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His IPL team has been going through a rough run this season, but askIrfan Pathanhow dejected he is about it? Dejected he might be, as Delhi Daredevils suffered a six wicket loss against theSunrisers Hyderabad on Saturday as they continued their poor form this year.
But, earlier in the day, Irfan Pathan had a reason to smile and rejoice. His name was added in the fifteen-man Indian squad for the ICC Champions Trophy to be held next month. Ahead of the all-rounder was yet another challenge. A challenge to prove himself in the Indian colours and to make a statement to his detractors that there is a lot more to come from Irfan Pathan.
In this chat with IPLT20.com, Irfan talks about his eagerness to play for India in the ICC Champions Trophy, the challenges he faces ahead and the aspirations of becoming his captain’s go-to bowler. Here is an account of the interview.
Irfan, yet another loss for Delhi Daredevils, where do you think DD have gone wrong this season?
Losing is not a feel good factor. We have not been playing well and it is disappointing to lose games after having such a good squad. We have the batsmen and have a great bowling attack, but things have just not gone our way. We have been failing consistently, and it hurts after such losses. There have been times when our batting has failed to put up good scores on the board and there have been times when the bowling has faltered. We have failed as a unit, but we want to end this season putting up good performances in the remaining games.
Personally, how do you feel about your bowling at the moment?
I have been satisfied with my bowling. I would like to get more wickets. The role has been different for me this year; I have been bowling first up and not been able to bowl at the death. I have been given a defensive role and I have been successful in patches. I am happy with my seam position and the rhythm in my bowling has been great.
You have been named in the 15-man squad for the ICC Champions Trophy. Is it not like yet another comeback of sorts for you after an injury?
A lot of people were talking about my comeback, but most people forget that my last ODI before I left due to an injury was a man-of-the-match performance. I had taken a fiver in India’s victory against Sri Lanka in 2012 and I will take a lot of confidence from that performance. People have a very short memory about performances, but I was always confident that I would get into the ODI squad for India.
How satisfying was the news for you? After all you had got a chance to don the Indian jersey after a year.
When I got to know that I was selected in the fifteen, I was happy from within and excited to be a part of the ODI colors. Every time I wear that color on my chest, I have a sense of pride in me that I am playing for the country. I am really looking forward to playing in the Champions Trophy. At the moment I would love to finish the IPL on a high as well.
You will be satisfied that you will be bowling in bowler friendly pitches in England?
Yes. Any bowler would love to go and bowl in England were the wickets are friendly for the fast bowlers. But it is easier said than done. One has to make sure that you bowl in the right areas, make sure you ‘bowl’ well rather than just releasing the ball from your hand. The conditions are better than what we play here in India and I am looking forward to bowling there. I hope for success not only for myself but for the team as well.
Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Vinay Kumar, are all a part of the squad. How are you going to force your way in the playing XI? Frankly, I am not worried about it. I know it will depend on the team combinations at the end of the day. My job is to go out there and make sure that I enjoy my bowling. My mission is to do well in the tournament. I will start working towards it from the moment we land there in England. I want to make the most of whatever preparations we get there and be completely ready before ball one of the match.
How do you motivate yourself after being in and out of the national side?
I have struggled a lot. I have worked really hard on my fitness and my game. I believe my hard work will not go wasted. I have tremendous self belief that I am only going to get better from here. I feel, the next few years are going to be my years in cricket. Coming back from injury is not easy and I feel the IPL was the right platform to get match fit. In the IPL I get matches under my belt. When you have matches under your belt, you are going to be fit and running, which will augur me well for the Champions Trophy.
What are the areas that you will be focusing on, for you to succeed overseas?
Bowling in the right areas is very important. If you bowl consistently in the right areas, more often than not wickets will come your way. No matter how good the bowler is, how quick the bowler is or how lethal he is with swing, bowling in the right areas is of prime concern. That will be my focus in the games to come. I also want to take up more and more responsibility. I want to bowl at a lot of tough situations and I want to make sure that I am the go-to bowler for the captain.
80: Delhi Daredevils’ total – lowest by any side in IPL2013. The previous lowest was 83 also by Delhi Daredevils against Chennai Super Kings at Delhi.
69: Number of dot balls in Delhi Daredevils innings – most for any side. Royal Challengers Bangalore had consumed 65 dots against Mumbai Indians at Bengaluru. This is also a new record of maximum dot balls Delhi Daredevils have ever played. They had 66 dot balls against Kings XI Punjab at Dharmasala in 2011.
37: Sunrisers Hyderabad won with 37 balls to spare. They inflicted the heaviest defeat on Delhi Daredevils in terms of balls. Kochi Tuskers Kerala had beaten Delhi Daredevils with 30 balls to spare at Delhi in 2011.
19.67: Sunrisers Hyderabad’s bowling average in IPL2013 – best for any side. Their economy rate of 6.76 is also the best for any side.
15: Number of wickets taken by Amit Mishra through stumpings – most by any bowler in IPL.
5: Number of boundaries in Delhi Daredevils innings (four fours and one six) – least in a team innings in IPL2013. They held the previous record also with six boundaries against Chennai Super Kings at Delhi.
1: Only one batsman managed a strike-rate of 100 or more in Delhi Daredevils innings – least in a team innings in IPL2013.
0: Number of matches lost by Sunrisers Hyderabad at home in IPL2013. They have won five out of five.