As IPL 2021 is almost at the doorsteps, questions about icons of the shortest format of the game are already doing vehement rounds. When we talk about IPL icons, Yusuf Pathan is a mandatory name that can never be dropped. However, there were questions that why exactly the man from Baroda is not a part of IPL 2021. There is a strong reason for the same.
The 38-year old was seen sweating out at Moti Baug and the two siblings training together was a spectacle to relish. Unfortunately, Yusuf Pathan couldn’t make the cut for Baroda’s Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy team and he was also left out for the Vijay Harare Trophy. This axe compelled him to think otherwise.
He quoted in an interview with the Sportstar, “I have had offers from various franchise leagues across the globe for the last couple of years. But I kept putting them on hold, thinking that I would play another season and then sign off. It was not an easy decision, but I spoke to my family (brother Irfan), Sachin paaji (Tendulkar) and Gautam (Gambhir) and decided that this is the right time to stop.”
He also said, “As a cricketer, certain things definitely hurt you. You may have a certain plan, which doesn’t work out. There are times when you get support from the association, at times you don’t. That’s alright. I do not have any regrets. I must thank the Baroda Cricket Association (BCA) for all their help throughout my career. I had anyway made up my mind that this will be the last domestic season. In life, all good things have to come to an end.”
Yusuf is extremely interested to start his second innings as that will entail travelling the world. He also said, “Every time Irfan and I would talk, we would discuss the future and wonder what would be our next step? It’s not that I will leave the game after retirement, I will continue playing. Wherever there will be an opportunity, I would like to play there and I am sure my vast experience will be useful.”
The man who once held the record for being the fastest centurion of IPL once, stated, “I will be honest, it was not easy. Last year, I was not picked in the IPL auction and this year, I did not register for the auction because by then, I had already made up my mind. It was definitely a difficult call – there were many sleepless nights. I kept asking myself whether it was the right call? But then, Irfan, my family members and former colleagues helped me immensely to take a decision.”
He concluded by saying, “If anyone needs my service, I will always be available. I will be happy to help the BCA. I would like to help out the young cricketers in whatever way I can. Irfan was with the Jammu and Kashmir team for two seasons, where he played a key role in bringing out young talents. Given an opportunity, even I would like to do a similar thing.”
He also talked about how winning the World Cup meant so much to him. He cited, “By then, Irfan was already playing for the country. He was my senior in the team. It has been an incredible journey with the national side – my first century against New Zealand, winning the World Cup titles. It was a dream come true to play alongside Sachin paaji. A great feeling to share the dressing room with him and also play a part in winning the World Cup…”
He concluded it all by saying, “I will always cherish those moments. A chapter ends today and a new chapter will begin soon and I am looking forward to that. I am grateful to all my fans, who have supported me throughout. There is still a long way to go, and I hope they continue to support us”. He added, “Phir milte hain, break ke baad!”