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I need to be careful with my shot selection: Yusuf Pathan

There’s a striking similarity between Yusuf Pathan’s career graph and the current state of India’s financial market: Both are extremely volatile. After a stellar rise post the 2007 World T20, Yusuf struggled to recover from the steep fall since the 2011 World Cup.

Yusuf Pathan
Yusuf Pathan during a 2011 World Cup training session in Chennai. Pic/Suresh KK

As luck would have it, the 30-year-old big-hitting batsman from Baroda has been provided another lifeline by the selection committee led by Sandeep Patil.
Pathan has been included in the India ‘A’ team for three one-day games and a T20 tie against the West Indies ‘A’. He also finds himself in the India Red team led by younger brother Irfan Pathan for the NKP Salve Challenger Trophy.

Yusuf, one of the cleanest hitters of the cricket ball, opens up to MiD DAY about his much-criticised approach to batting, working on his batting with former India stumper and chairman of selectors Kiran More and the India ‘A’ selection.

Excerpts:

On selection…
I am happy, as I will be playing after a long time (Yusuf last played in the IPL in May). I am looking forward to it. I haven’t made any special plans.  I don’t want to put any extra pressure on myself by thinking this is an important opportunity (for my career). I don’t want to experience unnecessary burden. I have always believed in giving my best in whatever opportunities I get. Every opportunity is crucial.

Post IPL…
I got a chance to spend time with the family. I was training in the gym as it was raining outside. After the rains stopped, I started batting in the nets.
I can’t change whatever has happened. I got ample time to spend with my family which is a good thing. I also got time to work on my fitness and my game. So, whatever happens… happens for the best. There are many positives for me as I got good time to recover from my injury. I had fractured my spinning finger last season and was advised not to bowl too much. I have completely recovered from that injury.

On training with Kiran More…
I have been training with him for the last 15 days now. He is working on my bat follow through and shot selection. Since he is from Baroda, he volunteered to help me. I am fortunate to have him here. Many coaches told me to work on my game, but somehow it never happened before.

On his batting approach…
I don’t think I need to change my approach. It will be the same. I have reached here with the same approach. So, there is no reason to change that. I am known for my fearless batting. I will continue to play my shots. But I need to be careful with my shot selection which I am working on.

On the downfall…
Frankly, I haven’t thought much about it. Ups and downs are part of a sportsperson’s life. There was a phase when things were not going right for me. I don’t want to think about it every time and put pressure on myself. Whatever has happened — it is in the past. There are better things to come now. I am sure about it. So, I am just concentrating on the time ahead. I want to give my best in that regard. 

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