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Irfantastic T20 show continues

With IPL nears the halfway mark, Pathan is sitting pretty on top of the heap, with the maximum number of wickets against his name (11). Subhash Rajta reports.

cricket Updated: May 06, 2008 01:50 IST
Subhash Rajta

It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that Irfan Pathan has taken to T20 like a duck to water. The left-arm swing bowler was fabulous in the inaugural T20 World Cup last September in South Africa — the tournament marked his return to the national squad after he was dumped from the ODI and Test teams.

And now as the IPL nears the halfway mark, Pathan is sitting pretty on top of the heap, with the maximum number of wickets against his name (11) going into Monday’s match.

“Look, all I try is to identify my shortcomings and strengths and then work on them. Bowlers are under tremendous pressure in this format as the batsmen are continuously trying to whack them out of the park, so I try to get in more variations and well-directed yorkers though it doesn't always guarantee success,” Pathan said.

Given his economy rate and rate of success, it would be fair comment to say that it's working for him more often than not. That perhaps is the key to Pathan's success.

And that's perhaps what has set Pathan apart from many others in the league; he has rarely lost control and never looked like he's stopped thinking even in the toughest of situations.

Besides, as Mohali team coach Tom Moody pointed out, the bowlers just can't always go into the game with a victim's mentality.

“Look, no doubt the game is far more inclined in favour of batsmen, but then bowlers can't go on perpetually to see it as a challenge; they need to see it as an opportunity as well.

“They would need to go forward and explore what options they have to put batsmen under pressure…it could be developing more variations, hitting the block hole consistently and developing and executing a slower delivery,” Moody said.

Pathan seems to be doing that well. Besides, he has stepped up really well after Brett Lee's departure to shoulder the responsibility of a strike bowler. “Sreesanth and I form a good new-ball combination and enjoy bowling together. Normally, I bring the ball back into the batsmen, and he takes it away, making it tough for batsmen,” he said.

But while Pathan the bowler has made the format his own, the capable batsman in him is yet to make his presence felt. “I always want to see myself picking up wickets and getting some runs as well, but that doesn’t happen all the time,” he said. Well, knowing his abilities as a batsman, it shouldn't be long before Pathan makes his bat talk too.