Is Irfan Pathan set for a comeback? He thanks this player as a reason for it

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Irfan Pathan still harbours hopes of international comeback

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SportsCafe Desk

10/20/2017

Irfan Pathan has revealed that he is still optimistic of a return to the Indian national team and is garnering inspiration from Ashish Nehra who made a return at 39. But Pathan, for now, has decided to keep all of his focus on helping Baroda go through a rebuilding phase in the Ranji Trophy.

In the early 2000s, when India was striving for a proper pace-bowling all-rounder to fill the bill, prodigious teenager Irfan Pathan had burst onto the scene and mesmerized the fans through his accurate swing bowling. He doubled up as a more than capable batsman to steer the team from bad positions to safety, more often than not. However, it was the injury concerns that proved detrimental to his career forcing him to spend more time in the rehab room than in the nets. But, the Baroda all-rounder is unmoved by that and stated that a national comeback is not beyond his reach.

Citing the example of Ashish Nehra, who will retire from all forms of the game after the first T20I against New Zealand, Pathan told The Hindu, “He has been a wonderful warrior. He has done very well to make a comeback at this age and shows anyone can do it. I am not that old and I am working hard and my fitness is very good now.I want to improve my fielding but I am not thinking ahead of myself.”

A lot was expected of him as a genuine pace-bowling all-rounder, but injuries and subsequent drop of pace meant he only played 29 Tests but managed to have a decent limited-overs career picking 173 and 28 wickets in the ODI and T20I cricket respectively. 

On being asked about not matching up to the expectations, the pacer said, “In terms of [having the potential] and letting down [in terms of delivering], you always have excuses and international cricket is not about excuses. But I am in the top five in the world among left-arm pacers when it comes to wickets in international cricket.

“Talking about career going down, people expected me to take 500 international wickets. Expectations can be anything. But I think it is unfair to dismiss 300 international wickets and 3000 runs I have made. There are no regrets. I like to see the brighter side. Looking back from where I come from and where I reached, I feel lucky to have played for India and been part of some glorious moments in Indian cricket.”

In the Ranji Trophy, Baroda have struggled to create any ripples this time as after losing to Madhya Pradesh in the first game, they could only manage a tame draw in the second match against Andhra Pradesh. With much tougher challenges like Mumbai and Tamil Nadu lying ahead, Pathan has prioritized the Ranji season as one to help his team get out of the rebuilding phase.

"I want to help the team get out of this phase. I will do as much needed for the same," he concluded.

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