Perth: It was a happy return to Team India for Irfan Pathan on Saturday, the all-rounder who only last month registered his maiden Test hundred against Pakistan at Bangalore.
After India beat Australia at the third Test here, an ecstatic man-of-the-match Pathan said: "I am grateful to Venkatesh Prasad (bowling coach), Wasim Akram and T.A. Sekhar (MRF Pace Academy's coach) because they helped me a lot in my comeback.
"When I was out of the team, I always asked myself when I would play for India again.
GREAT COMEBACK: Pathan says Prasad, Akram and Sekhar helped him to strike form and return to team.
"Last year I didn't bowl well and that was the reason why I was dropped. I am honest with it. I knew that I had some problems with my action right from the time I took my hat trick against Pakistan. And then I went to MRF Pace Academy to change my action and really worked on it," admitted Pathan.
The 23-year-old Baroda player, who was touted as the 'find' and 'great hope' of Indian cricket a few seasons back, went into the wilderness as both form and confidence deserted him a year ago.
Pathan nevertheless found his way back with outstanding performances in India's win in the inaugural Twenty20 World Championship in South Africa in September. He then got his maiden Test century against Pakistan.
And now comes the all-round performance, which won him the man of the match award in India's historic 72-run win over Australia in Perth.
Pathan picked up five wickets in the match and scored 28 in the first innings and then 46 while coming in as a night watchman in the second innings.
"It was a nice experience batting as a night watchman and I am happy that I made a significant contribution with the bat. I was also happy to get a chance to bowl with the new ball. I started my career with the new ball and it was good to get it back here again," he said.