Irfan Pathan, the former India allrounder, has taken up a new role, that of player-cum-mentor of the Jammu & Kashmir side for the 2018-2019 domestic season. The 33-year-old has played for Baroda right through his Ranji Trophy career, but was dropped and removed as captain after two matches of the 2017-18 domestic season, in which he took two wickets and scored 88 runs.
“I will play and mentor the J&K Ranji team, but will also travel to districts in a bid to unearth more talent.” Irfan told ESPNcricinfo after his appointment. “I hope to make it count and bring out the best of talent in the valley. We are having talks to organise small tournaments across the districts in April and May and want these cricketers to play not only for J&K, but also in Tests. I will mainly be with the Ranji team, but will also advise the youngsters in the cricket board’s set-up.”
Irfan also said he had been eyeing a player-mentor role at Baroda – where he spent 18 years – but chose to pursue other states after there were no such opportunities available with the Baroda Cricket Associaton (BCA).
“As an organisation, BCA has given me everything,” Irfan had told Sportstar. “Irfan became Irfan because of the association, but things were going out of hand. There were different yardsticks for different players,” he said. “I didn’t want to play just as a cricketer, and wanted to play the mentor role, too, but I was restricted. It’s better to leave without any animosity.”
Irfan last represented India at the World T20 in Sri Lanka in 2012. At the IPL, he went unsold at the 2017 and 2018 auctions and last played top-level cricket in October 2017.
J&K finished fourth in Group B of the Ranji Trophy last season, losing four of their six matches.