Injuries sometimes can be a blessing in disguise. Irfan Pathan is a case in example. The 19-year-old was tossed into the choppy waters of Test cricket against Australia at Adelaide after Zaheer Khan pulled out with an injury.
Since then, the left-arm seamer from Baroda has made rapid strides and within a few months, has cemented his place as a strike bowler.
On the tour of Pakistan, Pathan was easily the best bowler on display from either side. Former Pakistan captain Imran Khan, who has an eye for talent, says that he sees glimpses of Wasim Akram in Pathan.
Instead of being flattered, the youngster says he is not a patch on the great Pakistan bowler.
You have seen so much, so early in your life. What are your feelings?
I am enjoying every bit of it and after winning the series I am enjoying it all the more. There are ups and downs in life but when you get something good you should thank God and savour it.
We lost the one-day series in Australia so I know how the feeling is because I didn’t bowl well in the finals.
I know there will be bad days too. But when the good days come along, one should thank God and make the most of it and not think about the bad times. You have to be prepared for everything.
Did you ever imagine you would end up being a strike bowler for India very early in your career?
From a very young age I had this burning desire of playing for India. God fulfilled that dream. I didn’t expect to become a strike bowler so early but this has happened only because of injuries to the senior bowlers.
Obviously, they will get their places back when they return. But it feels good to be the strike bowler when the team is doing so well. Frankly, I had never thought about it.
India tasted success in Adelaide and we won the series in Pakistan? How would you compare these two victories?
It is difficult to compare. We won a Test in Australia after 22 years and we won a Test series in Pakistan for the first time. This win is very important because we only won a Test there (Australia) while we won the series in Pakistan.
When Zaheer Khan, Ajit Agarkar and Ashish Nehra started off they had Javagal Srinath to look up to. But that was not the case with you…
I get a lot of help from Sachinbhai and Dada (Ganguly). When I am bowling, most of the time they are fielding at mid-on and mid-off. Sachinbhai really helps me a lot — keeps egging me on and reminding me to bowl within my limits.
His vast knowledge is of great help. When a player of his stature is there to guide you, one can keep cool in the middle.
The Pakistani bowlers were desperate for some swing here but you did it with relative ease…
When the going is good, then everything falls into place. I was able to swing the ball because of my wrist position. There are times when the ball hardly swings and your reputation does not count. My action naturally helps me to get swing.
Wasim Akram spoke to me in Australia about the importance of the wrist position while bowling. He gave me a few tips and that helped me a lot. It depends a lot on one’s bowling action.
Imran Khan says he sees glimpses of Wasim Akram in you. Do you draw inspiration from that?
It is his view. But Wasimbhai was a great bowler and he bowled consistently well for 18 years. I have just started my career.
Honestly, I felt great but to reach there I have to work really hard. It is an inspiration for me but I don’t want to read too much into it. I know my limitations and I want to keep my feet down and work hard.
Content sourced from Mid-Day.