India news May 24, 2010

Irfan Pathan seeks to regain old magic

Cricinfo staff

Indian left-arm seamer Irfan Pathan is extremely disappointed at being left out of the Indian team yet again, this time for the tour of Zimbabwe, despite a consistent display this season. He is confident though that with sustained hard work and quality performances, he will make a comeback into the Indian team.

"I really don't know what to say. I was hopeful," Pathan told the Indian Express. "Every cricketer thinks of where he is going wrong and tries to work on his errors. I'm playing well but need to do better. I'm still hoping to make a comeback."

The start of Pathan's Test career in Australia in 2003-04 promised much. His ability to swing the ball both ways prodigiously evoked comparisons with the legendary Wasim Akram and soon, his batting raised visions of another Kapil Dev. But after this heady start, ordinary years followed and Pathan soon found himself in the lurch. He had lost considerable pace and swing and despite consistent performances in the 2009-10 Ranji season, when he scored 397 runs at an average of close to 50 and picked up 22 wickets, including a five-wicket haul in the Duleep Trophy final, he was overlooked for the Zimbabwe tour and the India A tour of England as the selectors preferred to go with fresh faces.

Pathan isn't very sure when experts point to loss of pace being the biggest reason for his downfall. "But I have never been a 140-plus bowler," he says. "I don't know what people are expecting from me. Do they want to see me to bowl at 140-plus and take no wickets? Or do they want to see me swing my way to wickets and give away fewer runs? I was a bowler who could take wickets and perform whenever the team required."

Pathan has planned to work on his fitness for the next few months following the conclusion of the IPL. "At the moment I'm working on my body, hitting the gym. These three months will be crucial as I will work on my pace. It all depends on how I maintain my body," he says.

Pathan insists he has more plans but is reluctant to reveal them. He is hungry to return into the Indian team as it has been more than a year since he was last part of it.

"It all depends on how my next season goes, I'm ready to do well again," he added. "Ready for more hard work, ready to learn everyday, ready to come back."