‘2 Years Ago Even He Was Not Sure About His International Debut’, Irfan Pathan Showers Praise For This Hard-Hitter

WT20 winner Indian allrounder Irfan Pathan is proud of Deepak Hooda and how he utilised the limited opportunities in the national team. He excelled in every situation where he was given the chance. He recently recorded his first international century during the Ireland T20Is. He carried the momentum to England, replacing Virat Kohli as the third batsman, and came through with a quick-fire knock.

For Hooda, consistency has been the key, making him an essential component of India’s strategy. His bowling skills were put to the test during the current ODIs in the West Indies, so it’s no surprise that he performed exceedingly well. He returned 1/42 in 9 overs during the second match on Sunday, keeping a respectable economy rate of 4.70. Except for a few notable IPL performances, Hooda had not really become well-known until a year ago. For Hooda, a lot happened behind the scenes, unnoticed by the media. He worked long and hard to earn a spot on the National Cricket Team, and while there, former Indian all-rounder Irfan Pathan served as a rock-solid support system.

Pathan praised Hooda for maturing and called him a late bloomer. He has supported the young all-rounder to have many successful years at the international level while pointing out the possibilities of Hooda performing brilliantly for India in the next years.

“Two years ago, Hooda himself wondered if the India cap would come. Today, he is a shining example of someone who has proved if you accept your shortcomings and make a conscious effort in working on them, that’s half the battle won. I am excited about what he can possibly offer to the Indian team. He’s just 27. If he offers India six-seven good years, he has the potential to achieve a lot more,” Pathan told ESPNCricinfo.

He went on to describe how he closely worked with Hooda to close gaps. His techniques were improved by the support, which also helped him feel more confident.

“His off-side play was a bit of a hindrance. He needed to keep his hands relaxed and not a jab. His hands needed to be more fluid. And when he started playing with loose hands, he could access different parts of the ring. We also adjusted his stance, depending on the format. He worked on using the crease to maximize scoring opportunities in different areas, hitting boundaries along the ground by finding gaps – we simulated all of this,” Pathan concluded.

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