Indian news November 30, 2009

Sreesanth return inspires Irfan Pathan

Cricinfo staff

Indian allrounder Irfan Pathan says he has been inspired by Sreesanth's spectacular return to the international fold and is optimistic about making his way back into the Indian team by performing in domestic cricket.

"Sreesanth has made an excellent comeback," Irfan told PTI ahead of Baroda's next game in the Ranji Trophy Super League. "He was doing well in domestic matches earlier and after returning to the India team, he put up an performance which is quite inspirational. I want to make a comeback like him.

"I met him before a Ranji match, I am impressed with his body language also. This kind of comeback strengthens the believe that you can also do it in same manner by improving your performance."

Returning after a gap of 19 months, Sreesanth was named Man of the Match in the second Test against Sri Lanka in Kanpur, having managed an impressive showing with the ball and helping India take a 1-0 series lead. His five-wicket haul in the first innings forced Sri Lanka to follow-on, setting up the innings-and-144-run win.

Irfan said every domestic match has become of immense importance to him. "Every cricketer has to improve to cement his place in the national team. I am trying to give my best in every domestic match and hope it will get the attention of selectors."

He was downgraded from Grade B to Grade C in BCCI's central contracts list released last week and last played a Test against South Africa in Ahmedabad in April last year, while his last ODI appearance came against Sri Lanka when India toured earlier this year. He said he had put his injury worries behind him and was in good nick with the bat as well.

"I am totally fit now and bowling long spells," Irfan said. "I have also cracked a half-century recently. It would be better had I been in the India team in this series but it's nice to see India claiming their 100th Test victory."

Irfan predicted a tough match ahead against Group B leaders Karnataka despite home advantage. "It is going to be a very important match for us. They are the group leaders and playing well, but we are also ready to take them on at our home ground."

Over the incident in which four Baroda bowlers, including Salim Veragi, Rajesh Pawar and Sankalp Vohra were called for suspect actions, Irfan said, "This is a new system introduced by the BCCI and the umpires are only following the rules. They cannot do much about it."

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