Sehwag is dynamite: Irfan

Pathan Jr. talks about KP, Jayawardene, Morkel and Taylor

Mumbai 27 March 2012
Having landed in Mumbai on Monday afternoon, Irfan Pathan practiced tirelessly in the sultry summer heat at the Bandra Kurla Complex ahead of the T20 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy final. The Baroda pacer, who represents Delhi Daredevils in the Indian Premier League, batted and bowled through the late afternoon till almost after sunset. Keen as he was to get as much practice as possible, the left-arm pacer obliged fans and the media during his short breaks later in the evening, even as he kept an eye on the fading light.

Pathan ended his gruelling session with a few overs of spot bowling. A pair of shoes in front of the stumps serving as the batsman’s feet, the paceman made sure he hit the target regularly. Practice done, Irfan spoke to about an exciting couple of months ahead with the Daredevils.

On his form since his comeback

It is God’s grace. Since I have made my comeback, I feel pretty good about my game. Good or bad I want to take it in my stride – whatever happens in the future as well. Being in a good [mental] space is helping me a lot. Playing a lot of cricket, playing domestic cricket, helps me or rather helps any cricketer. I find myself lucky to be playing for the country again and want to make sure I stay this way and keep going ahead.

On enjoying his batting apart from bowling well

Absolutely! I want to make sure that I keep getting better. Whenever I leave practice, whenever I finish practice, I shouldn’t be [energetic]. The day I am [energetic] it means I haven’t worked hard enough in the nets. So that’s what my motto has been, especially in the nets. I am trying to get better as a cricketer, be it bowling or batting. So yes, I am definitely not leaving my batting behind. Getting an opportunity or not is not in my hands but I want to make sure I am ready for the situation whenever I get [an opportunity]. I am trying my best.

On whether he has made any changes to his action

I have made changes to my action with the help of TA Sekar Sir and that has helped me regain my line and length, which is pretty good. When you bowl with a close-to-body action, it is always going to give you a better direction in terms of your alignment. I am pretty happy with the changes I have made. It took me some time, but with Mr. TA Sekar’s help, I am able to effect this change of action. It is not an easy thing. It takes a lot of time, patience and hard work. A lot of small details go into it as well. But I am happy with the way things have gone in terms of fitness, cricket or the changes in my action.

On being back in the India side with brother Yusuf Pathan

It feels fantastic, we feel blessed. In a small way it feels special because not everyone gets to play for the country but here is a family in which two brothers are playing for the country. We find ourselves very lucky and blessed and want to make sure we play as many matches for the country and make sure that we contribute to the team. It is a great moment for the family. My family is very happy as well, especially my parents.

On IPL 2012 and Delhi Daredevils

This year is definitely going to be very good. We have got a very good team. We have got some really exciting cricketers coming into the side this season like Mahela Jayawardene and Kevin Pietersen. They really are world-class batsmen and when you have those kinds of batsmen in your team, it makes a huge difference. It makes a huge impact in terms of their experience as well. We are going to have a very good season, I have no doubt about it. I am looking forward to contributing as well be it with the ball or bat. I am looking forward to a challenging but good season for the Delhi Daredevils.
On Kevin Pietersen and other international players

I have played against [KP]. Playing against Kevin Pietersen has always been a good and challenging experience. He is a world-class act. At the same time, I am very excited about Mahela’s inclusion because he is one smart guy. He is a very smart cricketer and the way he plays cricket, [the intelligence] shows on the field – and [I’m] also [excited about] Ross Taylor. [Ross] is a very exciting talent, a very exciting cricketer – some of the shots he hits [feature] his own style. I am really excited for these three cricketers and I am looking forward to playing alongside them.

On fellow DD pacer Morne Morkel

We have just played one season together. He is a bowler who gets a lot of bounce and it is always good to have a different kind of bowler bowling at the opposite end because it complements you really well. It does [help] other bowlers as well because he gets the bounce and a lot of other guys have different strengths – Umesh [Yadav] has pace, I have swing. Last year we managed to lose games where 10-15 runs could make the difference so this year hopefully we won’t make those mistakes and make sure we do better.

On his DD skipper Virender Sehwag

He is like dynamite. He is a world-class act. I really think it is going to be a very special IPL for him. He is definitely going to murder someone on the cricket field this year and I am looking forward to witnessing that. It is going to be an exciting two months playing under him. It is a different experience all together. His whole personality – the way he thinks – is fearless and I really admire that spirit.

On what Umesh Yadav brings to the side

I think he is the fastest bowler I have seen in Indian cricket. The way he swings the ball and the raw pace [he possess] are really special and exciting to see. As a bowler he is going to get better and better from experiences but there is no doubt that he is a real talent.

On Sachin Tendulkar’s hundredth international century

It is an achievement that is not going to be replicated. I don’t think anyone else can break that record. Only Sachin could so something like that, something special. How can you say it in [an appropriately grand] way? Words like great, amazing, outstanding are too small when it comes to those kinds of records. The other guy who is behind Sachin paaji still has about 30 hundreds less so that’s no child’s play. What [Tendulkar] has achieved is something he has done over the years. A lot of hard work has gone into it. A lot of thinking has gone into it. A lot of pain has gone into it [...]. When I see him, I think he is God’s favourite child because no ordinary man can do something like this.
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