Cricket may be mostly about skills at the highest level, but it doesn't harm international athletes to have an ace up their sleeve in the form of a genetic gift. While batsmen blessed with perfect footwork and timing, bowlers able to generate frightening pace and fielders possessing quick lightning reflexes are a dime a dozen now, Pakistan pacer Mohammad Irfan stands out -- quite literally -- for what makes him special.

Dwarfing his peers on the pitch at 7'1, the 30-year-old quick, who made his Twenty20 international debut against India in Bangalore on Tuesday, is by far the tallest international cricketer in the world, dwarfing legendary West Indian pacer Joel Garner at 6'8."

Like most tall pacers, Irfan, who attended IPL team Kolkata Knight Riders' trials in 2011, has the ability to work up a full head of steam on the pitch, consistently bowling at 140km/h.

At the Chinnaswamy stadium on Tuesday, he extracted a tremendous amount of bounce that saw the Indian batsmen digging deep against his thunderbolts. At one point, he even had opener Gautam Gambhir and Ajinkya Rahane in a serious spot of bother thanks to rising deliveries aimed at the body.

He returned for a second spell with a new opponent in Yuvraj Singh, only to dish out more of the same as he had the southpaw on the backfoot. Putting in a disciplined effort on the day, Irfan returned with impressive figures of 1-25 from his quota of four overs.

Born in East Pakistan's Punjab province in the town of Gaggu Mandi, Irfan hails from the same place which produced another tall Pakistan quick -- Mohammad Zahid. Life had been a struggle for Irfan until opportunity came knocking on his door in 2010.

Working in a pipe factory at the time, his performances in club cricket -- where he played for Khan Research Laboratories scalping 43 wickets that season -- impressed former cricketer and Pakistan's National Cricket Academy coach Aaqib Javed so much that he invited Irfan to work with him.

Thereafter, Irfan went on to make his ODI debut for Pakistan on September 2010 against England at Chester-le-Street, after the removal of disgraced pacers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer from the squad following the spot-fixing controversy.

It wasn't a good debut as he gave away 37 runs in 5.3 overs without a wicket. That apart he had to leave the field midway due to cramps as England went on to win the match by 24 runs. Irfan went on to play only two ODIs in 2010.

Tougher times followed when he was drafted into Pakistan's 2010 World Twenty20 squad but his name was withdrawn in the last minute. But having made his T20 international debut -- relatively late at 30 -- Irfan will hope that he can enjoy a run that allows him to become a bowler who is not just famous for his towering stature.

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