Port Elizabeth:He is not intimidated by any of the world-class bowlers in action at the Indian Premier League as Rajasthan Royals' swashbuckling all-rounder Yusuf Pathan feels any fear of the opposition will adversely affect his aggressive style of batting.
"I love challenges and facing world class attacks is a huge challenge for all of us. We have to be on our toes to get the better of the bowlers. After all, we are the defending champions here. If I had feared them, I would not have played the game," Yusuf told a cricket website.
"It is not like if I stop playing my strokes I will start scoring in every game. I will get out eventually. So what is the point in changing your natural game? I just enjoy going there and playing my strokes fearlessly," he added.
Yusuf has played a crucial role in Rajasthan's every success, amassing 233 runs at a strike rate of over 140 and taking seven wickets so far.
Yusuf says he is thankful to skipper Shane Warne for having faith in him -- something that has helped him do well in crunch situations.
"He is one of the all-time greats. He has played a lot of cricket for Australia. I think my total match appearance even in domestic cricket is less than his wickets tally. Warne has been a great help. He has taught me how to judge the pitch and the technique of batsmen," Yusuf said.
"I get the same feeling for Sachin-paaji (Tendulkar). It feels great when they speak about me. To get a mention in their interviews is a great achievement for me," Yusuf added.
The all-rounder said Rajasthan teammate Graeme Smith has also helped him improve as a player.
"He is a great team man. He captains his national side and brings that experience to our team. He has been very helpful especially for the youngsters to adapt to the conditions here. He is very easy going and always generates positive vibes.
"Playing with him has been a great experience. One can learn a lot while watching him prepare for a match. He takes his cricket seriously and is hard working," he said.
Asked if he wants to change anything in his playing style, Yusuf said he is happy with how things have gone for him so far but there are targets he still has to achieve.
"I will continue to play my natural game. For me, it's important to remain confident and my body language should be positive even under pressure. We all know it just takes few good overs or a few good minutes on the field to win a game.
It is important to take some risks; stay mentally strong and believe I can do it," he said.
"I will not say that I have been able to achieve all my targets in IPL. To tell you honestly, I have always been confident about my form. Obviously, there is expectation that you need to play well," Yusuf said.
"If someone tries hard and gives the best and doesn't get the result you can't blame him. Cricket is a difficult game and all the time in game like Twenty20 it can be hit and miss.
Some days are difficult, while other days you can have a cakewalk," he added.
Yusuf said his attacking batting is a combination of strength and timing.
"Confidence is the key. One must be very confident about what one is doing. At times, when the timing is very good, the ball travels really far," he said.
Despite doing well with both bat and ball, Yusuf said he considers himself more of a bowler.
"I am a batting all-rounder. While bowling I just try to bowl as many as dot balls possible and that is my role as a bowler. Batting is my main focus. Though, I have taken crucial wickets, I prefer calling myself a batsman who bowls decently," he said.