Irfan Pathan pushes for more Indian coaches in leagues
"Thwack", came the sound off the bat, as the ball thudded right into the shin of an onlooker, happily recording the casual batting session from the side of the nets. Irfan Pathan had pulled out an expansive drive, a meaty stroke like the way he used to for India in the mid-2000s.
He rushed to the sheepishly smiling injured fan to apologize.
The spark in his eyes was as bright as ever, but the India jersey seems to have drifted further away. Pathan was in Bangalore for the launch of the 10th branch of the Cricket Academy of Pathans (CAP), a state-of-the-art coaching academy for budding cricketers all over the country.
As was the case a decade back, Pathan will join hands with Greg Chappell, who had a not-so-great stint as the coach of the Indian Team. This time, Chappell will be part of the academy to help build the curriculum for the students and give inputs in making the venture a successful one.
During the press conference that followed the inauguration ceremony, Pathan stressed on the need to let children enjoy their game.
When asked by Sportskeeda about the importance of foreign coaches in Indian academies, Pathan said: "There is a difference. The way the Indian mentality is, you need Indian coaches. Nowadays, you get good Indian coaches. Greg's job in my academy is only that he has made the curriculum, but in all my academies, you will only see Indian coaches. For that matter, the leagues as well, I want Indian coaches to get promoted. However, there is nothing wrong in getting support to get better."
"Pressure starts from Kindergarten. Three-year-olds are going to pre-schools, I don't understand it. However, there are certain schools where education starts at 7. So there is no single parameter to it".
"Parents should put pressure on their kids only to the point that they feel they can enjoy. Let them free and they will fly. Even I have a son now, and although I would like him to do something special, something that he wants to do, I won't force him to play cricket. If he wants to play any sport, I will be more than happy. There is so much visibility, youngsters want to emulate MS Dhoni, Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli, it's all fine as long as it's coming from within."
Pathan spent time with a few youngsters in the newly opened academy at HSR Layout, even rolling his arm over for a delivery or two, much to the delight of the 30 odd kids present at the occasion.
Snubbed in the IPL auctions, and not part of the Baroda circuit anymore, Pathan is still figuring out his future, and as he said, 'grabbing the slim chances that he has'. Until then, and beyond that, he remains an idol for budding cricketers to look up to.