MUMBAI: Irfan Pathan, encouraged in his comeback bid into the Indian squad by the recent recall of fellow left-arm pacer Ashish Nehra, said he was happy to take wickets today after having performed well right through the season in domestic cricket.
Pathan flattened North with his incisive spell of 3 for 10, when he sent back Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant and Yuvraj Singh cheaply, that helped West restrict the star-studded North to 107 for 8 in the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Inter-Zonal league at the Wankhede Stadium.
"It is very important to get wickets under your belt. The whole season I felt I was bowling well but it’s good to get a bunch of wickets at a time when it’s being shown on TV, people are watching, selectors are watching and you are bowling well as well. It is crucial to get your confidence going," said the 32-year-old Baroda bowler after West thrashed North by eight wickets with plenty of overs to spare.
"Eventually no matter of how well you bowl, how many wickets you take counts more. It’s been a good day in that sense. I am happy with the way the ball swung as well," said Pathan who last played for India in 2012.
He's been obviously encouraged by the recall to the national squad of veteran left-arm pacer Ashish Nehra at the age of 37.
"Yes, you could say that at a time where I am but still a lot of people are playing till 44. I am just 31-32, so it should be how fit you are and what you can do at that time.
"I have been playing cricket for 15 years. When you are playing for so long, a lot of people tend to focus on one-day and T20s more. I have played the whole Ranji season, so for me, if you play Ranji Trophy the whole season, that is very crucial to stay fit and to get your rhythm as well," he said.
He sounded hurt at being tagged an IPL-only player.
"It is definitely unfair. If you look at the recent past, it’s happened only once four years ago when I genuinely missed out on a domestic season due to injuries. It can happen to anyone. When you are playing for so long, injuries are bound to happen to anyone."
"Ever since whatever issue I had with Baroda CA was settled, I have played the whole season. One-dayers, T20, Ranji Trophy and the T20 tournament, I have played everything and have bowled a lot of overs as well. Even then, if they club me along with IPL to IPL players, it's unfortunate. They should be careful," he emphasised.