Doping ban now in past, Pathan sets sights on IPL for making India return

Yusuf Pathan had a dream start in this season’s Ranji Trophy, notching up two hundreds against Madhya Pradesh.

Published: 14th February 2018 02:45 AM  |   Last Updated: 14th February 2018 06:40 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

BENGALURU: Yusuf Pathan had a dream start in this season’s Ranji Trophy, notching up two hundreds against Madhya Pradesh. But his world came crashing down a few days later. On October 27, the Baroda man received a letter from BCCI, which stated that he had failed his dope test. That led to a provisional suspension, pending determination of charge.

The all-rounder was forced to be away from the game for a while. But, the cricket body was satisfied with Pathan’s explanation, and opened the doors for him to represent Baroda in the ongoing Vijay Hazare Trophy.

The all-rounder said that the banned substance which was found in his sample was from to the medicine he had taken for a throat infection.

“To be honest, those five months were a very difficult time for me. It was highly emotional as well. After scoring good runs at the start of the season, suddenly you are away from cricket for some months. Not only was it difficult, I was hurt to be away from the game,” Pathan told Express.  

Players have a tendency to gain weight if they are away from the game, but Pathan concentrated on maintaining his fitness.

“I have worked a lot on my fitness. I used to wake up early, and go for cycling and running as I had nothing to do and could not play matches,” he said.

Despite having no cricket under his belt in the last few months before the auction, Pathan, who has scored 2,904 runs in the IPL, was bid for by Sunrisers Hyderabad, Kings XI Punjab and Delhi Daredevils. Sunrisers finally roped him in for `1.9 crore.

Pathan is pleased to be part of the Orange Army’s camp, and is looking forward to use his willow in batting friendly conditions.

“I am very happy that the Sunrisers picked me at the auction. The wicket is good there, and I will definitely enjoy myself. Even after being away for five months or so, there were three good teams which bid for me.

“All these teams showed faith in me, and wanted me to play for them. It is a good sign as it shows that franchises have faith in my ability. It will be a new experience, playing for Sunrisers.”
We have all been witness to how players use the IPL as a launching pad for come back into the reckoning, especially young guns who are eager to impress and knock at the selectors’ door for a maiden national call-up.

Yusuf was one of the first examples, with the player hogging major limelight with a title-winning performance in the first edition of IPL in 2008, scoring 435 runs.
Like each and every cricketer, Pathan still has that dream to play for India once again. He last played for the Men in Blue in 2012, but he knows how a successful IPL can bring about a change in fortune for cricketers.

“The IPL is a wonderful platform for cricketers. If you do well, you can come into the limelight immediately. There are competitive teams in the league, and a good performance always adds to players’ confidence. Obviously, everything is possible. If you work hard on your game, keep scoring runs, remain in shape and keep your fitness levels at a good standard, nothing is impossible,” Pathan concluded on a positive note.

South wrap
Group A: Karnataka 353/6 in 50 ovs (Mayank 102, Karun 100, Deshpande 54 n.o, Gowtham 47) bt Odisha 220 in 41 ovs (Dhuper 53, Sarangi 58; Suchit 5/34).
Group B: Delhi 177 in 39.3 ovs (Shorey 71; Nidheesh 4/41) lost to Kerala 178/8 in 35.4 ovs (Baby 52; Saini 4/39, Khejroliya 3/27).

Clearing the air
Pathan was charged with an anti-doping violation on October 27, and provisionally suspended pending determination of charge. His five-month ban was deemed to have begun on August 15 last year, as BCCI was satisfied with his explanation that “he’d taken Terbutaline inadvertently to treat an Upper Respiratory Tract Infection, not as a performance-enhancing drug”.

ashim.sunam@newindianexpress.com

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