Sourav Ganguly instilled the belief, Rahul Dravid gave me more opportunities: Irfan Pathan

NEW DELHI: former all terrain Irfan Pathan He believes he has had a great satisfying trip while playing for Team India in all formats, and adds that he owes everything to the game of Cricket for the person he is currently.

Pathan, 35, who last turned out for India in 2012, on Saturday announced his retirement from all forms of international & domestic Cricket . The left-hander finished with 2,821 runs & 301 wickets from 173 internationals across formats.

It has been a great and satisfying journey. You always want to improve, you always want to have more opportunities, you always want to make a difference in every game you play. But you won't succeed in every game, Irfan told IANS.

"I remember many ex- Cricket ers saying that you will have more bad days than good ones. But I think Cricket has made me the man I am," he added.

The left sailor made his debut in India against Australia in Adelaide Oval in 2003 when he was 19 years old. However, despite the lack of express pace, it bothered the batters with their ability to balance the ball in both directions, so it is often compared to the winning captain of the 1983 World Cup Kapil Dev.

In 2006, on the tour of Pakistan, Irfan became the second Indian after Harbhajan Singh to make a test hat-trick, eliminating Salman Butt, Younis Khan and Mohammad Yusuf in the first test of the test match held in Karachi .

He was also part of the victorious Indian team in World T20 2007 and was the Man of the Party in the final against Pakistan. He chose 3/16 in the final against Pakistan and played a crucial role as M.S. Dhoni’s men lifted the trophy.

Speaking of the moments he is proud of while playing for India, Irfan said: There are many. But win the World Cup (World T20) and be the Man of the Match in the final. These are the two moments that are very close to my heart.

Having played his last first-class game a year ago in the Ranji Trophy, the Cricket er-turned-commentator has a total of 4,559 first-class runs to go with 384 wickets.

Irfan played most of his international Cricket under Sourav Ganguly & Rahul Dravid . When asked to compare between the two, Irfan said it would be unfair on his part to compare two of the Indian legends as they both were outstanding leaders who contributed a lot towards Indian Cricket .

"Comparing both the captains would not be fine. Everyone knows that when Sourav Ganguly became the Indian captain, it was a very tough time for Indian Cricket . The way he managed was outstanding. He made us learn so many things including one of the most important things that we are no less than any other team.

" Rahul Dravid was a very good leader in terms of how he managed the juniors & seniors. The way he managed the youngsters was outstanding. Under him, I was given more opportunities in terms of batting up the order, bowling with the new ball," he expressed.

In 2007, the left-handed batsman also scored his maiden Test century while batting up the order against Pakistan in Bengaluru. In 2008, he starred with both bat & ball in Perth, making a valuable 46 from No.3 in the second innings, while claiming five wickets in the match, to be Player of the Match in what was one of the most famous wins for India on Australian soil.

However, injuries plagued his career, & his form & pace often suffered. While he was a part of the victorious Champions Trophy-winning side in 2013, he played his last match in India colours during the 2012 World T20.

Irfan also revealed that it was Sachin Tendulkar's idea to have him hit the order.

"It was Sachin Tendulkar's idea for me to bat up the order & not only Greg Chappell's idea. Batting was something which I always enjoyed. Lot of people think that I came to international Cricket & started batting suddenly.

But it didn't happen that way. I hit number three for Baroda U-16, beat the order in the Ranji Trophy. It was not as if the batting hindered my bowling, Irfan explained.

His downfall coincided with Chappell's stint as the India head coach with many people accusing the Australian of ruining Irfan's career. However, the former all-rounder refused to single out any person & felt it was an amalgamation of many factors which led to his slump in form, with both bat & ball.

There were many things, my injuries, I could say that sometimes also the bad management of the team administration. There are many things that can be blamed for my decrease in bowling. And you can only blame yourself if you haven't accomplished or done something right, he said.

Irfan, who was India's best bet as an all-terrain fast bowler during his game days, believes that Shivam Dube can give Hardik Pandya a tough competition in the near future.

"Hardik is a very talented Cricket er & so is Shivam Dube. Shivam Dube is young & will learn more given the opportunities. The good thing with Dube is the X-factor he has of being a left-hander. It always helps when he is batting because lots of teams have left-arm spinners & leg-spinners, so it becomes slightly easier if you are a left-handed batsman.

"They both are wonderful talents. Obviously, Hardik is more experienced. He has got better pace as a bowler & he is a wonderful fielder as well. The only thing that I will be watching for Hardik is how he manages his injuries. If he can handle himself & remain fit, he can obviously play for a long time," he added.

Pathan has been commentating for Star Sports over the past 24 months & is also working as a non-playing mentor for the Jammu & Kashmir outfit & those two for now seem to be his action plan in the near future.