Former India all-rounder Irfan Pathan has showered high praise on all-rounder Deepak Hooda, saying that the cricketers can serve the country for good six-seven years. After making his international debut at home earlier this year, the 27-year-old has been on a roll so far. Whenever he was given an opportunity, he came up with flying colours.
He rose to prominence, scoring a century against Ireland. Hooda carried the momentum to England where he stepped in as a No. 3 batter, in the absence of Virat Kohli, and delivered with a quick-fire knock.
Meanwhile, Deepak Hooda wasn’t a household name until a year ago but his unseen hard work at the National Cricket Academy has reflected in his performances in the last couple of months. He also found an able guide in Irfan Pathan who stood by his side like a rock.
Throwing light on Hooda’s journey, the former cricketer believes the all-rounder is going to flourish for the team in the coming years. Speaking on ESPNCricinfo, Irfan Pathan said:
“Two years ago, Hooda himself wondered if the India cap would come. Today, he is a shining example of someone who has proved if you accept your shortcomings and make a conscious effort in working on them, that’s half the battle won. I am excited about what he can possibly offer to the Indian team. He’s just 27. If he offers India six-seven good years, he has the potential to achieve a lot more.”
“I told him, if you are playing and training expecting something in return, it’s never going to work. You have to train your mind in a way where you’re giving your best without expecting anything in return. If something comes your way, great. Else, keep at it.”
“He worked on using the crease to maximise scoring opportunities” – Irfan Pathan on Deepak Hooda
Pathan further explained how he closely worked with Hooda in plugging loopholes. The support not only fine-tuned the latter’s techniques but also lifted his confidence. Irfan Pathan concluded, saying:
“His off-side play was a bit of a hindrance. He needed to keep his hands relaxed and not a jab. His hands needed to be more fluid. And when he started playing with loose hands, he could access different parts of the ring. We also adjusted his stance, depending on the format. He worked on using the crease to maximise scoring opportunities in different areas, hitting boundaries along the ground by finding gaps – we simulated all of this.”