Irfan Pathan burst on the scene when he bowled exceptionally well on the Australian tour in 2003. The captain at that time of India, Sourav Ganguly backed Irfan Pathan a lot. Irfan was only 19 and was given a tough task of bowling in Australia in front of a hostile Aussie crowd.
Irfan recalled an incident when Ganguly told him that he initially did not want him on the Australian tour. He thought that Irfan would find it extremely tough bowling in Australia as he was only a teenager. Australia is considered to be the toughest tour for any young cricketer. This was the reason Ganguly was apprehensive to take Irfan with the team Down Under. But when the former Indian skipper saw Irfan bowl he changed his mind and selected him in the Indian squad.
Irfan Pathan recalls an incident with Sourav Ganguly
Speaking to SportsTak, Irfan said, “Australia tour is a 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, ‘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.”
He added, “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. “When a captain comes to a youngster and says this, you feel a lot of confidence. Then you also start respecting him a lot.”
Kapil Dev and Wasim Akram was my idol
Irfan Pathan also talked about the players that he wanted to emulate since his childhood. He said that he idolised both Kapil Dev and Wasim Akram and wanted to bowl like them. Irfan also added that during his first tour of Australia, he met Wasim Akram and that was a memorable moment for him.
“The Australia tour was a memorable one. I had met Wasim Akram for the first time in that tour and I used to idolise him. There are two bowlers whom I used to idolise the 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. I met Wasim Akram for the first time in that tour, and I was really happy and had a lot of positive conversation with him,” added Irfan.