HYDERABAD: “How is playing in Baroda? How is playing with seniors like Irfan Pathan in Baroda?” Irfan Pathan asks Deepak Hooda jokingly. The question could be treated as a reference to the early days of the 2017-18 domestic season, when the former Indian bowler was dropped from the Baroda squad after captaining the side in the first two Ranji Trophy matches.
In what seemed to be a dig aimed at the Baroda Cricket Association (BCA) officials, Pathan after his ouster — tweeted on October 29: “Not wishing Good Morning & not being a YES man to ur boss can go against u…but don’t bother,keep doing ur work #keepfighting #keeptrying” While Pathan did not feature in any Baroda games for the rest of the season, Hooda captained the team.
Then there were reports of the southpaw being approached by the J&K Cricket Association for the role of a player-cum-mentor for the next season. On asked if any deal has been finalised, he replied: “I have had a meeting with them but nothing has been finalised yet. There is not much I can talk about that now. If that happens, it is a great time for me going ahead.”
The duo, along with Aakash Chopra, were on the same platform in a city school on Wednesday as part of the ‘Game Plan In Your City’ initiative by Star Sports for VIVO IPL 2018.
With negligible domestic performances, it was not earth-shattering that his name did not even come up for bidding in the IPL auctions, something the player agrees with. “I have not played first-class cricket this season, courtesy whatever happened in Baroda cricket. If I was the owner of an IPL team, I would not have picked myself. Now, I want to be in an environment where I can enjoy my cricket. Things can change then. This year, I was expecting whatever happened at the auctions.”
“Whatever is said and done. You always think there is a slim chance. I am going to prepare well for the next season, be it training or other stuff. I will go where my cricket takes me,” said the player, adding that he will “one way or the other” be associated with this year’s Indian Premier League.