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Fielding, fitness needs to improve if JK has to succeed: Irfan Pathan

Fielding, fitness needs to improve if JK has to succeed

I picked up Rasikh Salam in team despite resistance by selectors: Irfan Pathan

Srinagar, March 04: Irfan Pathan was roped in by JKCA as mentor cum player last season in order to nurture young players of the state.
Muhammad Hanief caught up with the JKCA mentor-cum player Irfan Pathan, former India all rounder regarding his time with Jammu and Kashmir Cricket team throughout 2018-19 season.

Q: Irfan you played this whole season with J&K team, How do you see yourself in performing your job as mentor? Did you achieve what people expected from you?

A: Look, before I came here, I was told by CEO JKCA Ashiq Bukhari and Justice Ck Prasad to be associated with team for 2 years but I choose only one year. Things don’t happen overnight, it takes time for things to fall in correct place. As for as team is concerned, there were loopholes in various departments, changing the mindset of players was my utmost priority at first place.

Q: How much do you think you succeeded in your goal?

A: Look, it takes two to three years for everyone who is new to any state team either as player or mentor to get the things going in right direction. As for as I’m concerned, I think I have been successful in cultivating a competitive culture in J&K team. Players like Rasik, Mujtaba, Pundir, Raina etc etc were all new to senior team but they all had the thirst to learn something from me as a mentor and I was always ready to give it back to them. Before coming here I left various things back home, I wanted to be involved in domestic cricket and to some extent I have been successful in starting something new in J&k state which I believe will be quite helpful in producing new cricketers from valley.

Q: When you came here, were you given full free hand? and how much support did you got from local selectors and management?

A: As for as CEO and management is concerned, they gave me free hand but as for as local selectors are concerned they weren’t happy with me. As soon as I had started to settle here, some selectors resigned because I wanted Rasik Salam in the senior team and they didn’t want. They wanted senior players of clubs and city but for me talent mattered whether the player was from district or city. Its their opinion but this time they were wrong because the same Rasik salam is in IPL with Mumbai Indians which they didn’t wanted to give chance. My plan and goal was how to take Jammu and Kashmir cricket forward and giving chance to young ones was of utmost importance. Youngsters won’t win you matches from the first day itself but if you look at long run, they will take J&k cricket to new heights.

Q: Chemistry between you and JK skipper Parveez Rasool was very good at first but now reports are coming that all is not well between you because he wasn’t happy with your team selection process?

A: I don’t know where from these reports come, neither I have any authority over them. If the difference of opinion comes on team selection from skipper that’s good because he’s backing the players well and I like that.
When I first came here I was told that I’m free to select players which will be talented but with time selectors weren’t backing my decisions and I stopped interfering in team selection process from that on wards. I don’t do things uninvited and the team selected for recently concluded Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy had nothing to do with me, team was selected by selectors appointed by JKCA. As I told you if selectors had backed my decisions, more new things would have been done.

Q: Where do you think Jk team needs to work more?

A: Fielding and Agility. We lost two matches in Ranji Trophy only because of loose fielding.Take catches and win matches should be the attitude of team. Players have been dropping too many catches which also deters bowlers which isn’t a good sign for any team. I have gave my suggestions to JKCA how to do things in future in right way, now I believe they will ask me for a report of full year and in that report I will give my viewpoint.

Q: You know there are two division’s in state Jammu and Kashmir, did it have any impact on team?

A: To counter this, we had formulated a plan where at dinner 4 players will go for dinner, 2 from Kashmir and 2 from Jammu, Unfortunately the protocol was broken by one of the senior players which was very disturbing for Youngsters. For me nothing matters, division, district, village, city, what should matter is talent and team spirit which I believe it should be the priority of every player and I was successful in this department.

Q: You picked so many Youngsters in team, they got to learn certain things from you, will you still be there for them? will you guide them still? if you still don’t extend your contract with JKCA.

A: I have already conveyed to all the players that whoever needs help, I’m there for them to help. If they want to come to Baroda for training in off-season, everything will be arranged for them. Even the coach Melop Bewada has agreed to help them out in Baroda. Whatever they need in honing there cricketing skills, I will always be there for them. Now I have backed up these Youngsters, hope JKCA backs them too looking at long run, how helpful they can be for J&k cricket.

Thank you Irfan Pathan for taking your timeout.