Mumbai: Irfan Pathan, who helped Baroda to clinch the Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy with a fine allround display, said he wanted to play in the final as he had not batted for a month even though he featured for India in the tri-series in Australia and Asia Cup in Bangladesh.
The 27-year-old all rounder had not batted in his last four appearances for India in ODIs in the last tri-series tie in Australia against Sri Lanka and the three games in the Asia Cup in Dhaka. But today Irfan hit a crucial 36 not out in 23 balls to help Baroda post a competitive 149 for 6 after they were struggling at 91 for 5 at the Brabourne Stadium and the allrounder said he was happy with his effort.
"I am really happy with the performance, the way I batted as well. I have not batted for the last one month, in terms of the matches` point of view. In Australia, I got chance to bat, but in Bangladesh I couldn`t bat," said Pathan, who hit five fours and a six off the last ball.
"At the start, when I went in, I was a bit hesitant. I was not that fluent, still it was not too bad, the nervousness was there. But eventually the shots came out, and I could help the team push the total to 150. God has been really kind," said the all-rounder. Irfan, whose career has been tripped because of injuries, last batted for India against Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground on February 26, when he made 22 off 25 balls in a paltry team total of 165 all out chasing the hosts` 252.
The Baroda player, who has also opened for the country in his career and has a Test hat-trick to his name against arch-rivals Pakistan in 2006 at Karachi, said he was quite pleased with his bowling stint too that fetched him two wickets for 24 runs.
"In bowling also I am really happy, especially the last two overs, the way I actually bowled the length that I needed to bowl at the death overs. Especially those Yorkers came out really well. The ball was doing a little bit. That helped also, at the same time, am pretty confident especially after the game. It was needed in terms of my personal point view, feeling good," Irfan said.
Irfan, who arrived here yesterday in time for the final, said he did not want to miss the chance of playing in a final of a domestic tourney, only his third in his more than decade-long career.
"I was talking to someone yesterday that the final game of domestic cricket is not going to happen every year. I have been playing domestic cricket for 13 years and this is my third final. You need to make the most out of it. It was a wonderful game.
"I told the boys to enjoy it. Whatever happens at the end of the day, no matter whatever the result, we did so well, anything could have gone anywhere, like Punjab could have won it as well in the last over. It was such a good game. "On the personal front, I am really happy, as I wanted to come here and make sure that I hit my areas rather than thinking about the results, as what I am thinking for the last six months. I wanted to make sure that I only concentrate on the process, that`s what I tried to do. I had a good session in the morning, had a good long session yesterday, Irfan said. Irfan said he was mentally prepared to do everything to get better for international cricket.
"I wanted to make sure that whatever things I need to get better for international cricket, whatever it requires, I needed to get better, be it a flat pitch or pitch that is helping the seamers, I am ready for everything. That is why playing every match is very important. Being a final, obviously it is a top level game in terms of domestic cricket, he said.
Irfan said he was keen to play matches than confined to practising in the nets and as a bowler he was keen to be in rhythm by playing and not resting.