Pathan prefers the red cherry to the willow

Published: Thursday, April 22, 2004, 19:26 [IST]
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Ahmedabad:Unlike other tailenders, Indian cricket's latest revelation Irfan Pathan may have proved that wielding the willow is not very taxing for him.

But the teenaged left-arm pacer from Vadodara still wants to only concentrate more upon improving his bowling without thinking much on the lines of emerging as an all-rounder.

"I have got a chance in Indian team as a bowler and I have to play as a bowler. Presently I am not thinking much on the lines of being an all-rounder," Pathan said on the sidelines of a glittering function organised by Gujarat Cricket Association (GCA) to felicitate him and Parthiv Patel at the Sardar Patel stadium in Motera.

"Whenever I get time in the nets I do practice batting and even devote extra time sometimes. But presently I am focussing more on bowling," Pathan said.

The paceman however added that if he started playing regularly for India, he could get more time to nurture his batting abilities that saw him scoring 49 runs in the second Test against Pakistan in Lahore.

Pathan, who made an impressive debut against Australia recently, also felt that he needed to learn "control" in his bowling.

"One has to keep improving in the game. I have to have some more control in my bowling...I do have but still I have a lot to learn in that," said the teenager, who was often described as "mature bowler" by TV commentators during theTest series.

Pathan, who bagged 12 wickets in three Tests attributed his sublime form against archrivals to the "immense confidence" that he gained by playing against Australia in his debut series.

"Australia series helped me a lot. I was lucky that my first tour was against the world champions. I got a lot of experience there and the confidence I gained sustained till the Pakistan tour," the speedster said.

Asked whether Pakistan bowling legend Wasim Akram had given him some tips, Pathan said it was not in Pakistan but in Australia that Akram gave tips on wrist action.

To a question whether he had some special trick in his kitty to bowl Pakistan middle-order Yousuf Youhana out five times in the tour, Pathan said he merely stuck to bowling a simple line and length and planted deliveries looking at batsman's strengths and weaknesses.

"One has to look where the batsman is going...which areas he is more confident playing shots. I simply bowled good line and length and was bowling well against him (Youhana)".

The Vadodara lad however singled out Pakistan skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq when asked which batsmen tested his bowling abilities the most.

"Inzamam is a world class batsman. He has more than 9500 runs and he played really superbly," Pathan said.

Taking Youhana's "prized scalp" in the last and deciding fifth One-dayer and Haq's wicket after he scored a ton as also the "Indian team's huddle" after clinching the Test series are some of the moments in the historic tour which Pathan described as "most memorable."

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