Irfan Pathan went into details surrounding India’s Under-19 tour of Pakistan back in 2003, which proved to be the turning point of his career. Talking about the career-defining tour, Irfan said he was initially reluctant to make the trip to Pakistan since he preferred to play in the domestic Ranji Trophy.
However, Irfan was convinced to go alongside the U-19 squad following a discussion with his coach and mentor. The visit to Pakistan saw Irfan showcase tremendous performances as he picked up two hat-tricks and a total of nine wickets in Lahore. Soon after, he was called up to the national side.
“I didn’t want to come on that Pakistan tour. We had a match against Mumbai in Ranji Trophy. I told Shetty sir that it’s a match against Mumbai, I’m in good form. So if I perform against them then my name will definitely start doing the rounds” - Irfan recalled.
“But he said, no India is touring Pakistan for the first time in 14 years. You’ve played U19 before so you have to go.’ I went there disappointed, to be honest, but who knew what was in store for me” - he added.