‘He didn’t want me for Australia tour’: When Sourav Ganguly rejected Irfan Pathan in selection meet
Irfan recalled that Ganguly, by the time the series was about to come to an end, had told him that he was hesitant to bring him to the tour.Updated: Jun 03, 2020 14:27 IST
Former India bowler Irfan Pathan recalled his debut tour to Australia from 2003 and spoke about how he managed to get the backing of then India captain Sourav Ganguly. Pathan, who was 19 years-old at the time, expected to have a tough series in Australia, who were the best team in both Tests and ODIs at the time. Irfan recalled that Ganguly, by the time the series was about to come to an end, had told him that he was hesitant to bring him to the tour at first.
Speaking in an interview to SportsTak, Irfan said: “The Australia tour was a memorable one. I had met Wasim Akram for the first time on that tour and I used to idolise him. There are two bowlers whom I used to idolise - first one was Kapil Dev. Allrounder, Best leader, great swing - and it is not easy to play in India. In Pakistan, you have kookaburra balls. But Kapil, in his time, made his name and role for himself, it was commendable, so I followed him a lot.
“Another one was Wasim Akram. I met him for the first time in that tour, and I was really happy, and had a lot of positive conversation with him,” he said.
“Australia tour is really tough tour. When a 19-year-old player goes there, he gets a lot of beating. I remember Dada also told me after the tour was about to come to a close, that ‘Irfan you might not know, but I didn’t want you to come on the tour. I had rejected you in the selection meeting. Not because I had seen your bowling. But because, I didn’t want to take a 19-year-old player in such a difficult tour to Australia. But when I saw you, I was sure that you would do well’,” the 35-year-old further revealed.
“Hence, throughout my career, Dada backed me a lot. One best thing about Dada was that if he likes a player, he would back him completely. If he feels that one player is giving his best for the team, he would back him,” he added.
“When a captain comes to a youngster and says this, you feel a lot of confidence. Then you also start respecting him a lot,” Pathan further said.