He was considered the next big thing in Indian cricket's pace reserves but after spending nearly two and a half years in wilderness, Irfan Pathan says he has finally realised his limitations as a bowler.
After scalping 100 and 154 wickets from 29 Tests and 108 ODIs respectively, Irfan had to sit out of the Indian team for a long period because of a dip in form and pace.
But by virtue of his 21 wickets in four Ranji Trophy games, including three five-fors, he recently made a comeback to the Indian ODI team and also played the last game of the five-match series against the West Indies in Chennai.
"I am happy about my comeback after two and a half years. The way my form is going at present I am hoping to do well in whatever match I get to play," Irfan told reporters on the sidelines of a promotional event here.
Asked about the changes he has made in his bowling to revive his career, Irfan said, "I was never an out and out pace bowler. I now know my limitations after all the problems I went through."
"I am now concentrating more on my limitations because at the end of the day what is important is performance," added the left-arm pacer whose forte has always been swing bowling.
"The most important thing was to play as many matches this season. Whatever match I get, I won't leave it."
In his comeback game against the West Indies in Chennai last month, Irfan spearheaded the Indian attack in the absence of Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav and picked up two wickets giving away 42 runs. However, with Zaheer, Ishant and Umesh back in the side, Irfan knows it won't be easy for him to secure a place in the Indian ODI team for the upcoming tri-series in Australia.
"There is immense competition in the team now, but the more the competition the more will be opportunities.
"Fast bowling is not an easy job. There is always competition. Look at Australia, there is plenty of competition in their pace department and whenever one gets an opportunity, he tries to grab it with both hands," said Irfan, who is also a capable batsman down the order and has a century and six fifties in Tests and five half centuries in ODIs.
Irfan, who was accompanied by his brother Yusuf at the event, is also keenly monitoring India's ongoing Test series against Australia despite not being a part of the squad.
"I am closely following the Australia series. I am a cricketer and apart from playing I love watching cricket. I hope India do well (in second Test). They will get more opportunities in Sydney," he said.
Asked about Sachin Tendulkar's elusive 100th international century, Irfan said, "A person who can make 99 centuries, can make 150 centuries also. I don't think he is feeling any pressure. It is us (the media and fans) who are creating the pressure."