Inspired by Ashish Nehra, Irfan Pathan targets national comeback
The experienced all-rounder is currently captaining Baroda in the Ranji Trophy.
What's the story?
Taking inspiration from his former teammate Ashish Nehra, veteran all-rounder Irfan Pathan is targeting a comeback into the Indian team. Quashing all doubts about his age and fitness, the 32-year old insisted that he still works hard on his game and has remained fit.
In a candid chat with The Hindu, Irfan said, "He (Nehra) 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."
The left-arm pacer added that although he would have loved to have had more opportunities when he was injured after a five-wicket haul in his last ODI, he has no regrets. He considers himself lucky to have played for India, and been a part of some of the most incredible moments in cricketing history.
Irfan's previous appearance for India came during the Group 2 clash against South Africa in the 2012 edition of the ICC World T20 in Sri Lanka. In his last ODI match (which was in the same year), the seamer took five wickets and propelled the team to a 20-run victory against Sri Lanka at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium.
The heart of the matter
With 173 matches worth of experience across all three formats of the game, Irfan has scored 2,821 runs at an average of 26.12 with one century and 11 50s. This goes alongside his 301 wickets, at an average of 29.85. Only five left-arm fast bowlers have taken more international wickets than he has.
Extra Cover: 5 best moments of Irfan Pathan's career
Dismissing theories that focusing on his batting led to a decline in his bowling skills, Irfan asserted that he has always been a keen batsman. He pointed out that he used to bat at No. 3 for Baroda during his under-16 days in the Vijay Merchant Trophy.
Irfan is currently captaining Baroda in the 2017-18 Ranji Trophy season. He began the season with a brisk 80 against Madhya Pradesh at the Holkar Cricket Stadium in Indore. His next game in the tournament will be against Tripura at the Reliance Stadium in Vadodara next month.
Considering that Hardik Pandya is getting better with each match, the seam-bowling all-rounder slot in the Indian team seems to be filled across all three formats. With age and fitness not entirely on his side, Irfan might find it difficult to get the opportunity to play for his country again.