Irfan Pathan signs with Kandy Tuskers in the LPL

The former India allrounder hasn't played competitive T20 cricket since February 2019

'I will start slowly, and see how this goes and then I will take it forward'

Getty Images

Irfan Pathan, the former India allrounder, has signed a contract to play in the Lanka Premier League (LPL) for the Kandy Tuskers franchise. Irfan, and Tuskers coach Hashan Tillakaratne, both confirmed the signing to ESPNcricinfo. Pathan joins a Tuskers roster that includes Chris Gayle, Liam Plunkett, Wahab Riaz and Kusal Perera.
Irfan, 36, had not played T20 cricket since February 2019, turning out only for the India Legends side in a charity tournament since then. He is currently commentating on the IPL.
"I am definitely looking forward to this," Irfan told ESPNcricinfo. "Yes, I had retired from T20 cricket, but I can play around the world and hopefully I will be able to have fun with my game as well, which I didn't have for the last two years. I think I can still play some, but I will start slowly and see how this goes, and then I will take it forward."
Pathan, who had mentored Jammu & Kashmir to the Ranji Trophy knockouts in 2019-20, also said that he was open to assisting teams if and when the Indian domestic season gets underway.
"I just need a bit of clarity about domestic cricket," he said. "As soon as I get some clarity, I would love to help out whichever team I can, share my experience, I would love to do it. That's always open."
Indian players - even recently-retired ones - do not generally turn out for foreign franchise tournaments. But LPL has pursued older Indian players, with no significant pushback from the BCCI. Manpreet Gony, who also last played a competitive T20 match 18 months ago, has been picked by the Colombo Kings franchise.
Pathan's signing is a minor boost for the tournament, after five other foreign players - Andre Russell, Faf du Plessis, David Miller, Manvinder Bisla and Dawid Malan - were confirmed by an SLC official to have withdrawn from the LPL, in the past week. The LPL is scheduled to begin on November 21 and will run till December 13.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf