V.V.S. Laxman.. Image Source: IANS News

New Delhi, June 13 : V.V.S. Laxman on Saturday paid tribute to Irfan Pathan, saying the former Indian fast bowler, despite grappling with his fair share of challenges, retained fierce passion for cricket.

"Despite grappling with his fair share of challenges, Irfan Pathan retained his fierce passion for the sport," Laxman said in a tweet.

"Along the way, he embraced the role of an inspirational mentor-cum-coach when still an active first-class player, willingly sharing his wisdom and experience," he added.

Pathan was quick to respond and said: "Thank you bhai. It was absolute privilage to have shared dressing with you and now our friendship." The former left-arm pacer, who made his international debut against Australia in 2003, represented India in 29 Tests, 120 ODIs and 24 T20Is in which he scalped 100, 173 and 28 wickets respectively. Besides, he was more than handy with the bat and scored over 2,700 international runs.

He played a vital part to India's success at the 2007 World T20. He bagged the Man of the Match award in the final against Pakistan by accounting for three wickets, while he picked up two crucial wickets in the semi-final against Australia as well.

The left-armer also became only the second Indian bowler to pick up a Test hat-trick when he achieved the feat in a Test match against Pakistan in Karachi in 2006.

He also played 108 IPL matches in which he picked 103 wickets.

The 35-year-old announced his retirement from all forms of cricket in January this year.

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