Indian news December 22, 2009

Irfan regrets bowling first change

Cricinfo staff

Indian fast bowler Irfan Pathan has blamed his lack of success at the international level on not getting the new ball, which he said compromised his natural ability to swing. He said bowling first change meant he never produced the swing which he could have generated with the new ball.

"I'm not complaining that I should be given the new ball, but yes, if you are bowling first change, you are not going to get that much swing," Irfan said. "Your wicket tally is going to reduce."

Irfan, who last played for India in the 2009 World Twenty20, against West indies at Lord's in June, believed even in seamer-friendly pitches in England and South Africa, it was never easy for a first-change bowler to pick up wickets.

"In terms of swing, I don't think natural talent will die," Pathan said. "Wherever you go, even places like England and South Africa, where the bowlers get help, even bowling there first change with white ball, especially with the Powerplays on, he [the bowler] is not going to get that many wickets. His economy rate is going to increase along with his wicket-taking average. Same happened with me."

However, he asserted that he was in good rhythm and primed for a comeback, given his impressive performances with Baroda in the Ranji Trophy Super League. He picked up 22 wickets in five matches at 18.54, as Baroda narrowly missed out on a quarter-final berth from Group B. When asked about his chances of a comeback into the Indian squad, Irfan said he had done his best and now it was upto the selectors to decide.

"There was a phase when I came back after injury and struggled with the ball. But that phase is gone now. I am preparing well to make a comeback. It has been a good domestic season and I also scored close to 400 runs, besides captaining the side.

"Captaining in domestic cricket was new to me. I came to know what happens in selection meetings, how to pick up different players. That experience is one of the few positives for me after injury.

"As a player we expect a lot of things. I was expecting to be in the side for the Sri Lankan tour, but that is every player's personal feeling and I had it as well."

Irfan believed it was because of his lack of performances which led to his ouster from the national team. "When you don't perform well, you will get dropped," he said. "People think that I should have been given more chances but I personally believe that if you are performing to the expectations of what your team wants, then you are not going to get dropped."

He also felt the advent of Twenty20 had helped turn the game into a global sport, but advised players that they should opt out of a tournament in case they were fatigued. "With more money getting involved in the sport, cricket is becoming more professional," Irfan said. "Fitness will get affected. But it's upto the individual. If he feels he will get injured and needs rest, he should let the team know how he's feeling so that chances of him getting injured reduce."