Former Indian all-rounder Irfan Pathan has to be one of India’s biggest unfulfilled talents. As a 19-year-old, Irfan Pathan burst into the international scene, and with his devious swinging deliveries, he bounced out some of the best batsmen. In an interview with Rediff.com, the retired left-arm seamer conceded things might have been different had he received enough backing.
Even though Irfan Pathan was developing as one of the best seamers, his concentration shifted to improving his batting. It can also be said that injuries and form concerns also affected his career. He played his last game for the national team in 2012 at 27 and at an age when fast bowlers usually hit their peak form. The Baroda cricketer became the quickest Indian bowler to reach 100 ODI wickets (59) before Mohammed Shami broke it. Pathan also has a Test hat-trick, having taken against Pakistan in 2006 and century.
Pathan, who retired earlier this year, mentioned that in terms of achievements, he could have been the best ODI all-rounder for India. The same couldn’t take place since he played his last game for the men in blue at the age of 27. At the same time, the 35-year old didn’t have any regrets and acted as India’s match-winner on more occasions than one. Irfan Pathan played a significant role in India’s 2007 World T20 triumph, bagging the man of the match award in the final.
“In terms of achievement, there could have been a lot more. I really believe that in One-Day Internationals I could have been the best all-rounder that India ever produced, I could have been. That didn’t happen because I didn’t play as much cricket as I could have because my last game for India was at the age of 27,” Irfan Pathan said.
“I think if you play till 35, things would have been better, but that’s gone, it’s done and dusted. Whatever matches I played, I played as a match-winner, I played as a guy who made the difference to the team. Even if I took one wicket – the first wicket for the match – that made a big impact on the team. Whatever innings I played with the bat, I played to make a difference,” Irfan Pathan added.
Irfan Pathan opens up about his role change within the team:
As a youngster when Pathan ripped through reputed batting line-ups, the captain always handed him the new ball to make inroads.
Irfan bowled with the new ball in his first 59 of 120 ODIs and stated that when you are a new-ball bowler, the sole responsibility becomes to take wickets. When becoming the first-change bowler, the role gets defensive and gets about containing the runs. The change from new-ball to the first-change bowler had a significant impact on his career.
“If you see the first 59 ODI matches that I played, I got to bowl with the new ball. And when you are the new ball bowler, you get the opportunity to bowl with the new ball as well as the old ball. Your aim, your mindset, your body language and your responsibility is to take wickets. But when you are bowling first change, your role changes as well, your role becomes defensive.
When you are bowling first change, when you are a defensive bowler according to your captain and coach, you have to play the role of containing the runs. You have to make sure that you don’t give away too many runs. So, if your role becomes different, then your numbers also become different as well,” he added.