IPL auction 2011

'A great feeling for the Pathan family'

Tariq Engineer

January 8, 2011

Comments: 25 | Text size: A | A

Brothers Yusuf and Irfan Pathan take a breather, Bangalore, November 22, 2008
The combined bids for the Pathan brothers totalled US$4 million © AFP
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Among the big winners on the first day of the 2011 IPL auction were the Pathan brothers, Yusuf and Irfan, whose combined bids totalled US$4m. While Yusuf, who was bought by the Kolkata Knight Riders for $2.1m, was always expected to attract one of the highest bids, Irfan commanding $1.9m was something of a surprise.

Irfan is still recovering from a back injury and hasn't played competitive cricket since last season's IPL (almost nine months ago). Yet, there was strong interest from five franchises at the auction, with Delhi Daredevils ultimately emerging victorious over Kings XI Punjab, which had bought Irfan in the 2008 auction for half of what Delhi paid this time around.

"It is a very good start to 2011," Irfan told ESPNcricinfo. "People think I am an important player. I am very pleased. It is a great feeling for the whole family."

Irfan, who watched the bidding live on television, admitted the high price tag would only add to the scrutiny of his performances as he targeted a return from his injury, but said it was all part of the game. "To be very honest, the more money, the more pressure there is. [But] pressure will always be there, whether you are playing for your country, or playing domestic cricket.

"I am feeling much feeling better. The way I am bowling, I will be able take any pressure."

Irfan was not selected in India's 30-man squad for the upcoming World Cup because of his injury and while he expected to return to competitive cricket with Baroda for the domestic one-day tournament in February, he realised the IPL was his best chance of attracting the attention of India's selectors ahead of India's tours to England and the West Indies next summer.

"It is a big platform for me. The whole world is watching it. Even though it is only a four-over game, people come to know what you can do. I want to play for my country. That is why I am working for hard. The best recognition you get playing for your country. It can't be replaced by money."

Irfan had an impressive IPL in 2010, even though Punjab finished at the bottom of the table. He was the team's third highest run-scorer with 276 runs at an average of 34.50 and a strike-rate of 148.38. He also took 15 wickets at a strike rate of 18.50 and an average of 28.40. He described his time with Punjab as "very memorable", saying it was an experience he would cherish all his life, and called Preity Zinta, among the co-owners of the franchise, "an amazing boss". He was also flattered that the franchise tried so hard to buy him this time around as well, but said now that he had a new team, it was time to look ahead.

"Delhi has been a really good side in the IPL and been performing really well even though they haven't lifted the cup. It is one of the biggest cities in India and has a larger fan base. I have played with Viru [Virender Sehwag] and I am looking forward to playing for Delhi."

Yusuf, too, said he was very pleased with the result of the auction, both for himself and Irfan, but added he wasn't thinking as far ahead as the IPL as his focus was on the ODI series against South Africa and then the World Cup. He did, however, admit he would miss playing for Rajasthan Royals, for whom he scored a memorable 37-ball hundred against Mumbai Indians, an innings Shane Warne called the best he had ever seen.

"Obviously I will miss Warne and Watson and the rest of team,' Yusuf said. "At the same time, I have always enjoyed playing in Kolkata because the people there love their cricket, and are passionate about it. The atmosphere is great. This is a great opportunity. It will be a new team, new players, but I have played with many of them. It won't be too difficult to adjust to the new set-up."

Yusuf said Kolkata had the makings of a good team and could potentially make the final with the likes of Jacques Kallis, Gautam Gambhir and himself. He tipped Gambhir, under whose leadership he played in the ODI series against New Zealand, where he made that savage match-winning hundred, to captain the side. He was also looking forward to being part of a team owned by Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan.

"Shah Rukh likes his cricket. Whatever match is there, he comes to the ground and watches. I will get to learn something new here."

With inputs from Sidharth Monga

Tariq Engineer is a senior sub-editor at Cricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (January 11, 2011, 15:31 GMT)

cngrtz..!tym 4 pathan bros 2 rock .........!

Posted by Samiya93 on (January 10, 2011, 19:21 GMT)

Congrats Pathan Brothers . Cricket is now just a game for youngsters . If we can have sympathy for Dada being left out , then we must also have sympathy for SRK who patiently tolerated his politics in KKR for three years .

Posted by batbhai on (January 10, 2011, 16:11 GMT)

Who says Irfan Pathan is not worthy at all? As mentioned above, he was the team's third highest run-scorer with 276 runs at an average of 34.50 and a strike-rate of 148.38. He also took 15 wickets at a strike rate of 18.50 and an average of 28.40.

Even if I am wrong, then why the media compared him just like Kapil Dev 5-6 years back?

Posted by   on (January 10, 2011, 8:41 GMT)

I am in favor of CRICKET (IPL) ...DADA, DRAVID, LAXMAN are legends and they should walk back and guide the teams with there expertise. The teams should Buy there services Instead of them Playing for the IPL teams,they are good MATCH WINNERS FOR test cricket.They should be Guiding the teams to WIN.and I dont agree with any one commenting in favor of any Individual Player, as this the CRICKET, & INDIAN IPL is global BRAND not a lOcal Brand.so every one should see that side of the game./

Posted by   on (January 9, 2011, 20:36 GMT)

Let's boycott KKR and SRK for humiliating DADA. Let Eden be empty and SRK to see IPL alone and also boycott SRK movies. All the fans of DADA will boycott the products in which SRK is advertising. DADA Jainabad .. Jainabad. We all are with You…

Posted by urss.raghu on (January 9, 2011, 18:24 GMT)

I am really happy for Irfan Pathan. He deserved the price tag. He has lot of talent. I wish he regain his fitness and bowling rhythm back and part of Indian national team soon. Indian team really needs a fast bowling allrounder. He has been constantly ignore by selectors...its time for him to show them what he is capable of.

IRFAN..go and get them.

Mr Tariq.. why you are so surprised. IRFAN deserves it.

Posted by urss.raghu on (January 9, 2011, 18:21 GMT)

I am really happy for Irfan Pathan. He deserved the price tag. He has lot of talent. I wish he regain his fitness and bowling rhythm back and part of Indian national team soon. Indian team really needs a fast bowling allrounder. He has been constantly ignore by selectors...its time for him to show them what he is capable of.

IRFAN..go and get them.

Mr Tariq.. why you are so surprised. IRFAN deserves it.

Posted by Agni2 on (January 9, 2011, 17:24 GMT)

Happy for these guys, but the fact that IPL fat-cats are willing to pay top $ doesn't make them world class cricketers.

All of Yusuf's "monster hitting" has happened on flat tracks - classic flat track bully and that too, against mediocre bowling. All it takes to get him is a well-directed short ball at his throat. And Irfan is the underachiever of the 2000s. Lost pace, no news skills to compensate and overrated batting to boot.

These guys must be thanking their stars for hit-and-giggle T20 because they have no place in serious cricket.

Posted by   on (January 9, 2011, 17:05 GMT)

Nice to see these boys making some big bucks as for T20 they deserve it - both can bat and bowl. Yusuf is a good hitter who needs to get consistent and Irfan needs to channel the positive energy he appears to bring to any team into a bit more venom into his bowling.

Posted by AndyZaltzmannsHair on (January 9, 2011, 12:56 GMT)

Completely overrated, much like the rest of the Indian T20 players. Remember folks, these guys got bounced out in the last two T20 World Cups. They came in as favourites twice, and left embarassed.

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