Irfan Pathan, who is all set to make his debut on the big screen with the upcoming Tamil film Cobra, is back to India after completing another schedule in Russia. In a chat with us, he opens up about the challenges of shooting in extreme weather conditions, his elder brother Yusuf’s retirement, the noise around the quality of the pitches for the India-England test series and more. Excerpts:
‘It was minus 20 degree Celsius at Saint Petersburg during the shoot’
I have been to Kashmir and many other destinations during winter, but I have never been to a colder place than Saint Petersburg. It was minus 20 degree Celsius during the shoot and the moment I took off my headscarf, my ears went red and I started shivering. It was absolutely crazy but thankfully, there were a couple of scenes where I had to run and that made me feel better. I also spotted a river that was entirely covered in snow. I even slipped on the snow once but overall, I enjoyed the entire experience. I was there with my family for a week and Imran (his son) loved snowboarding. Safa (his wife) bought a snowball maker for Imran and he was making snowballs everywhere! I thoroughly enjoyed the trip and although most of the local people we worked with had already been vaccinated, we still took utmost precautions on the sets. We also did a bit of shopping and bought snow pants and snow boots.
‘My first priority will always be cricket’ Even though I have retired from the game, my first priority will always be cricket. I love doing commentary and helping out junior cricketers whenever I can. I have got offers to do Malayalam and Telugu films also, but I first want to finish my ongoing project and see how the audiences respond. If the feedback is good and I get time after my other commitments to cricket, I am open to doing more movies.
‘We celebrated Safa’s birthday at the airport’
We were travelling on Safa’s birthday and so, we had to celebrate it at the airport lounge. I told her that I was going to the washroom and quickly went and bought a nice gift for her. I also ordered a cake and we had a memorable celebration. I am lucky to be married to a person like her. You have to work on your marriage on a daily basis and over the years, our bond has only grown stronger. We love looking after each other.
‘Yusuf has always looked after me like a baby’
When I look back at Yusuf’s career, I feel extremely proud of what he has achieved for India and even in franchise cricket. The number of man-of-the-match awards that he has won in his career is not a joke. I made my debut for India much before him and he embraced that situation really gracefully. He has always looked after me like a baby and that has never changed. In India, you know how a lot of people react if the younger brother achieves something before his elder brother. A lot of people would say, “ Chhota bhai toh Indian team mein aa gaya, bada bhai kab aayega?” It’s a difficult situation for anyone but he never bothered about what people had to say and kept working hard on his game. Today, the results are there for everyone to see. When we look at the number of trophies at home, which includes two World Cups, both of us feel happy about our cricket careers.
‘I am in favour of teams having home advantage’
I have been reading about the criticism of the pitches on offer for the India-England test series. I am in favour of teams having home advantage. After all, you can’t play at neutral venues all the time, isn’t it? The Indian team has never cribbed about the pitches while playing abroad and given the kind of team we have right now, we can win in any country, like we showed in Australia. Having said that, I would like to see test matches lasting for at least three to four days.