Irfan Pathan set to be Jammu and Kashmir player and mentor; Kapil Dev offered coaching role

Irfan Pathan is likely to shift his cricketing base to Jammu and Kashmir for the next three years as a player cum mentor. The all-rounder who played for his home team Baroda for 17 seasons has been approached by the Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA) while former India all-rounder and World Cup-winning captain Kapil Dev too has received an offer to be the team coach.

JKCA chief executive officer Ashiq Ali Bukhari confirmed that they had meetings with Pathan and Dev a few days ago where the offers were made.

“We were looking out for a professional player and Irfan was our first choice. He has experience with him and is an all-rounder. His presence will help our boys to grow their game. At the same time, we have requested Kapil saab to come on board. They both have asked for a few days’ time before taking a final call,” Bukhari told The Indian Express.

“The JKCA is trying to take its cricket to another level. Having these stalwarts will help,” he added.

It is learnt that during their meeting with the two all-rounders, Dev said he couldn’t take on a full-time coaching role but is willing to conduct short sessions with the team in the valley. It was a week ago that Pathan sought a No Objection Certificate from Baroda after having been snubbed repeatedly by their selectors during the domestic season.

“They wanted to know if I would be interested in joining them for three seasons. I have got my NOC and the JKCA’s offer is good. I will be giving my final decision in a day or two,” the 33-year-old who’s played 29 Tests and 120 ODIs for India, said.

Pathan was dropped after two Ranji games despite being named captain and mentor for the season for Baroda this season. Baroda opted for Deepak Hooda to replace Pathan as a captain for the Ranji Trophy as well as in the shorter formats of the game. While J&K have had a number of professional players turn up for them over the last few seasons, Pathan will be the biggest name to call the valley his home.