The former team India all-rounder Irfan Pathan is back in Kashmir with J&K Cricket Association (JKCA) to resume his role of mentoring the J&K cricketers.
Pathan, who last year discharged the role of J&K cricket team’s player-cum-mentor, would be only playing the role of mentor this season. After being away for the off-season, Pathan is back on his job of mentoring the budding cricketers of the J&K State.
Upon his arrival Pathan wasted no time, and directly joined the ongoing correction camp of top J&K cricketers who underwent Yo-Yo fitness test on July 29. The test was held under the supervision of former team India trainer Sudarshan V P, J&K coach Milap Mewada and Pathan himself and both officials as well as players looked happy to be part of the camp started well in time this season.
Taking his time off from the ongoing camp and talking on the various issues pertaining to J&K cricket, Irfan Pathan told Greater Kashmir that he is focused on his job of guiding J&K cricketers and has no time for controversies.
“The process has started, players are been given the facilities and training that they need. The players are enjoying it and we are seeing the positive outcomes. Whether I am here or not, the process will go on. It is neither about Irfan Pathan nor JKCA, it is all about J&K cricket and cricketers,” Pathan said.
“Last year we witnessed a number of positive developments. First time in the history of JKCA so many youngsters in all age groups were called for National Cricket Academy (NCA) and zonal camps in a single year. From Under-16 to under-19 agre groups, we saw youngsters with lot of potential getting into eyes of the national selectors and called up for camps. We saw Rasikh playing in IPL and Qamran Iqbal for Under-19 India team,” he said.
Pathan said that his job to is to guide and make sure that players reach their potential and give out their best.
“There are a lot of positive things happening in J&K cricket. My job is to guide and make sure players reach upto their pure potential. If I am successful in that, I consider my job is done .From here on, I have to make sure that I share my experience with the boys, spread the positivity as much as possible and want players to play a good quality cricket as a team,” Pathan elaborated.
“My aim is to contribute to J&K cricket. I am focused on my job and don’t want to waste time on unwanted things or any kind of controversy,” he added.
Role as Mentor
Asked about his change of role from being player-cum-mentor to only mentor this season with J&K Cricket, Irfan Pathan said it is nothing new for him and role has not changed much. Last year as a player he couldn’t do as much as he had set the standards for his own self but still emerged as second best scorer for J&K in Ranji Trophy. Pathan scored 428 runs and took 19 wickets for J&K last year in Ranji trophy. Despite that he this time chose to be as mentor only and see groom J&K youngsters.
“I am only mentor this year and not coach-cum-mentor. Milap Mewada is there as coach and I don’t need to boast about his credentials and work ethics here. I will be this year as mentor for J&K boys. It is similar job like what I did last year but this time I will make sure to guide J&K boys upto my best ability,” he said.
Impressed with Fitness Improvement
“I am very happy to see boys doing well and this camp has certainly helped them. Sudarshan who is here is an experienced guy and knows his job perfectly well. He will not be with the team all along but will work in different phases. He will set a program for each individual and players will need to stick to that and train accordingly,” he said.
“After being part of camp for one month, players who struggling to score 15 in Yo-Yo fitness test, have gone on to cross the set levels easily, indicating the effectiveness of the camp. The players need to continue to work hard on similar lines and the long-term results will be there,” Pathan commented while giving examples of positives coming out from fitness camp.
Lot of positive things happening in J&K cricket
Irfan, former team India cricketer said that there are a lot of positive things happening in J&K cricket and one should praise the efforts of JKCA CEO and Administrator retired Justice CK Prasad for that.
“I don’t want to talk about the internal matters of JKCA but I would like to praise JKCA CEO and Administrator CK Prasad for his efforts. He is doing a wonderful job and players are happy with the things happening around. They are trying to provide players best available facilities and training. This is what players want and they are getting that,” he said.
No time for controversies
Last year, some of the former players who were working with JKCA as selectors had resigned alleging inference from the former team India all-rounder in the selection process. Later, JKCA roped in outside State selectors who did the selection.
“It is not about the Irfan Pathan’s personal gain or JKCA official. It is all about J&K cricket and its players. If they are getting benefit then everything is going well,” Pathan said.
“Neither have I wanted to go into history neither what people are saying. Everyone knows about that. I have nothing to do with that. My job is to ensure than players are getting benefited, doing well and if that is not happening then I have no work here,” he said while signing off.