Former India allrounder Irfan Pathan has said he would have loved to play under the captaincy of Virat Kohli. The 2007 T20 World Cup-winner made his debut under the captaincy of legendary Sourav Ganguly. He enjoyed the best phase of his career under Rahul Dravid before MS Dhoni took charge of the team.
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Irfan Pathan also played Test under Anil Kumble’s captaincy. After making a sensational start to his international career, he struggled for consistency from 2007 and never really managed to cement his spot in the team. His last appearance for Team India came in 2012 T20 World Cup. Earlier this year, he announced his retirement from all forms of the game.
During his cricket career that spanned well over a decade, Irfan Pathan never played under Virat Kohli. Even in the IPL, he has played for several teams – including Kings XI Punjab, Delhi Daredevils (now Delhi Capitals), Sunrisers Hyderabad, Chennai Super Kings, Rising Pune Supergiant, and Gujarat Lions but did not get a chance to play for Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore.
However, Irfan Pathan has said he would have loved to play under Kohli. He further said that Kohli is the kind of the captain who backs his players and also called him the ‘definition of leader’. Interestingly, Kohli has always faced criticism for tinkering with the team line-up too much.
“I don’t know if it would be fair to say in one line. I would have loved to play under Virat Kohli’s captaincy,” Irfan Pathan said in an Instagram Live interaction with ESPNCricinfo presenter Raunak Kapoor.
“He is the kind of captain who backs his players, he goes out of the way to back his players. He is actually the definition of what a ‘leader’ is, he is a leader,” he added.
A dig at MS Dhoni?
The comment from Irfan Pathan could be an indirect dig at former India captain MS Dhoni. Just days after retiring from the game in January this year, he had stated that he did not get the backing from the captain and the team-management.
“Many people feel I did not get the backing from the captain or the team management. I think that’s not in my control. All I cared about was doing well for the team and I am glad I could do that. But yes, one thing disappoints me. When I took my 300th wicket, I was 27. People peak at 27, but I did not play international cricket after that. Why? I don’t have an answer to that. Maybe, in the future, things will come out in the open,” Irfan Pathan had told Sportstar.