. I really enjoy the way she plays: she comes in, scores in a flash, and even before you know, she's got her fifty.
What's the one shot you will back yourself to pull off perfectly even in your sleep?
Oh, over the covers
If you could hit a bowler for six sixes in an over at the World T20, whom would you like it to be?
How does it matter whom I'm hitting (laughs)? I'll take Hayley's name. She's a friend, so she won't get offended.