Deepak Hooda opened up on his equation with the Pathan brothers – Yusuf Pathan and Irfan Pathan and how the duo taught him to remain calm when he was restless during the initial phase of his career. Hooda got a surprise call-up in India’s ODI squad for three-match series against West Indies. The all-rounder earlier was part of India’s squad for the Nidhas Trophy 2018 but he didn’t get the chance to make his international debut there.
Hooda revealed he asked Irfan why wasn’t he getting his chances to play for India? to which the former all-rounder replies his time will come.
“People wondered and doubts crept in pretty often, but Irfan bhai always told me one line, ‘Apna time aayega’,” Hooda told The Indian Express.
The 26-year-old said that he is very close to the Pathan brothers who made him realise the power of calmness as his relentless nature in the initial days was hampering the game.
“I slowly got close to Irfan bhai and Yusuf (Pathan) bhai. They taught me to be calm, they made me realise the power of calmness. As a youngster it was natural to be restless and I was no exception. It was hampering my game. At times, I tried too hard. Tried to overdo things that weren’t needed,” he added.
Hooda was the second-highest run-scorer in Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2021 with 294 runs in 6 matches at an average of 73.50.
The 26-year-old also recalled how Irfan taught him the importance of preparation and process which helped him in maintaining a good work ethic.
“I remember Irfan bhai telling me the importance of preparation and process. Doing the same thing over and over again, without expecting anything from anyone. So, be it the gym sessions, training at the nets and following a strict diet; I always maintained a good work ethic. It paid off,” he said.
Last year, Hooda parted ways with Baroda after an off-field spat with captain Krunal Pandya and he started playing for Rajasthan in the domestic circuit. The move worked well for Hooda as he worked hard to cement his place in the Rajasthan set-up.
“I saw the ups and downs and then everyone knows what happened in Baroda. I moved to another state last year. It was a new journey but Rajasthan welcomed me. All the hard work has paid off. I didn’t get an answer initially, why I was picked and why I was dropped. It was a challenging time. I wanted to know why I was not picked. I became desperate, desperate to be picked again and just wanted to be in the team,” he added.
The 26-year-old also has a rich experience of playing in IPL as he represented Punjab Kings in the past couple of seasons. He thanked PBKS head coach Anil Kumble for giving him opportunities to prove himself at the big stage.
“I would also like to thank Anil bhai, because Punjab Kings gave me a chance in two IPL seasons, people there saw that I still have something in me. I always backed myself. I always believed… Try, try until your last breath,” Hooda said.