Deepak Hooda Can Serve India And Do Well : Irfan Pathan
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Deepak Hooda Can Serve India And Do Well: Irfan Pathan

Deepak Hooda screengrab
Deepak Hooda screengrab

Deepak Hooda was hitting big sixes at will for Punjab Kings against Rajasthan Royals, for which his father Jagbir Hooda was finding it difficult to control his emotions. Father Jagbir Hooda was happy after his son returned from the ban by the state cricket association with a bang.

Jagbir Hooda knew what his son had gone through over the past six months. Deepak Hooda silenced his critics, who had left no stone unturned in maligning his reputation and barred him from playing cricket for the entire season, with a 28-ball 64 (6×6; 4×4).

Krunal Pandya and Deepak Hooda
Krunal Pandya and Deepak Hooda. (Photo Source: Getty Images and IPL/BCCI)

Deepak Hooda Was Facing A Tough Time As He Was Banned For A Season But Irfan Pathan And Yusuf Pathan Stepped In: Jagbir

The 25-year-old all-rounder was suspended for the season by Baroda cricket body after a spat with captain Krunal Pandya in January. It meant Deepak Hooda could not play the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy and the Vijay Hazare Trophy one-dayers.

“It was a very tough phase for Deepak. He was facing a tough time due to his teammates. Living in a bio-bubble ahead of a tournament and being away from family made things worse.

“He did raise his voice to the treatment he was meted out, but, unfortunately, was banned for a season. He was down and needed counseling and support,” said Jagbir from the Hooda house in Vadodara’s Manjalpur.

“That’s when Irfan Pathan and Yusuf Pathan stepped in. They looked after Deepak and were there for him at the nets. He missed playing for the state (Baroda),” said Jagbir, who worked in the administrative office of the Indian Air Force for 29 years for before taking a voluntary retirement five years ago.

Irfan Pathan with brother Yusuf Pathan.
Irfan Pathan with brother Yusuf Pathan.© Facebook
The Pathan brothers (Irfan Pathan and Yusuf Pathan) have been mentoring Deepak Hooda since he started playing age-specific cricket for Baroda. The former duo has been vocal about Deepak Hooda’s talent.

“The Pathan brothers provided Deepak the motivation and encouragement he required after he was suspended. He needed to be mentally strong as everyone was pointing fingers at him after the suspension. They would go to the Gujarat Police ground and the Moti Bagh ground and train for hours on both the red soil and black soil.

“He put all his energy into training. And then he knew he could make an impression in the IPL and show the world his talent. I am happy he played brilliantly against Rajasthan Royals,” said Jagbir.

Deepak Hooda hit a quickfire cameo of 64 off only 28 balls against Rajasthan. Last season, Deepak Hooda played seven games for Punjab Kings; as he was selected only after the team failed to win. In five innings he batted, he scored 101 runs with a strike rate of 149 and the highest score of 71.

Deepak Hooda Happy To Bat At No. 4 In Domestic Cricket

The right-handed Deepak Hooda had smashed a 30-ball unbeaten 62 against Chennai Super Kings in the last competitive game he played on November 1, 2020, in IPL 2020 at UAE.

“I was just reacting to the ball and showing aggressive intent in my batting. I got this role at No. 4 and I am happy as I bat at this position in domestic cricket,” said Deepak Hooda, who has pushed up the order ahead of Nicholas Pooran and has played for Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad.

Deepak Hooda played a season for Haryana before moving to Baroda in 2010 and made his first-class debut in 2014. In November 2017, he was in the India squad for the T20I series against Sri Lanka. In February 2018, he was named in India’s T20I squad for the 2018 Nidahas Trophy but did not play.

“He is a fine talent. He is someone who can serve India and do well. The kind of knock he played against Rajasthan Royals shows his mental strength and the manner he played fearless cricket definitely sets him apart from others.

“He used the middle overs well and hit the ball hard in the right spots. And the fact that he was promoted up the order provided him the chance to express himself,” said Irfan Pathan, who is the mentor-cum-coach of the Jammu & Kashmir team.

Kings XI Punjab bowler Arshdeep Singh (Photo| ANI)
Kings XI Punjab bowler Arshdeep Singh (Photo| ANI)

“He is a very fit cricketer. His yo-yo score usually touches 18. Much cricket is left in the tournament, more impactful knocks should be expected from him and I hope he gets to roll his arm and showcase his overall all-round skills.

“He knows he has missed out on a lot of cricket this season, I am sure he will be hungry for more,” said Irfan Pathan, who also praised Punjab Kings’ left-arm medium-pacer Arshdeep Singh for his brilliant last over.

Sanju Samson’s 119 went in vain as RR failed to chase down the stiff target of 222 in 20 overs at the Wankhede Stadium. Sanju Samson ended up on the losing side despite setting the record for the highest score by a player on captaincy debut.

Arshdeep Singh was PBKS’s best bowler as he took 3 wickets conceding 35 runs, including that of RR captain Sanju Samson, to tilt the match in Punjab Kings’ favour at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Monday.

Brief Scores: Punjab Kings 221/6 (KL Rahul 91, Deepak Hooda 64, Chetan Sakariya 3/31) beat Rajasthan Royals 217/7 (Sanju Samson 119, Riyan Parag 25, Arshdeep Singh 3/35) by 4 runs