Srinagar, Aug 2: International Cricketer Irfan Pathan who is Jammu Kashmir Cricket Association Head Coach Friday was all praise for Kashmir hospitality. “I have visited across globe but, nowhere I felt people so lovable and hospitable as I found in Kashmir Valley,” Pathan said in an exclusive chat with news agency Kashmir News Trust.
“I get flooded with lunch and dinner invitations. People are so nice in Kashmir that I always feel at home.”
Pathan who has 301 international wickets in his name said that Kashmiri people are very talented and if talent is groomed effectively, Valley can produce talented cricketers.
“It has happened for the first time in the history of Jammu Kashmir Cricket Association that six to seven youth have been selected for National Cricket Academy and budding cricketers are playing Under 19. Rasikh Salam was unfortunate but he will surely bounce back after two years. Rasikh is a talented cricketer and I would love to see him in action again,” Pathan said.
He expressed satisfaction over his job and hailed the role of JKCA in promoting cricket in the State. “Ashik Bukhari and CK Prasad, the cricket administrators are very helpful and keen to develop infrastructure for the promotion of cricket in Jammu and Kashmir,” he said adding that there is a lot of room for improvement in cricket in Kashmir.
He said efforts are being made to develop turf wicket in districts of Kashmir. “Turf wickets have already been developed in some districts but still there is a long way to go.”
Pathan who was instrumental in India’s One-day international and Test series wins in Pakistan in 2004 said that critics raised question over his commentary stunt during the recently concluded cricket world cup in England. “I want to tell them there is flexibility in my contract with Jammu Kashmir Cricket Association. I can do commentary at my will and it is in the contract. It’s unfortunate that without knowing the contents of my contract with JKCA, some people opposed this move of mine.”
Irfan Pathan who hails from Vadodara Gujrat termed the allegations baseless that he intervenes in selection process. “I attend Selection Committee meetings only after I receive formal invitation. I don’t poke my nose in everything but once invited, I attend the meetings and back the talented players,” he said.
When asked, who was the difficult player for him to bowl in international cricket arena, he named Adam Gilchrist and added that Pakistan’s Inzimamul Haq was also one of the finest players of the game. “I bowled out Shahid Afridi for the maximum 11 times while the memorable moment of my life was the victory in 2007 T20 World Cup under MS Dhoni,” Pathan told KNT.