‘It’s like coming back from the dead’

Irfan Pathan’s career seemed to have taken another nosedive when he went unsold at this year’s IPL auction. Out of national reckoning since 2012 and without much screaming performances on the domestic circuit, the auction was pretty much a hammer blow.

However, lady luck shined on him a couple of days ago when Gujarat Lions signed him as a replacement for Dwayne Bravo after the West Indian was ruled out of IPL with a hamstring injury. Flashing a big smile, the 32-year-old from Baroda, said it was totally unexpected and he can’t wait to give his all.

“It’s like I’m coming back from the dead,” said Irfan, who will be playing for his sixth franchise. “It’s wonderful. When you don’t get picked it’s disappointing. Even if it’s halfway stage of the tournament or the fag end, it’s a really wonderful feeling to get picked. Hopefully I will get an opportunity and play well.”

Irfan will have an onerous task of proving himself if and when he gets a chance. Last IPL he earned only four caps for Rising Pune Supergiant and went wicketless and scored a mere 11 runs. He didn’t play a single game with Chennai Super Kings in 2015 and in 2014, for Sunrisers Hyderabad, he took four wickets from 10 appearances and managed 55 runs. All of this definitely played a part in none of franchises raising the paddle for him. Irfan, however, said he’s game for the challenge.

Not complaining

“I’m not complaining (with whatever has happened in my career). Even sometimes, I wonder why. The best thing a sportsperson could do is to look forward. You need to make the most of the moment right now, not look back too much. That’s what I’ve learned with experience as well. This experience what I helped gather in so many years of cricket — playing domestic cricket, playing international cricket, different teams in IPL as well. But when you look back, you do wonder but sometimes you don’t have the answers. But as I said, it’s done and dusted and I’m focussed on the present — most importantly. Because you can’t look back too much nor look too far ahead as well.”

When asked whether he’s done any soul-searching for a career that promised so much but resulted in very little, Irfan said the answers would have just made him sulk more.

“I would have got just answers, nothing else. There is no point. Once you see what is happening, once you get the result, this is it. You need to make sure you put things behind you and I’m very clear on that. If you start asking questions, you’re doing nothing good for yourself. It’s not going to help you.

“You need to assess the situation in front of you and deal with it. Sometimes it’s good to actually get away from all the limelight. Luckily I was playing with (my son) Imran before the IPL. It’s a wonderful feeling to be a father. It would have been difficult if not for him.”

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