I always had the talent: Irfan Pathan

In Delhi to promote a cricket-based reality show,Pathan talks about his comeback in hindsight.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published:January 4, 2012 2:16 am

It needed a trademark inswinger to authenticate Irfan Pathan’s comeback claims,and that it claimed Lendl Simmons first ball in the final ODI against West Indies made the situation look near-perfect for a bowler who has been a work in progress for two and a half years. That Chennai game might have marked his re-entry into the international scene,but Irfan’s comeback has a big Capital connection as well — and that goes beyond being the million dollar baby of the IPL franchise. It was at the Ferozeshah Kotla stadium last month where Irfan ran through the Delhi top order,claiming seven wickets in an innings in a Ranji Trophy game for Baroda to stake his big claim and was rewarded by the national selectors.

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Irfan was in Delhi again after that game on Tuesday,to promote a new cricket-based television reality show and this time around he talked about his comeback again liked he did last time as well — though,this time it was in hindsight. In his lengthy spell in the wilderness,Irfan realised his limitations as a bowler and the need to work within those domains to succeed. “I was never an out-and-out pace bowler. I now know my limitations after all the problems I went through I am now concentrating more on my limitations because at the end of the day what is important is performance,” Irfan said.

Swinging fortunes

The left-arm pacer’s forte had always been swing bowling and the period when he was dropped coincided with when his ability to move the ball seemingly at will deserted him. “It’s not as if my swing had disappeared all of a sudden. I always had the talent. It isn’t something that you lose forever.”

But some changes had to be made. And mentor TA Sekar,now back with the same Delhi Daredevils where Pathan plays for in the IPL,helped him regain lost glory. “ The important difference that I did was that I played as many matches as I could before the Ranji games. So I played in the Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy,as well as the Challenger tournament. I even played in local matches in Baroda. Fitness work in the gym is important but it can only do so much for you. Ultimately you have to perform in the field and so you need to get as much match practice as possible,” said Irfan who picked 21 wickets in four Ranji Trophy games. While Baroda has been knocked out of the Ranji Trophy,Pathan says he will still play local matches in preparation for the knockout stage of the T20 tournament and the one-dayers.

His comeback done with,Irfan is now readying with for his next big test — he will have to fight his way past several claimants for a spot in the upcoming tri-series in Australia. “There is immense competition in the team now,but that is a good sign . Because there is so much of talent available it prevents you from taking things lightly and you are forced to improve your own performances as well,” said Irfan.

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