Seamer Irfan Pathan says his chat with team mentor V V S laxman inspired him to produce a match-winning performance for Sunrisers Hyderabad in their Indian Premier League match against Mumbai Indians in Dubai. (MI vs SRH: As it happened)
It was Irfan who stopped the rampaging Keiron Pollard from turning the game in Mumbai's favour in the last over, returning with impressive fugures of 2/10 and securing a stunning win for his side. (MI's UAE nightmare ends with five-straight losses)
"I had a good chat with Laxman bhai before the game. He said, 'No matter what you do outside the park, you need that fire and aggression between the 22 yards; that's what counts'. That struck me. His words have always helped me out and they did again," the left-arm seamer said after the game on Wednesday.
He said this performance will inspire him to do better in the coming matches. "I didn't bowl much in the previous games and I thought I might not bowl against Mumbai. But then, Pollard got going and that gave me an opportunity to bowl. This performance is going to take me a long way in the tournament. Coming back from injury is never easy, but when you start giving performances like this, the process of regaining your rhythm gets faster," he was quoted as saying by IPL's official website.
Seeking to make a comeback to the national team, Irfan said he was all fired up ahead of the game against MI. "I am a bowler and I know what I am capable of doing. To be a bowler, you have to have that fire. If you don't have it, you might as well just go and bat. I understand that you must earn the trust of your captain and show that you are improving continuously."
Irfan was satisfied that his yorkers landed in the right areas during his crucial spell.
"There were a couple of people - Shikhar and Sammy - who wanted to tell me things and help me form plans. But I tried to keep my head clear. Then Steyn came to me and said, 'Whatever you do, just make sure you focus all your energy in that'.
"Also, after Steyn bowled the 18th over, Shikhar told me I will be bowling the final over. That gave me the time to get prepared mentally. I decided to go with a clear plan of bowling the best yorkers I could and leave the rest to the batsman. Fortunately, most of the balls pitched nearly there and thereabout."
With Mumbai needing 20 runs in the final over, Irfan said getting Pollard out first ball made it much easier for him. "They needed 20 runs from the last over, but guys like Pollard need just three balls to get 18 runs. Getting him out the first ball made the remaining five balls much easier. However, they could win it with a couple of sixes and fours and so I knew it wasn't finished. But yes, with Pollard's wicket, I thought the job was half done."