Yusuf: ‘The young bowlers can learn from Irfan’

The Baroda all-rounder, who slammed two hundreds in its Ranji Trophy opener against Madhya Pradesh albeit for a losing cause, says the players need to back each other and learn from mistakes.

Yusuf Pathan scored 111 in the first innings and remained unbeaten on 136 in the second innings of Baroda's Ranji Trophy opener against Madhya Pradesh in Indore.   -  K.PICHUMANI

For Baroda, the Ranji Trophy season opener wasn’t quite memorable as it lost to Madhya Pradesh quite meekly. But for its senior batsman, Yusuf Pathan, the tournament has started off on a right note.

The India discard slammed centuries in both the innings even as his team struggled in Indore. And, the 34-year-old, who last played for the national side in 2012, believes that this will help him improve his form at the domestic level.

“It is true that my form hasn’t been all that good at the domestic tournaments, but this start will perhaps help me do better in the future,” Yusuf told Sportstar on Tuesday.

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While he scored 111 in the first innings, the second innings saw him remain unbeaten on 136. Though for a losing cause, Yusuf makes it clear that this would be a wake-up call for his team-mates. “A draw had been good. Now as I look back, it feels we could have even saved the match. The way we fought back was quite good. It will be a learning curve for all,” he said, quickly adding: “The good thing is that it has happened early in the season. This will help the boys learn from the mistakes and wake up. Such losses in the middle of the tournament would have added to our woes,” Yusuf said.

While Baroda only has two star cricketers in Yusuf and his younger brother Irfan — who is also the skipper — he feels that senior guys too can lift the team. “There are five-six people, who have been playing for long. (After the loss) we have to play well. The team is good,” Yusuf said, heaping praises on team’s coach Atul Bedade. “The coach being positive is important. He can inspire the boys. That’s a good sign for the team.”

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Despite being out of the India reckoning for a while, Yusuf has been a regular for the Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League (IPL). “I have been pretty consistent in the IPL. I have won matches for KKR and have also maintained good average. That has happened due to consistency,” he said.

Yusuf feels that the young bowlers should ideally learn a thing or two from skipper Irfan. “We have young bowlers, and they don’t have much experience. They can learn from Irfan. We have to back each other. The experienced players need to play their role well, and that will benefit the team,” the seasoned batsman said.

The wicket in Indore offered enough bounce to the bowlers, and Madhya Pradesh reaped benefits in their own backyard. Now, with Baroda playing its home match, it would be hoping to turn the tide. Even Yusuf has a similar agenda.

After all, well begun is half done!