He dreams of playing for India again

K.R. DEEPAK

“I am confident of making a comeback and I don't think it is all over for me as far as playing for India is concerned,” says Irfan Pathan in a chat with V. V. Subrahmanyam.

Irfan Pathan, 26, just doesn't want to go down as a forgotten hero of Indian cricket. He is sad though that he is not a part of the Indian team that is ranked No. 1 in the world. And he is quite disappointed that he wasn't a member of the Indian team that won the World Cup recently.

“Yes, it is disappointing not to be a part of this wonderful team. But again, there are certain things which are not in our hands,” said Irfan philosophically.

For someone who was dubbed the ‘glamour boy' of Indian cricket during his formative years, Irfan faded away rather quickly from the international scene just when everyone was expecting him to fill the all-rounder's slot in the Indian team.

“I know what sort of a struggle it has been while being out of the Indian team. I don't want to delve into what went wrong, for that is past. I am back after a long lay-off and (I am) enjoying my game,” said Irfan, who was in Hyderabad recently to play for Delhi Daredevils in the Indian Premier League.

Irfan last played in a Test in 2008. He has played 29 Tests and picked up 100 wickets (Average: 32.26; BBI: 7-69) besides scoring 1105 runs (Average: 31.57; HS: 102). He has also played 107 ODIs, claiming 152 wickets (Average: 29.91; BB: 5-27) and scoring 1368 runs (Average: 22.80; HS: 83).

“Well, like any cricketer, I am dreaming of playing for India again. There are no second thoughts on that,” he said.

“I am a lot happier now after a few games in the IPL. Importantly, the feel-good factor is back. I will try to contribute in a big way with both bat and ball in whatever matches I play in the next few weeks.

“Thankfully, I have a wonderful franchisee (GMR Group which owns Delhi Daredevils in the IPL). The way they are supporting each player is something that should only make us look ahead despite the fact that as a team we have not done as well as one would have expected us to in this edition,” Irfan said.

“I have always played for the pride of representing my team, be it the Ranji squad, Delhi Daredevils or India. I deem it's a huge honour to represent any team. Sometimes you click, and at other times you fail. That is part of the game,” he said.

“I am determined to do anything to be the player I was sometime back. I am determined to earn the India cap again,” he asserted. “Definitely, I feel that I am getting better and better. It is only a question of (coming up with) a string of consistent performances in whatever matches I play.”

On comparisons being made to his brother Yusuf, Irfan said: “Well, I may not entertain the crowds like Yusuf does. And I don't think anyone can play the kind of strokes he plays. I only wish to emulate his batting and regain my confidence, while my focus would equally be on my bowling too.

“I think to be in and out of the National team is part of a sportsperson's career, but I don't want to think too much about that and invite pressure.”

Irfan, who is still a big hit with the crowds, reiterated his resolve to get back into the Indian team. “I am confident of making a comeback and I don't think it is all over for me as far as playing for India is concerned,” he said.