KARACHI: When Mohammad Irfan first broke into international cricket, the seven foot tall fast bowler was greeted by a range of expectations. But despite a rocky start, the pacer has made a strong comeback and is eyeing to become the top ranked bowler in the world.
While initial excitement gave way to a number of analysis, ranging from experts dismissing him as too fragile to last, some though held onto the belief in the promise he presented, despite being a late entrant to international cricket.
His debut in England three years ago now seems a life time ago. But despite the turbulent initial spell, Irfan has made a strong comeback and proved himself in high pressure games against India.
Since then, the 31 year-old bowler has progressed in leaps and bounds, becoming one of the most successful pacers in a Pakistan's cricketing arsenal.
In the recently concluded Caribbean tour, where Pakistan won the ODI series 3-1 win and swept the two Twenty20 matches, Irfan was the second best bowler with nine scalps to his name. He was upstaged by compatriot Shahid Afridi, who snapped ten wickets.
Returning home, Irfan has shunned rest, and dived headfirst into the ongoing Ramazan Twenty20 in Karachi.
Irfan attributed his success to hard work, saying he was enjoying his current form to the full.
"I am enjoying a lot for the past few months," the fast bowler said in his first public speech after returning from the West Indies tour.
"The tour of West Indies was a tough challenge for me and I am satisfied with my overall performance."
Explaining the reason behind his success, Irfan said that being dropped from the team only made him work harder to make a comeback.
"I struggled a lot after being dropped from team following my debut. I was determined to make a comeback and after succeeding in it I am giving my heart out to perform for my team."
Irfan, currently ranked at 30 in the Reliance ODI bowler rankings, said he was targeting the top spot.
"I am targeting step by step. My initial aim is to reach the top ten bowlers after which I will vie for top two slots."
But the 7' 1" bowler knows success cannot come without hard work.
"However, rankings depend on performance and to perform well for my team is my greatest wish."
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