Struggling Pathan upbeat ahead of World Cup

Published: Thursday, February 22, 2007, 23:53 [IST]
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New Delhi:Indian paceman Irfan Pathan on Thursday brushed aside concerns over his form and fitness, saying he was confident of delivering at next month's World Cup in the Caribbean.

"Whatever has happened in the last eight months has made me stronger. I am happy to have gone through this phase when I am 22, and not 28," said Pathan, who figured in just one of his team's last eight one-day internationals.

He sat out of a four-match series against Sri Lanka due to a sore shoulder and played just one game against the West Indies, but appeared a pale shadow of his former match-winning self.

"The injury is not serious. I would be playing in domestic one-day matches, which is better than merely practising in the nets," said Pathan.

"I didn't have a problem before I was picked for the World Cup. It happened the day I went to Kolkata (for the match against Sri Lanka). The injury is not an issue at all and I'm confident of a good show in the Caribbean."

Although asked to prove his form and fitness in domestic matches, Pathan denied he was under pressure to justify his selection in the Cup squad.

"I don't think there is extra pressure on me," said Pathan, who was sent home midway through the recent tour of South Africa to sort out his bowling.

"When you are taking wickets, no one talks about your line and length or your speed. But when you stop taking wickets, then people always try and find fault with the way you are bowling."

Pathan said he was looking forward to contributing to the team as a bowler who is also handy with the bat.

"I have never called myself an all-rounder. The media has given me this tag. I have always maintained I am a bowler first and batting is just an added advantage," he said.

Pathan has taken 115 wickets and scored 1,006 runs in 73 one-day internationals.


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