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Great feeling to get a 100, says Pathan
Harish Kotian in Bangalore | December 09, 2007 19:23 IST
For Irfan Pathan [Images] the road to redemption was not easy. After being compared with Pakistan's legendary bowler Wasim Akram early on in his career, the 23-year-old suddenly lost his way and was dumped from the Indian team towards the end of last year.
He was the first Indian player to be sent home mid-way during a tour when he was asked to leave during the tour of South Africa. But he kept quiet and just went about the task of improving his skills and coming back stronger and better.
One aspect of his hard work showed off in the third Test against Pakistan in Bangalore on Sunday when he posted his maiden Test century. The left-armer has gained from strength to strength ever after making his international comeback in the Twenty20 World Cup, while also impressing in the ODIs that followed against Australia and Pakistan.
"Since the time I have come back into the Indian team, whether it is the Twenty20 or one-day internationals, I have been bowling and batting pretty well. But when it came to Test cricket, I had never thought that I would score a hundred on my comeback. It is a great feeling to get my first Test hundred," he said at the M Chinnaswamy stadium on Sunday.
Pathan, who was the ICC [Images] Emerging Player of the Year in 2004, however made it clear that his primary task was with the ball.
"I think my bowling was good, I was really happy to bowl my first over for my country. It is a big thing even though I was tired because I had scored a hundred. I was really ready for it and I ran inside [the dressing room] after the innings because I wanted to bowl my first over. It is a great feeling," he said.
The left-armer said that scoring a hundred in a first class match in South Africa last year had given him the confidence.
"I played a practice game in South Africa and had scored a hundred there, which was my first hundred in first class matches. So once you achieve something you are confident that you can do it again. But if you have never done it before, then you find it difficult and you always wish to do it. I always had hopes of scoring a hundred, but definitely not in my comeback match after a gap of a year and half. I never thought about it, it just happened," he said.
Pathan also thanked his captain Anil Kumble [Images] who allowed him the time to get his hundred.
"It was Anil bhai's decision. It was a good decision, what else can I say? I am feeling special. Also we scored at a pretty good rate to get to 600 and it's not that we took two days to score 600. So it was not a big delay and he was just waiting for my hundred," the youngster said.
Asked what made him get the hundred with a six, Pathan replied: "The spinner was bowling, so I had a go. When I scored my first class hundred then too I had brought it up with a six. I went for the six because it is better to be dismissed on 96 rather than be 96 not out. I went for it and luckily it clicked."
Pathan, who is playing Tests after a gap of nearly 18 months, said the century would also help boost his confidence with the ball.
"Obviously it is a big confidence boost if you score your first Test hundred. It also helps in your bowling. Selection is not in my hand and I don't think about it. I didn't even think that I would play the third Test. Whatever is destined for you, it will happen no matter what, and you just need to work hard," he said.
He believes that India have the upperhand and are hoping to take advantage of the uneven bounce in the wicket.
"Tomorrow is a very important day. Obviously we have the upperhand at the moment. We batted for one and half day, when the wicket was fresh. But from now on the wicket will do things. It will roughen up a bit and will keep low too. But as of now, the match is in our control," the Baroda seamer said.
Despite India amassing 600 in successive matches, Pathan refused to believe that Pakistan's bowling attack is weak.
"I don't think Shoaib Akhtar [Images] is a weak bowler. Obviously he didn't bowl because of his injuries, but they are good bowlers. [Mohammad] Sami has done well and the newcomer [Yasir Arafat] has done well taking five wickets. It is not a strong attack like Australia but I don't think it is as weak as we keep saying," he said.
On being asked why he showed his muscles on reaching his century, Pathan said: "It was just fun; I just wanted to do something different."