Fit-again and raring to go after making a comeback to the Indian cricket squad for next month's Champions Trophy in England, pacer Irfan Pathan says he would aim to be his captain's "go-to bowler" in tough situations.
"...bowling in the right areas is of prime concern. That will be my focus in the games to come. I also want to take up more and more responsibility. I want to bowl at a lot of tough situations and I want to make sure that I am the go-to bowler for the captain," Pathan, who is currently plying his trade in the IPL for the Delhi Daredevils, told the event's official website.
Pathan said he is fit after recovering from a knee injury.
"A lot of people were talking about my comeback, but most people forget that my last ODI before I left due to an injury was a man-of-the-match performance.
"I had taken a fiver in India's victory against Sri Lanka in 2012 and I will take a lot of confidence from that performance. People have a very short memory, but I was always confident that I would get into the ODI squad for India," he asserted.
Asked if the bowler-friendly pitches in England would enhance his performance, Pathan said they would definitely help.
"Any bowler would love to go and bowl in England where the wickets are friendly for the fast bowlers. But it is easier said than done. One has to make sure that you bowl in the right areas, make sure you 'bowl' well rather than just releasing the ball from your hand," he explained.
"The conditions are better than what we play here in India and I am looking forward to bowling there. I hope for success not only for myself but for the team as well," he said.
India's pace attack also comprises Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Vinay Kumar but Pathan does not feel that getting into the playing XI would be a problem for him despite the presence of so many options.
"I know it will depend on the team combinations at the end of the day. My job is to go out there and make sure that I enjoy my bowling. My mission is to do well in the tournament. I will start working towards it from the moment we land there in England.
"I want to make the most of whatever preparations we get there and be completely ready before ball one of the match."
He has been in and out of the national side for some time but Pathan said he has always been confident about his abilities.
"I have struggled a lot. I have worked really hard on my fitness and my game. I believe my hard work will not go wasted. I have tremendous self belief that I am only going to get better from here. I feel, the next few years are going to be my years in cricket.
"Coming back from injury is not easy and I feel the IPL was the right platform to get match fit. In the IPL I get matches under my belt. When you have matches under your belt, you are going to be fit and running, which will augur me well for the Champions Trophy," Pathan said.
Excited he might be about the Champions Trophy selection but Pathan said he is also focussed on completing his IPL stint successfully.
"When I got to know that I was selected in the 15, I was happy from within and excited to be a part of the ODIs. Every time I wear that color on my chest, I have a sense of pride in me that I am playing for the country.
"I am really looking forward to playing in the Champions Trophy. At the moment I would love to finish the IPL on a high as well," he said.