Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Veteran Indian all-rounder Yusuf Pathan is determined to steal the spotlight in the upcoming edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) and regain his spot in the national team after recently serving a five-month doping ban.
Pathan tested positive for Terbutaline, but the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) accepted the 35-year-old’s explanation that he had “taken Terbutaline inadvertently to treat an Upper Respiratory Tract Infection (URTI) and not as a performance-enhancing drug”.
While Pathan’s doping ban concluded at midnight on January 14, he admitted that it was one of the most difficult periods of his cricketing career.
“To be honest, those five months were a very difficult time for me” he told The New Indian Express. “It was highly emotional as well. After scoring good runs at the start of the season, suddenly you are away from cricket for some months. Not only was it difficult, I was hurt to be away from the game.”
Despite not being allowed to play any competitive cricket, Pathan found other ways to keep himself fit while he was banned.
“I have worked a lot on my fitness,” he said. “I used to wake up early, and go for cycling and running as I had nothing to do and could not play matches.”
With the IPL coming up, Pathan is eager to make his presence felt after being bought by the Sunrisers Hyderabad for INR 1.9 crores.
“I am very happy that the Sunrisers picked me at the auction,” he said. “The wicket is good there, and I will definitely enjoy myself. Even after being away for five months or so, there were three good teams which bid for me.
“All these teams showed faith in me, and wanted me to play for them. It is a good sign as it shows that franchises have faith in my ability. It will be a new experience, playing for Sunrisers.”
Pathan last represented India in March 2012, but he believes that a string of strong performances in the IPL could put him back on the national selectors’ radar.
“The IPL is a wonderful platform for cricketers. If you do well, you can come into the limelight immediately,” he added. “There are competitive teams in the league, and a good performance always adds to players’ confidence. Obviously, everything is possible. If you work hard on your game, keep scoring runs, remain in shape and keep your fitness levels at a good standard, nothing is impossible.”