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‘We are great hosts’: Irfan Pathan on Pakistan’s visit for ICC World Cup

ICC World Cup 2023: Former Team India star Irfan Pathan stated on Monday that his country is a fantastic host and never falls short in showing hospitality to anyone.

Irfan Pathan’s comments coincide with Pakistan’s reluctance to play on October 15 during the ICC World Cup 2023 at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. He is now in Zimbabwe to compete in the ten-over-per-side Zim Afro T10 cricket event.

“Our country is a great host. Wherever you go, no matter who you are, we never fall short of providing great hospitality to everyone,” said Pathan to ANI.

Talking about the India-Pakistan rivalry, the former star pacer said that it is an exciting time for cricket fans since they will get to see the arch-rivals play against each other in both the Asia Cup and the ICC World Cup 2023 this year.

“Shall I get on to the field? (to play against Pakistan) (laughs). To be very honest where ever India and Pakistan play it is exciting. They are playing in Asia Cup and then in World Cup. It is an exciting time for fans. The whole world will see. People talk about Ashes but there is nothing bigger than an India versus Pakistan contest. The non-Indian and non-Pakistani fans also see this match. So, everyone wants to see this match with a lot of enthusiasm and intensity and from that perspective I am really looking forward to it,” Irfan Pathan said.

When asked who will be India’s most important player at the ICC World Cup 2023, Irfan Pathan responded that it would depend on which players were fit enough to compete.

“It depends on how players make a return after injury, players like Jasprit Bumrah, Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant. I think the team’s batting is mostly dependent on Virat Kohli,” said Pathan.

While talking about the T10 cricket format, which is relatively new to cricket and has been used in leagues, Pathan said that it is very quick and that good decisions about playing or resting a player must be made quickly because there is not much time.

“It is a very fast format. Players just do not have time. You need to identify the right player, to whom to give the ball, pick the right player, who will be given more chances, who will be rested. You have to decide fast but yes it is a very exciting format. It is tough and challenging to play against these youngsters as we have retired and gone old,” said the all-rounder.

About his team Harare Hurricanes, which is led by England’s World Cup-winning skipper Eoin Morgan, Pathan said, “The atmosphere of my team is great. Our captain Eoin Morgan is good and he is a World Cup-winning captain. He knows how to handle a side and how to respect the seniors in the team in order to get the best out of them. We do not try not to complicate things. There is no room for any complications because it is such a short format.”

“We also came just two to three days before the start of the league. In fact, some players came here the day tournament started. So, you do not know what kind of form the players are in. So, it is challenging to get the output from them. But our support staff is very good. All of them have created a great atmosphere. Rest winning and losing is a part of the game. We lost the first game but came back to win the next two. We hope to carry the momentum forward,” concluded Pathan.

The inaugural Zim Afro T10 started on July 20 and will end on July 29.