10Cric IPL

Hopefully I will get opportunity to play: Irfan Pathan

Irfan Pathan IPL"It feels like coming back from the dead," was how pacer Irfan Pathan described his return to Indian Premier League after he was left unsold at the auction earlier this year.

The left-arm medium-pacer, who played for Rising Pune Supergiant last season after stints with Chennai Super Kings, Delhi Daredevils, Kings XI Punjab and Sunrisers Hyderabad, was on Tuesday roped in by Gujarat Lions as a mid-season replacement for injured Dwayne Bravo for their remaining seven matches.

"Whether it is the halfway stage of the tournament or the fag end, it's a wonderful feeling to get picked. Hopefully I will get an opportunity and play well," said Pathan, who spent the enforced time away from cricket with his four-month-old son Imran.

"It's disappointing when you don't get picked," said Pathan, whose career has been dogged by a spate of injuries. To make matters worse, the 32-year-old hasn't been at his usual best.

Last season, Pathan, who was bought by Pune at his base price of Rs 1 crore, had figured only in four matches, scoring 11 runs and failing to pick up any wicket. He did not play a single match in 2015 despite Chennai Super Kings splurging Rs 1.5 crore on him while in 2014, bought for Rs 2.4 crore by Hyderabad, Pathan took only four wickets and scored 205 runs from 10 matches.

Looking back at his career, Pathan said the past has been a learning experience. "The best thing a sportsperson could do is to look ahead. You need to live in the present and not look back," said the left-hander. "I'm happy playing for Gujarat Lions," said the left-hander, who batted at the nets for an hour on the eve of the match against Royal Challengers Bangalore.

The 32-year-old all-rounder picked up five wickets in four games at an economy rate of 6.28 in the recently concluded Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy T20 tournament.

Pathan's last appearance in Tests for Team India was way back in 2008 against South Africa in Ahmedabad and never really enjoyed a full season thereafter due to injuries. However, he continued to play limited overs and T20 cricket till 2012.

"After 2012 I didn't get much opportunity due to injuries and things began to get worse," reminisced Pathan, who bagged the man of the match award (29 not out and 5-61) in his last ODI against Sri Lanka at Pallekele in 2012.

The all-rounder, who came in as a talented swing and seam bowler in 2003, was promoted to bat as high as No. 3 when Australia's Greg Chappell was the India coach. At that time, many felt that Chappell's experiments ruined Pathan's career. The Baroda player, however, said his downfall instead was a result of constant injuries. "I've been hearing a lot of stuff and a lot of people say Chappell ruined my career, it's not true. Unfortunately for me, when I got dropped from the team I got injured as well," he said.