Home > News >

Pakistan’s ‘short man’ Mohammad Irfan aims high

Mohammad Irfan

Pakistan’s giant 7’1″ bowler, Mohammad Irfan (right), wants to prove it’s not all about height © IANS

Karachi: Jan 19, 2013

A towering man of seven feet one inch, fast-rising Pakistan paceman Mohammad Irfan often struggles to find bowling shoes that fit and a comfortable bed.

But on the cricket pitch, the 30-year-old former factory worker is more than comfortable with a new ball in his hands, cleverly exploiting his height to unsettle some of the best batsmen in the world with bounce, pace and variation.

Pakistan tagged Irfan a “surprise package” on their December-January tour of India and despite taking just three wickets, he plagued the opposition’s much-vaunted batting.

“We jokingly call him the short man,” Pakistan Twenty20 captain Mohammad Hafeez told AFP. “We knew he would be a surprise package and with his determination and hard work I hope that he can go a long way in international cricket.”

It is only now that officials accept him to be 7’1”. In the past, his height has been purportedly measured at 6’8″ and 6’10″.

“My height was measured at the US embassy when I applied for visa in 2010,” Irfan told AFP, boasting of being the tallest ever international cricketer, surpassing West Indian Joel Garner and Australian Bruce Reid who stood at 6’8″.

He also claims to be the tallest known cricketer, beating English county players Anthony Allom, Paul Dunkels and Will Jefferson, all measured at 6’10″.

Pakistan's 'short man' Mohammad Irfan aims high

For Mohammad Irfan, height hasn’t always been an advantage © AFP

But for Irfan, height hasn’t always been an advantage.

He was born a farmer’s son in the small village of Gaggu Mandi in the central Punjab province, where he found his height hard to cope with, even as one of five brothers all over six feet tall.

“My height started to increase when I was in class eight,” Irfan remembers. “I couldn’t sit on the school bus properly, my uniform stopped fitting after a few days and people started to make fun of my height.”
His father, himself 6’9″, advised him to be patient.

“My schoolmates used to mock me saying, why am I in class eight when I am so tall. I used to come in my friends’s car with a special seat.

“I would join two beds to sleep properly and when I wanted to play cricket I couldn’t find proper shoes,” said Irfan who now gets shoes in a British size 15 from a friend.

Growing up, his role model was fellow villager Mohammad Zahid, who took eleven wickets in his debut Test in 1996 before a back problem cut short his career.

But he was discouraged by a lack of opportunity and took a job in a nearby pipe factory in 2000.

“Those were very difficult days for me,” remembers Irfan. “I wanted to play cricket but was forced to work for 300 rupees ($3) a week and the future was not looking good.”

But suddenly lady luck smiled at Irfan.

Former first-class cricketer Nadeem Iqbal spotted him in a club match and sent him to Pakistan’s national cricket academy to be coached by former paceman Aaqib Javed and former opener Aamir Sohail.
Irfan made the most of it.

In 2009, he was picked up by the Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) team, set up by the father of Pakistan’s nuclear bomb AQ Khan, where Irfan turned into an explosive bowler, taking nine wickets in only his second match.

“Irfan was unique,” said Rashid Iqbal, manager of the KRL. “He has worked very hard to come this far and the most remarkable thing about him is that despite his height he has kept his fitness through extra work-outs.”

The KRL stint saw Irfan picked for Pakistan’s one-day series in England in 2010 but two wicketless matches seemed to end his career before it even started.

“I did not get discouraged and kept up the hard work,” said Irfan, who impressed coach Dav Whatmore enough during the national Twenty20 tournament in Lahore last month to be picked to stage a comeback in India.

Leaving Indian batsmen shaken, Irfan now bowls against the world’s number one Test team South Africa next month, aiming to prove that he is not all about height.

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 20, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Kolkata

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Dubai

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (19:00 IST)   at Cuttack

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Oct 25, 2014 (09:30 IST)   at Dhaka

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 27, 2014 (03:00 IST)   at Hamilton

More

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 24, 2014  at Mount Maunganui

South Africa won by 72 runs

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 21, 2014  at Mount Maunganui

South Africa won by 6 wkts

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 17, 2014  at Dharamsala

India won by 59 runs

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 14, 2014  at Visakhapatnam

Match cancelled

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 12, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

Australia won by 1 run

Photos

Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test at Dubai

Videos

Amla feels Proteas more acclimatised to conditions

Live Cricket Score Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test, Day 5: Australia 117/7 at lunch

Live Cricket Score: Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe, 1st Test Day 2: Bangladesh down to five at Tea break

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: Ahmed Shehzad is maturing with each innings

Duleep Trophy 2014-15: Six things we learnt from the quarter-finals and semi-finals

Younis Khan — Pakistan’s greatest batsman?

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 Australia vs Pakistan Australia vs Pakistan 2014 Duleep Trophy India New Zealand New Zealand vs South Africa New Zealand vs South Africa 2014 Pakistan Pakistan vs Australia Pakistan vs Australia 2014 South Africa South Africa tour of New Zealand 2014 South Africa vs New Zealand South Africa vs New Zealand 2014

Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe 2014: Bangladesh tremble as they lose two more crucial wickets at Tea break

Pakistan 3 wickets away from win as Australia reduced to 117/7 at lunch on Day 5 of 1st Test

MS Dhoni questioned by Mudgal committee for 4 hours over IPL spot-fixing scandal

KIA Oval to host wedding fair

Michael Klinger’s 96 guides Western Australia to 255 in Matador Cup final

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: Ahmed Shehzad is maturing with each innings

Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe 2014: Shakib-al-Hasan roars back with 6-wicket haul

TE Srinivasan: Graceful at the crease and in death

Duleep Trophy 2014-15: Six things we learnt from the quarter-finals and semi-finals

Fazal Mahmood engineers Pakistan’s first ever Test match victory

Fan of the Day

Suraj Gowda

Suraj Gowda

642 Posts | 9 Fans

Virat Kohli's Family Meets Anushka Sharma

iFixit cracks open iPad mini 3, as expected finds exactly one major change

Top Sex Positions: Frog Princess

Shahid Kapoor’s Haider wins People’s Choice Award at Rome Film Festival!

How to make tamarind or imli packs for hair and skin

Samsung Galaxy Mega 2 launches in India for Rs 20,090

Satyamev Jayate 3 TV review: Aamir Khan highlights the topic of spread of TB in India with Salman Khan in a sensible way!

Satyamev Jayate 3 Episode 4 review: Salman Khan joins Aamir Khan to lend support to fight against Tuberculosis #tickingTimeBomb

Bendgate is back, iPad Air 2 also vulnerable to bending [video]

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here