Thirty-year-old Irfan could have played a lot more than 29 Tests and 120 ODIs had it not been for sudden slump in form and subdsequent injuries that robbed away his natural ability to bowl the swinging delivery back into the right hander.
"There is little point in thinking about the past. What matters now is that I am fully fit and the focus is on completing the entire Ranji Trophy season. I know playing for India again is not far away. I still have good five to seven years of cricket left in me," Irfan told mediapersons after taking three wickets for Baroda against Railways in a Ranji Trophy match that ended here today.
It was his second match after being long time away from the game due to a knee injury. Pathan Junior had scored 98 besides three wickets in his comeback match against Uttar Pradesh.
Although injuries are a part and parcel of a sportsman's life, Irfan at times finds it painful when critics label a particular player as "injury-prone".
"It is unfortunate that we tend to label sportspersons who have been injured multiples times. But outside it is not the case. You look at Australia's Ryan Harris. He has been injured so many times and has still managed to make a comeback. So injuries are part and parcel of a sportsman's life," said Irfan.
How does he rate his performance in the first two games of the season?
"When I was making a comeback in the last match, I knew the more I would play the better I would get, both body wise and bowling wise. This match I had set the goal of doing even better. Most importantly, I was able to perform when the team needed."
Irfan bowled 31 overs in two innings against Uttar Pradesh and 23 overs in one against Railways.
"I feel my rhythm has been good. I am very close to bowling at my best. The best part about four-day cricket is that you dont's bowl a single spell.
"You bowl with the new ball when you are fresh and then at the end of the day may be with the old ball when one is tired. So variety of spells helps in working out a rhythm," said Irfan.

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