New Delhi, Oct 5 (IANS) Guess who's making former Pakistan cricket captain and swing king Wasim Akram sway to her tunes nowadays? Bollywood actress and former beauty queen Sushmita Sen.
Akram, who is currently co-judging an Indian reality TV show "Ek Khiladi Ek Hasina" with Sushmita, is totally gaga over the actress.
"I think she is an incredible person, very helpful, extremely professional and, yes, she has really made me comfortable on the show," Akram told IANS in an interview.
Akram first interacted with Sushmita in Dubai in 2006.
"I met her about two years ago in Dubai. We did a telethon for Imran Khan's cancer hospital together. That was two days in a row and almost three hours live on TV. So I got to interact with her. We managed to raise quite a bit of money," he said.
Sushmita was also one of the reasons why he agreed to be on the judging panel of this show.
"So far the game is really exciting and fun. It's something very different and that's why I agreed to the show and, plus, I was told that Sushmita would be there; so I agreed."
"Ek Khiladi Ek Hasina" airs on Colors and pits six pairs of a cricketer and a TV actress each to display their dancing skills. The cricketers on the show include S. Sreesanth, Harbhajan Singh, Vinod Kambli, Irfan Pathan, Dinesh Kartik and Nikhil Mehra.
In one of the recent episodes, Akram has been seen reciting shayari (Urdu couplets) to flatter the actress, but he has not shaken a leg with her so far. Any plans?
"Maybe. In fact, they have tried to make me dance, but I really can't handle that sort of pressure. Playing the world cup final twice was okay, but not this," he says.
Akram is also entirely dependent on Sushmita to judge the dancing capabilities of the contestants, as he "can't make out the head or tail of dancing".
"I wanted to see how the cricketers behave on the stage. I'm not judging the technicalities of their dance. For that Sushmita is there. I have no clue about dancing, what would I comment. I'm not looking at their steps at all. For me, their passion is important," he said.
He added: "We are not looking for a dance icon who would go into Bollywood and dance. The idea is to have cricketers dancing and see how they do on the stage. The girls, all six of them, are very talented and excellent. But, for the boys, it's a new thing."
So what is his criterion for judging? "For me it's like one day cricket - perform on the day, if you play well, you'll win."
Akram feels that though such a show will be a hit in Pakistan, not many cricketers there will agree to take part in it.
"It will be a big hit there no doubt, but where will the Pakistani cricketers dance there? I don't think the Pakistani cricketers will dance. First let them play well at least," he said and laughed.
A lot of actors in India and Pakistan are looking to make a mark in Bollywood, but Akram feels otherwise.
"I do enjoy acting and watching movies. But acting is a proper profession; you have to learn for it. I've seen cricketers who have done films. But after one or two films, they are not seen any more and I don't want to be one of them.
"I am happy to leave acting in Bollywood to Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan and Amitabh Bacchan - all these great actors," said Akram.