NEW DELHI: A dodgy knee has kept Irfan Pathan out of action and the all-rounder is really disappointed that he won't be a part of the India-Pakistan limited overs series that started in Bangalore on Tuesday.
"It's a big series and I am looking forward towards India doing well. It's unfortunate that I am not part of the Indian squad due to knee injury. The rivalry between India and Pakistan is bigger than Ashes. I hope and pray that India win this series," Irfan said during a promotional event of UNICEF's tie-up with Delhi Daredevils.
Asked about whether it will be a battle between India's batsmen and Pakistan's bowlers, the left-arm seamer agreed.
"I agree with this point. I believe that all the matches would be like that. It would be an interesting contest," he added.
Pathan has not played since sustaining a knee injury after the first Ranji Trophy match against Karnataka in early November.
Pathan said he would put his money on all-rounder Yuvraj Singh to be the "impact player" of the series and exuded confidence about India emerging triumphant.
"We are playing a lot of matches these days, so we are in an advantageous position. Pakistan have not played that many matches, so we have that advantage. Another positive aspect is that we are playing at home. I pray for the Indian team's victory. It's always an entertaining battle," Pathan stated.
Talking about his return to the international cricket, Pathan said, "Hopefully, I will be back in three-four weeks time. I am hoping to get fully fit within a month's time. I will go back to the NCA, prove my fitness and return to the international fold."
Pathan also paid rich tributes to Sachin Tendulkar, who drew the curtains on his long and illustrious ODI career.
"Sachin is a great player. A legend. We should celebrate his achievements on the field rather than thinking negatively on this aspect. We will definitely miss him and his absence will be felt in the dressing room.
"Paaji, as I and many others fondly call him (Tendulkar), has been a legend of the game. We are lucky that such a legend played for India and guided the generation of upcoming cricketers," he said.