Irfan Pathan determined to play for India again

Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy
Irfan Pathan. (Photo Source: BCCI)

Once tipped to be the next best allrounder in the world, a fearless and tearaway pacer Irfan Pathan burst onto the scene in 2003 as a belligerent 19-year-old. A lot has changed in 13 years since then. Irfan helped India lift the 2007 T20 World Cup, fell to injuries, represented India in the 2012 T20 World Cup before missing out again.

Although age is not quite on his side anymore, with a list of young pacers and allrounders emerging in the ranks Pathan is still hopeful of representing India for a reasonable span of time. Now 32, the left-armer wants to follow the footsteps of veteran Ashish Nehra and take cue from “people playing till 44”.


“Yes, you could say that at a time where I am but still a lot of people are playing till 44. I am just 31-32, so it should be how fit you are and what you can do at that time.” Irfan said in his reply to PTI on TOI when asked about his desire to continue playing cricket.

Having returned with figures of 3/10 in a Syed Mushtaq Trophy game for West Zone Irfan scalped blows of Indian regulars Shikhar Dhawan, Yuvraj Singh and of upcoming young gun Rishabh Pant to restrict North Zone to 107. He was really happy with the consistent performances he had put in the past few seasons with both bat and ball to keep the selectors interested.

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“It is very important to get wickets under your belt. The whole season I felt I was bowling well but it’s good to get a bunch of wickets at a time when it’s being shown on TV, people are watching, selectors are watching and you are bowling well as well. It is crucial to get your confidence going,”

Pathan was quick to point that he is not a one dimensional or just a T20 or IPL player but has instead been putting in the hard yards every season and has represented his domestic side in all formats consistently, arguing for a change in perception.

“It is definitely unfair. If you look at the recent past, it’s happened only once four years ago when I genuinely missed out on a domestic season due to injuries. It can happen to anyone. When you are playing for so long, injuries are bound to happen to anyone.”

“Ever since whatever issue I had with Baroda CA was settled, I have played the whole season. One-dayers, T20, Ranji Trophy and the T20 tournament, I have played everything and have bowled a lot of overs as well. Even then, if they club me along with IPL to IPL players, it’s unfortunate. They should be careful,” he said, in a direct dig to critics who gave Irfan the IPL only tag.

In fact, Irfan hasn’t been at his best in the last two IPL seasons, turning out for Sunrisers Hyderabad and Rising Pune Supergiants. He was eventually dropped from the playing XIs during the course of both seasons and was instead impressing in other domestic tournaments in all formats.

Irfan, who last played for India in 2012, was also determined in his quest to “stay fit” and continue performing. “I have been playing cricket for 15 years. When you are playing for so long, a lot of people tend to focus on one-day and T20s more. I have played the whole Ranji season, so for me, if you play Ranji Trophy the whole season, that is very crucial to stay fit and to get your rhythm as well,” he said.