Irfan wants to win World Cup for Pakistan

Pakistani fast bowler Mohammad Irfan listens to a reporter's question at Qaddafi Stadium in Lahore Tuesday.

Pakistani fast bowler Mohammad Irfan listens to a reporter’s question at Qaddafi Stadium in Lahore Tuesday.

LAHORE — The world’s tallest cricketer Mohammad Irfan Tuesday said he could win next year’s World Cup for Pakistan single-handedly after regaining full fitness from a hip bone injury which had sidelined him for six months.

Irfan, who is seven-feet and one-inch (2.16 meters) tall, was speaking at a training camp in the eastern city of Lahore following his long lay-off.

“I am feeling good fitness and of course the target is to win the World Cup for Pakistan,” said Irfan, who turns 32 Friday.

“It’s a big event, every player feels honored to play it. In Australia pitches are very bouncy and are suitable for me and obviously I got a height factor and I can do well.

“If I managed to sustain my 100 per cent fitness I can win everything all alone, single-handedly,” he added.

The lanky paceman was injured during the Twenty20 series against South Africa in November last year in Dubai, missing Pakistan’s series against Sri Lanka, tour to South Africa, Asia Cup and the World Twenty20.

Irfan said it was disappointing to miss six months of cricket, but said he would strive to avoid further injuries.

“I am working so hard on my fitness and I am ensuring this time that I should go (a) long way,” he said.

Irfan broke into the national team in 2010 at the relatively late age of 28 but has so far played just four Tests, 27 One-Day Internationals and seven T20.

“I know I have to manage my workload and playing Tests is an added pressure hence I decided to play T20 and one-dayers only. I have to get myself tied up for a longer run this time and will ensure that I won’t get dropped.”

The selectors are not likely to take a chance on Irfan for their August tour of Sri Lanka, with the all-important series against Australia in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in October-November a more realistic target for a comeback.

Pakistan then plays New Zealand in the UAE, and tour New Zealand for a short limited over series before the World Cup in 2015.

Irfan took part in a month-long training camp in Lahore, and camp leader Mohammad Akram indicated that the tall fast bowler could make an international comeback in the series against Australia in October.

Last week, former Pakistan seamer Sarfraz Nawaz also visited the training camp and advised Irfan to focus on limited-over matches instead of Tests to maintain his fitness.

Without Irfan, Pakistan struggled in Bangladesh this year when it failed to retain the Asia Cup title and was knocked out in the group stages of the World Twenty20. — Agencies





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