Music, for me, is vital. Punjabi, Bollywood, Sufi, RnB... I listen to it all. When I'm not listening to music, you will find me chatting with friends. Off the field, I just let my instincts take over. I certainly don't think about batting, or which bowlers I'm going to face.
The people you choose to have around you make all the difference. My family and close friends keep me grounded. You have to have a mind of your own and a strong head on your shoulders. Cricket is the most important thing to me, so the rest of it pales in comparison.
A lot of people tell me a lot of things about my conduct, my game, my future... but I try to stay away from their words of wisdom. I don't let it distract me. On the field, you will be facing the ball alone. If you fail, you will the only one to blame. So, you should be the one deciding for yourself.
My focus had always been the on-side. My coach wanted me to work on the offside strokes since he was convinced of my ability and timing on the leg side. I worked hard and firmed up my defensive technique. I am happy getting runs all around the wicket now, and getting a lot of boundaries. No one calls me a 'leggie batsman' anymore.
I love soccer, love tennis... Roger Federer has been a favourite for a long, long time. The kind of consistency he has shown, 16 Grand Slam titles... The way he handles himself in pressure situations is admirable... He is so calm... In soccer, I'm a huge fan of Barcelona... I like watching Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and David Villa.
I don't really focus on these things - on what tags are given to me or what people think of me off the field - stuff like that. My main focus is always to do well on the field for the Indian cricket team. When people say good things about me off the field, I am more than happy to accept them.
Unless someone wants to look funny, I'll not recommend anyone to copy my bowling action. But on a serious note, with the confidence that I have got from the amount of runs I have been scoring, when I'm thrown the ball to bowl, I am pretty sure of what I have to do. I may not be the most attractive to watch while bowling, but I can be effective.
I do believe in God. But you won't find me visiting temples every now and then. I believe in self-realization. Peace of mind matters a lot to me. What's the point in doing something just for the sake of it? I'd rather do something I like doing as long as I'm being true to myself.