What’s the story?
Gujarat Lions all-rounder Irfan Pathan has a “magic ball” at his disposal ahead of his debut for the franchise says the Karnataka Institute of Cricket Director (KIOC) Irfan Sait. The 32-year-old, who was signed as Dwayne Bravo’s replacement is in Bangalore ahead of the Lions’ next IPL game, which is against Royal Challengers Bangalore on Thursday (April 27).
Irfan trained at the the KIOC in Bengaluru on Tuesday ahead of his side’s game in the city on April 27. In an exclusive chat with Sportskeeda, Sait spoke about a new ball that Irfan has added to his arsenal. “He doesn't work on the pace, he workly only on the skill. He bowled one special ball. It looked like a magic ball and I've never seen that before. He said he was not going to bowl more than two of those in the match,” he said.
Sait also admitted that Irfan didn’t look rusty. He added: “He didn't look like that at all. Everything looked very nice, he played some rasping shots and bowled very well. He batted in the nets, he batted in the bowling machine, he looks like a man on a mission.
“On the offside, he reminded me of Sourav Ganguly. He was bashing on the off side. Was so pleased with the way he worked today, so purposeful, so charged up. For someone who might have been a bit disillusioned because of non-inclusion, he's coming strong.”
After Dwayne Bravo was ruled out of the rest of the tournament, Lions announced that Indian all-rounder Irfan Pathan will be his replacement. With his vast experience in both the international arena and in T20s, the 32-year-old will look to repay the faith after being unsold during the IPL Auction 2017.
Irfan Pathan has scored nearly 2,000 runs and taken more than 150 wickets in T20s. The all-rounder has played over 100 matches in the IPL for five different teams. He has scored over 1,000 runs at an average of nearly 22 while he has taken 80 wickets an economy rate of under 8.
Having won just two of their seven games in IPL 2017, Gujarat Lions will take on Royal Challengers Bangalore in Bengaluru on April 27 in their next match, which is a must-win game if they are to keep their faint Champions Trophy hopes alive.
In the form that he was in during the limited-overs domestic competitions, it was a surprise to see Irfan Pathan go unsold during IPL Auction 2017. Now that he finally has a home in the form of Gujarat Lions, he will be looking to make the most of it. And it remains to be seen if his “magic ball” helps the Lions solve their bowling woes in the competition.