Yusuf will return to Indian team soon: Irfan

Mumbai: Big-hitting all-rounder Yusuf Pathan, omitted from the squad for the ongoing Asia Cup in Sri Lanka, on Thursday got the backing of his younger brother Irfan who said his elder sibling will return to the Indian team sooner than later.

"We are not disappointed (over Yusuf`s omission). A player of his caliber will return to the Indian squad soon," Irfan said.

Irfan said his brother was an asset in the Indian team as he gives the final flourish while batting with his big hits and also chips in with right-arm off-spin.

"Yusuf may not have made too many big scores but he has a different role (to play) in the team. He bats at number seven where he does not get too many opportunities to score big. His role is to score faster and provide a flourish towards the end and his strike rate is always at the higher end," Irfan said.

"Besides, he also bowls. He is an asset for whichever team he plays for," said the 25-year-old Irfan at the sidelines of a promotional programme for sportswear brand Reebok.

Irfan also rubbished suggestions that Yusuf was unable to produce the kind of form he has shown in domestic cricket and the IPL while representing the country, saying his brother did not get enough chance to score while playing for the national side as he batted lower down the order.

"In Duleep Trophy, which is a four-day game, and in the IPL, Yusuf bats at number four or five. His role there is different as compared to his role in the national team where he bats at number seven," Irfan said.

"You will see that people batting in the top-three or four are the ones who have scored the most number of centuries," he added.

Irfan said it was also a wrong assumption that his brother was susceptible to short-pitched deliveries.

"In India, people tend to create a statement very soon. Yusuf is a wonderful player. It does not matter if he gets out to a bouncer once or twice if you play a shot well," he said.

"If you get out while playing a defensive shot twice or thrice you won`t stop playing that shot, will you? Whenever Yusuf has got out to a bouncer he has been caught in the deep which means he is connecting well," he added.

Asked whether he and Yusuf have any role models in cricket, Irfan said, "Definitely, we would want to replicate the Waugh brothers (Steve and Mark)."

He refused to comment on reports that they were planning to quit Baroda and join Gujarat in domestic cricket.

"I won`t comment on that. With time everything will be on the cards," he remarked.



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