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Mindset matters & nothing is impossible: Yusuf Pathan
- ‘KKR don’t depend on one or two players’

Yusuf Pathan, in the city, on Sunday. A Telegraph picture

Calcutta: Just 22 deliveries for 72 and Yusuf Pathan has become the toast of the city.

Having delivered at a defining moment in IPL VII, Yusuf has placed himself on a par with consistent headline-makers Robin Uthappa and Sunil Narine, teammates in the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR).

On Sunday afternoon, Yusuf spoke to The Telegraph for around 15 minutes over the phone.

Excerpts...

Emotions...

Khush hoon... The happiness is on two counts... That I helped KKR finish in the top-two and that I produced an innings that was required at that point in time.

Significance of playing Qualifier 1 in Calcutta...

Great for us and great for the fans... We owed it to them. Itna pyaar jo yahan milta hai. We’ve kept our Eden Gardens reputation intact.

Celebrations...

Bhai (younger brother Irfan) saath tha, so there was some gup-shup. With the Sunrisers Hyderabad out of the IPL, we won’t be seeing each other for some days now. As you know, Bhai and I are very close.

Mood in the Pathan family...

My parents (Mehmood Khan, Shamim Bano) are absolutely delighted... They follow what Bhai and I do and they’re praying that KKR again wins the IPL. Dua maang rahen hain. Quite like millions of our fans.

Reaction of wife Afreen...

(Laughs) She’s happy, but she’s not a big one for cricket, so we don’t really talk about the game. In any case, she’s busy with our new-born, Ayaan.

If principal owner Shah Rukh Khan has spoken to him...

Not till now (3.45 pm)... Shah Rukh’s coming on Tuesday, so baat karne ka mauka milega.

Whether he’d been in an agitated frame of mind during the course of his blinder...

Not at all. I was absolutely aware of what was going on... I was noting the changes in the field, seeing the gaps. I was focused, not angry... The captain (Gautam Gambhir) gave me the freedom to go after the bowling and that’s what I did.

His mindset...

Positive, aggressive... Humko 15.2 overs mein jeetna tha, that equation was always at the back of my mind. Even if we’d lost, we wouldn’t have gone below the third position, so that made it easier. I had the freedom to play the way I wanted. By God’s grace, it worked.

If he was aware of having beaten Adam Gilchrist’s record of the fastest fifty (off 17 deliveries) in the IPL...

No, that I got to know later. I don’t play for records, but according to the situation. Nobody, in fact, plays for records. Woh alag baat hai ki mera fifty 15 deliveries mein ban gaya.

Getting two lives...

That can happen... When catches get dropped, you need to make the most of the opportunities. I had to get on with the job, where was the time to think about anything else?

Point proved...

My innings wasn’t about proving any point... I’ve shown that the mindset matters and nothing is impossible... You have to be clear about the path you’re taking.

Captain Gambhir’s role...

It makes a huge difference if the captain backs his players... Gautam thinks of the eam first, thinks of his players... He gives confidence, jo bahut hi zaroori hai. Of course, he has expectations from every player. That’s how it should be.

KKR’s performance this season...

Losing four matches in a row was tough, but we’ve fought our way back... KKR don’t depend on one or two players, which is why we’re doing well... We’re bonding and playing as a unit.

Pressure after his blazing innings...

(Confidently) Koi extra pressure nahin lena hai... I’ll play according to the role assigned by the team. Obviously, we’ll be looking to beat the Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) and directly qualify for the final. Agar kuch upar neeche hua, then we’ll get another chance, in Qualifier 2.

His take on KXIP...

That they’ve finished No.1 means they have something in them... Kuch toh definitely hai, but we’ll be playing to our strengths and not worrying about what they can do. A lot of things have worked for us and, so, we don’t need to change our approach.

Both brothers eyeing an India comeback...

The one who plays better will get the call-up first... Also, the requirement of the Indian team will influence the selectors’ decision. Both Bhai and I have done well in the 2013-14 season, so let’s see. Naseeb ki bhi baat hai.

[While Irfan hasn’t played for India in any format since October 2012, Yusuf’s been out of favour for a shade over two years.]

Lastly... What it takes to succeed in T20...

Most important is backing yourself and being strong in the mind. You need a goal and, in trying to realise that, you’ve got to express yourself on the field. Success isn’t guaranteed, but if you follow the process, tab aapka chance improve hota hai.