With the selectors reposing faith in the left-arm swing bowler, Irfan Pathan is ready for a fresh start. Before leaving for the Champions Trophy in England, he spoke to Firoz Mirza and Anand Sachar.
When you started, your swing was so effective but that has gradually declined?
Over the years, I have changed my action to avoid injuries. It helped me in some ways. I performed quite well in the inaugural World T20 in South Africa. But now I realise what went wrong was the seam position. It was not coming out straight and instead it was cutting the ball.
Were you disappointed to lose your initial effectiveness?
I was, but I knew I had to comeback. I always believe in myself, keep pushing myself and keep telling myself that anything is possible. These qualities helped me to come back quickly and strongly. TA Sekhar sir (ex-MRF pace academy head) and Rashid Patel sir (former pacer) played vital roles in my comeback.
When you were out of the team, did you ever think you would make a comeback?
When you are dropped, you get disappointed but the world doesn't end there. People might have said I won't play again but I had the self-belief that I will make a comeback. Question marks were raised but I always believed in giving a positive and fitting reply.
Conditions in England will favour the seamers...
That is true, but England will also have true pitches and one will have to bowl in right areas to be effective. It is not necessary that you will start getting wickets soon after getting there. You need to bowl good length and line.
Do you fear injuries, especially if they occur at a wrong time?
There is a bit of fear when you come out of injuries. You fear for the first couple of weeks. You tend to be hesitant but then you grow in confidence. Those doubts need to be removed as quickly as possible.
Any special preparation against arch-rivals Pakistan?
India-Pakistan matches are always filled with excitement. I have done well against them in the past and will try to do my best.
Recently you said you want to be the captain's go-to bowler?
For being captain's go-to bowler, you need to be ready, mentally and physically, to bowl in any phase of the match. Whatever experience I have, I feel I am ready to play that role. I am raring to go out and do it again and again for the captain.
Miss Zaheer Khan in England?
We will. He has been a wonderful bowler for the country. He is fit now but I can't speak on selection matters.
Indian cricket is passing through the darkest phase since 2000. What in your opinion is a good way to regain the loyalty of fans?
Keep doing the right things. I wouldn't like to talk much on it, and go into details. It's time to play good cricket for the country and win matches for the fans and ourselves.
Prediction for the team...
The team is young. We don't have that experience in bowling and our experienced openers are also not there. But an inexperienced team has an advantage, they play fearless cricket.