New Delhi: Baroda allrounder Yusuf Pathan is prepared to prove to critics that he's not just a limited-overs hitter of the cricket ball. After an extended run in India's ODI team for 2010 and the first half of 2011, the 29-year-old has not played international cricket since March.
Heading into the 2012-13 Ranji Trophy season, Yusuf tells Cricketnext that he's eager to smash the image of being merely a big hitter of the cricket ball. That and more in this interview...
People say you are more of a T20 and ODI batsman, not in a content_cnion for a Test squad. What is your take on that?
I am an aggressive batsman and I like to play my shots. I have played a string of good innings in first-class matches but I admit that I haven't done justice to my potential in longer. In this Ranji Trophy season I will try to put my best foot forward and score as many runs as possible to break the myth that I am only suitable for shorter formats.
What is your approach while batting? Do you have different strategies for different bowlers?
When I bat, I don’t go by the reputation of the bowler. I try to play according to the merit of the ball. If one goes by the reputation, there are chances of getting overawed and not even punishing the bad balls. Even the best bowlers at times bowl loose balls and it is important to spank them. I like to keep my style of batting simple and uncluttered.
What is your best innings till date?
There are some knocks that are really memorable for me but the one I played for Rajasthan Royals against Mumbai Indians where I made a century off just 37 balls is the best knock for me. Shane Warne praised me a lot for the knock and that was really special for me. Warne told me that he has seen so many good innings but not like that.
You played both under Warne and MS Dhoni. Who is the better captain?
Both are very different from each other. Warne is very expressive and demonstrative both on and off the field whereas Dhoni is a man of few words. Warne's style of appreciation and motivation is effusive while a gentle pat on the back is Dhoni's trademark.
Batting or bowling, what do you enjoy more?
I enjoy playing cricket whether I’m batting, bowling or fielding. I love the smell of a cricket ground and that keeps me going. I cannot imagine my life without cricket.
You won the World Twenty20 in 2007, the World Cup in 2011 and two IPL titles. Do you think you are a lucky mascot for your side?
I am very lucky to be the part of those teams and I consider myself very privileged to notch the top honours. We attained glory by virtue of team work as I was a part of very strong teams which collectively did well. But I do not think I am a lucky mascot because if I would have been so then I wouldn't have out of the Indian side at the moment.
Both you and Irfan are allrounders – any competition between you and him?
Not at all. There is no competition and there can't be since he is my brother. We guide each other, we advice each other and we have our disagreements and difference of opinions. we really enjoy each other's success and take pride in each other's success.
When you play for India, Irfan stays out and vice-versa. What do you have to say about that?
Its sheer coincidence but I really hope that in future we will play together for India and serve Indian cricket with distinction.