‘My job was different’
"People talk about my performance, but my job was different. I was given job to contain because I was bowling first change. I had been told this is your job. I remember getting dropped after winning the game in Sri Lanka in 2008, who gets dropped after winning the game for the country without any reason?" he questioned.
Pathan featured in 29 Tests (1105 runs and 100 wickets), 120 ODIs (1544 runs and 173 wickets) and 24 T20 Internationals (172 runs and 28 wickets). Many former players feel he could have played for much longer. Form and injury issues prevented him from realising his true potential. After the 2008 IPL, questions were raised over Pathan's willingness to play all three formats.
‘Wanted to play all formats’
Pathan, however, asserted that it was never the case. "Yes, I always wanted to play all three formats. In 2009-2010, I had a back injury, and I was struggling to go to Mumbai, Ahmedabad, in Bangalore to check my back. I used to go through the scan, which is not good for your body, but I used to go through that and have different kinds of scans to actually know what is exactly happening with my back.
"Unfortunately we didn't have those kind of machines at that time which (would) make clear that why I am getting back pain. It eventually turned out to be five fractures, disc prolapse and a crack. I was struggling for two years with a back injury and that back injury kept going (getting) worse, but I didn't stop playing Ranji trophy."
‘Kept pushing myself’
Pathan said despite all the challenges he kept pushing himself. "My speed went down during that time because I was not fully fit. I just kept pushing myself. It was because for the love of the game and the red ball moving away from my hand.
"I was leading Baroda side as well in Ranji Trophy. If that was the case, why would a player, who was well settled in IPL, well settled in ODIs, play nine-day cricket in 10-days (Champions League, three day game versus England and Ranji match against Karnataka)? I scored 100 in the game and bowled 25 overs.
"Why should I do that? I love playing for the country and wanted to make a comeback to Test cricket," he said.
Pathan lauds Ganguly, Dravid, Kumble
He also praised his former captains Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid and Anil Kumble. "When I came into the Indian team, Ganguly knew I could do well with the new ball in Australia. He eventually gave me the confidence. I think that was the start," he said.
"When Dravid became the captain, he utilised my potential one step ahead. (He) used me higher in the batting order (when) besides bowling with the new ball," he said.
"Anil bhai was the kind of senior I was lucky to have alongside Sachin paaji (Tendulkar), who always gave me the right advice. His leadership was outstanding. He is matured in handling tough situations and he showed that during the Monkeygate episode," he signed off.