After replacing injured Vinay Kumar in the Indian squad, Irfan Pathan puts his County plans on hold

Only two days ago, Irfan Pathan was on the phone with his agent, desperately on the lookout for a County team that could do with his services. The all-rounder had been left out of the Indian squad for the limited-overs tour to Sri Lanka with the selectors preferring to go with a specialist theme. And with the cricket season in India still a month away from commencement, England was the only viable option for Pathan, says a report in The Indian Express.

But he can now put his County plans to rest after the left-armer was announced as a replacement for injured medium-pacer R Vinay Kumar — out with a hamstring pull — on Friday evening. According to Pathan, he couldn’t hold back his delight when he received the phone-call from the BCCI asking him to report to Chennai on July 15 for the pre-tour camp. “It was like a breath of fresh air. I was disappointed when I didn’t see my name in the squad for Sri Lanka. I was training at the National Cricket Academy for the tour. I was expecting a call but I don’t mind it coming late like this. Now, I’m pretty sure that I will do well this season and Sri Lanka will be a new beginning,” Pathan told The Indian Express.

Meanwhile The Times Of India report says that fast bowler Irfan Pathan has replaced injured Vinay Kumar in India's squad for the upcoming series of limited-overs matches in Sri Lanka, the country's cricket board announced on Friday.

"Vinay Kumar suffered a Grade I right hamstring injury while training. He will hence not be available for the forthcoming tour of Sri Lanka," the Board of Control for Cricket in India ( BCCI) said in a statement.

"The selection committee has named Irfan Pathan as his replacement in the Indian squad." Left-arm paceman Pathan has so far bagged 165 wickets in 115 one-day internationals.

Meanwhile Hindustan Times reports that India would want to forget their injury-plagued last season, but Vinay Kumar’s sudden breakdown doesn’t augur well as the team assembles in Chennai for the Sri Lanka series, which starts from July 21. Irfan Pathan, whose name was missing from the initial squad for the series, was included in the 15-member squad on Friday.

“For him, it has been a roller-coaster ride. At a time when it seemed he was becoming a regular in the limited-overs squad, after his recall late last year, came the latest disappointment. However, as the India team was assembling for a preparatory camp in Chennai, luck smiled on him when Vinay Kumar was ruled out with a hamstring injury. Promising pacer Varun Aaron is already out with a back problem,” says the report.

But does being the second choice make him insecure? “Well, all I can say is that it is important for me to build on this opportunity. I want to make a mark and stay in there,” he said, adding, “I am happy with what I’ve done. No doubt as a bowler, I’d want to bowl well in challenging situations, with the new ball and also in the death overs and win matches for India. But at the moment, I am looking at this as an opportunity. So I’ll have to do whatever I am assigned by my skipper.” Virender Sehwag, his skipper at the Delhi Daredevils, had assigned a different role for him — bowling in the middle overs.