Irfan Pathan begins his J&K gig with pep talk to youngsters

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Srinagar—Out of favour Indian all-rounder Irfan Pathan finally began his innings with Jammu and Kashmir cricket, interacting with youngsters at Sher-i-Kashmir International Cricket Stadium, Sonwar on Friday.

After many speculations, Pathan’s appearance in Srinagar giving pep talk to the young cricketers has signaled a new phase in all-rounder’s career that has had to encounter tough situations in recent times.

Once considered a big thing in Indian cricket thanks to incisive swing and seam bowling that saw him take wickets in bundles, Pathan’s career has come to a virtual grinding halt. A series of injuries coupled with poor performances has seen the left armer not playing for India for more than five years. Things got worse when his state team Baroda showed him the exit door this season.  He found no takers in Indian Premier League as well.

At the end of Indian domestic season, there were speculations that Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association had approached the disgruntled all-rounder for player cum mentor’s role but there was no major giveaway from Pathan about the development. Pathan’s arrival in Srinagar and subsequent interaction with youngsters has signaled that he has finally agreed to the role.

While Pathan will be mostly associated with the senior side, the Baroda all-rounder will also hold coaching clinics across the state.

Local sports portal Kashmir Sports Watch reported that Pathan asked youngsters to work hard on their game if they wanted to realise their dream of reaching higher level.

“I am here for you and I will go to every district of the State to unearth the hidden talent. My job here is to help develop J&K cricket. You should always remember one thing and it is most important suggestion from me to you. Always play with winning attitude and try to help your team win in whatever capacity you can. It is not only about big hundreds and number of wickets, even small help team win,” Pathan told youngsters.

Pathan said that he has inked one-year deal with the JKCA.

“We have already started to work on the plan and soon we will set that in motion. J&K has got the talent and need is to give them platform and chance to excel. Idea is to work alongwith senior players of state to make plan successful,” he said.

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