All-rounder Irfan Pathan tells Nikhilesh Pathak that his brother Yusuf will stage a comeback sooner than later
What did Sri Lankan tour mean to you considering that you were not in the original squad?
I was lucky to get a chance after an unfortunate injury to R Vinay Kumar. If you go by sheer numbers, it was an extremely important tour for me. I got some wickets — eight in five ODIs and three in the lone Twenty20. I was the Man of the Match too, a massive boost to my confidence. It also created the feel-good factor in me.
Are you gradually getting back the swing?
Swing has always been a weapon in my armour. And because I got wickets, people believe I’ve regained my touch. If I hadn’t had the numbers on the last column, it doesn’t mean I didn’t deliver. I never attach too much importance to critics. They are doing their job; I’ve to focus on mine.
But do you think they (cynics) were fair in their assessment or were unreasonably harsh?
One has to accept it (criticism) the right way. When you are playing for your country, use it as a driving force. When you are censured, you are also inspired to do better. Look, I don’t get carried away by comments, regardless of whether they are for or against me.
Honestly, how would you assess your career graph?
Nearly nine years have passed since I made my international debut. It’s been a great learning process. I feel I’ve grown as a person. It’s been a wonderful journey. I’ve set my goals and will keep working on them.
What does the captain’s faith mean to you?
It is crucial for any player to enjoy his captain’s confidence. When you get a positive response from your skipper, it helps a great deal. It’s even more satisfying when you repose the faith he has in you.
You are determined for an encore of the 2007 World T20 feat in Sri Lanka...
It would be incredible if we could repeat the magic. I can’t wait for the T20 World Cup. The coming month is super important. Our fans have high expectations. You know, at times, I pinch myself to get a feel of that T20 final against Pakistan (2007). What a win!
Your brother Yusuf Pathan is not in the squad...
Yusuf is a lion-hearted person and will definitely stage a comeback. Let me tell you we enjoy each other’s success. I wasn’t part of 2011 World Cup-winning team. When I watched him lift the trophy, I never felt I was distant. I was there in spirit with the team. At this point, Yusuf is ahead of me when it comes to World Cup trophies (that 2007 Twenty20 win and the 2011 World Cup). But I will get even soon (laughs). It’s such healthy competition that keeps us going.