Towering Pakistan quick ‘ready for India’
Towering Pakistani paceman Mohammad Irfan says he is ready for international cricket and for his side’s ultimate challenge against India after being named in the touring party for the series that starts on December 25.
The 6ft 10in Irfan, who made a lacklustre debut for Pakistan in an ODI against England in 2010 after being plucked from obscurity, has had a good run on the domestic circuit recently and believes he is prepared for a fresh start to his international career.
“I was put under tremendous pressure in that game as I was flown in and then asked to play at short notice. I was suffering from jetlag and had fitness issues, and of course I was also nervous. All these issues affected my performance but all that is in the past. I have worked very hard and if given the chance, I will be ready for the big occasion,” Irfan told pakpassion.net.
Backed by head coach Dav Whatmore and bowling coach Mohammad Akram, Irfan picked up 11 wickets at an average of 13.9 and an economy rate of 5.88 in the recently concluded National T20 Cup and also performed consistently in the four-day President’s Trophy.
The left-armer, who hails from the town of Gaggu Mandi which produced another lethal quick Mohammad Zahid, claims he has beefed up physically and equipped for the upcoming challenges.
“Physical fitness was also an issue in my last international game and hopefully that will not be a problem if I am chosen to play, as I have been following a fitness plan assigned to me by the coaches. I don’t feel any tension or pressure as this time around, I feel much better prepared and I am joining the team on the back of some good performances. Dav Whatmore came to see my games in Islamabad during the President’s Trophy and spoke to me there. He provided me with a lot of confidence for which I am really thankful. I have spoken to Mohammed Akram on many occasions. They have been very happy with my bowling and also given advice to me on my physical fitness and bowling.”
Irfan said despite many suggestions from former players, he had not changed anything about his bowling,
“I am grateful to my coach and mentor Nadeem Iqbal for his constant encouragement. He has always been convinced that I will make a comeback to the international side but for that to happen I needed to persevere and work on the same techniques that had got me this far – there was no need for any significant changes,” Irfan, who was picked only for the T20 squad for the India series, said.
For Irfan, this series represents an opportunity to establish himself as an international bowler, a fact that he readily acknowledges.
“This is a big opportunity for me and I hope I can contribute and become a regular member of the team. I have got hold of some videos of Indian batsmen, so I can start planning against them but the real work will come when I join the preparatory camp which starts round the 14th Dec.”