'Short man' Irfan aims high for Pakistan
Karachi,Jan 19:A towering man of seven feet one inch, fast-rising Pakistan paceman Muhammad Irfan often struggles to find bowling shoes that fit and a comfortable bed.
But on the cricket pitch, the 30-year-old former factory worker is more than comfortable with a new ball in his hands, cleverly exploiting his height to unsettle some of the best batsmen in the world with bounce, pace and variation.
Pakistan tagged Irfan a "surprise package" on their December-January tour of India and despite taking just three wickets, he plagued the opposition's much-vaunted batting.
"We jokingly call him the short man," Pakistan Twenty20 captain Muhammad Hafeez said. "We knew he would be a surprise package and with his determination and hard work I hope that he can go a long way in international cricket."
It is only now that officials accept him to be 7'1''. In the past, his height has been purportedly measured at 6'8" and 6'10".
"My height was measured at the US embassy when I applied for visa in 2010," Irfan said, boasting of being the tallest ever international cricketer, surpassing West Indian Joel Garner and Australian Bruce Reid who stood at 6'8".
He also claims to be the tallest known cricketer, beating English county players Anthony Allom, Paul Dunkels and Will Jefferson, all measured at 6'10". But for Irfan, height hasn't always been an advantage.
He was born a farmer's son in the small village of Gaggu Mandi in the central Punjab province, where he found his height hard to cope with, even as one of five brothers all over six feet tall.AFP
Lastupdate on : Sat, 19 Jan 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 19 Jan 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 20 Jan 2013 00:00:00 IST
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