Irfan Pathan, former Indian seam-bowling all-rounder, will always be an unfulfilled dream and an enigma that still forces cricket tragics wonder- ‘What would have been’- had things panned out as planned during the course of his career. Irfan, who made his debut as a prodigiously talented left-arm seam-and-swing bowler back during the 2003-04 tour of Australia, soon captured the imagination of fans with his consistent performances.
Irfan went on to become the leader of the pace-bowling unit within the next 2-3 years and given the talent that he had with the bat, people soon started to hail him as the next ‘Kapil Dev’. The year 2006 proved to be an inflection point in the left-arm seamer’s career. Post his record-breaking hat-trick against Pakistan in Karachi, Irfan’s bowling form underwent a sharp dip and by the time 2007 World Cup rolled out, he was no longer a permanent fixture.
Irfan’s decline in fortunes as a premier fast bowler coincided with the controversial Greg Chappell era in Indian cricket. Many fans still believe that Irfan’s decline was a result of Chappell-led team-management’s penchant to convert him into an all-rounder. However, Pathan has always maintained that Chappell or anyone for that matter isn’t responsible for ‘destroying’ his career. The left-hander, in a recent interview to cricket.com, asserted the same while adding that he is quite content with the fact that he is still the 9th highest wicket-taker  for India in ODI cricket.
“To be very honest, no-one should be blamed for anything. Sometimes people have taken my statement in a different way: that this particular captain the coach has destroyed my career. I’m not blaming anyone. I am No. 9 as far as the highest wicket-takers (for India) is concerned in ODI. I haven’t played international cricket for eight years now. I am still there. I am very grateful,” Irfan Pathan told cricket.com.
Irfan Pathan questions the backing that he received from the team-management
Post the loss of his renowned swing, Irfan Pathan revamped himself into a seam-bowing all-rounder. The Baroda cricketer made a stellar return to the side in the 2007 T20 World Cup where he ended up as the ‘Player of the Finals’ thanks to his 3-16 against Pakistan.
“But, if the question is did I get enough backing, I would say, I was not backed enough. It was clear. If a guy has taken five wickets in his last match and has got man of the match in T20, scored runs in ODIs, then he gets injured and there was never a roadmap for him getting back – obviously anyone will feel hard done by,” Pathan said.
“I am grateful that people love me so much even now, even though I have retired, even though I have not played international cricket for eight years, they still remember my swing,” he added.