Released by the Kings XI Punjab franchise during the IPL off-season and subsequently bought by Delhi for a hefty 1.9 million US dollars at January’s player auction, Irfan Pathan has struggled to justify his hefty price tag in the 2011 Indian Premier League thus far.
80 runs from nine innings and six wickets at an average of 42.16 and 7.47 economy-rate isn’t the greatest reading for the 26-year-old Pathan. The Daredevils all-rounder, however, is hoping to gradually turn his substandard form around, starting with Saturday’s encounter against the Mumbai Indians.
“I am happy with the way I have bowled, while I would’ve hoped for my batting to be better at this stage. My form is there and thereabouts. I am happy with my progress,” insisted Pathan.
Currently seventh in the 10-team standings, Delhi head into the weekend’s clash at the Wankhede Stadium desperately needing a win to stay in the hunt for a semi-final berth.
While a four-wicket triumph over the Deccan Chargers earlier in the week boosted their chances of graduating to the tournament’s last four teams, six prior defeats, including an eight-wicket thrashing at the hands of Mumbai, leave Pathan and company with a daunting mission against Sachin Tendulkar’s table-topping troops.
“We have a good team, but haven’t done well. We’ve had a couple of close games, but we ended up losing them. We have to keep faith and start winning consistently,” added Irfan.
Mumbai fielding coach Jonty Rhodes, meanwhile, has rallied behind his team to continue the impressive catching and ground work that has seen them fetch seven wins from nine matches this year.
“We have certainly put in some great performances so far, and we have approached it in a professional manner,” Rhodes told the Mumbai Indians’ official website.
“The guys have been awesome in the field. I think we will keep getting better as the tournament progresses. It is interesting, because fielding these days gives considerable recognition. In the team meetings, fielding was not even a big topic of discussion some years back.
“But now there is a lot of emphasis given to fielding.” Cricket365