Once touted as the next big thing in Indian cricket, Irfan Pathan is currently lost and quite unsure about his future. Just two matches into the 2017-18 Ranji Trophy season, the left-arm pacer was left humiliated. After that, he was stripped of his captaincy and the Baroda team also dropped him from the squad. In short, Irfan Pathan’s cricketing career is in shambles.
Baroda lost their Ranji Trophy opener to Madhya Pradesh, following it up with a draw against Andhra. For the November 1-4 Group C game against Tripura, Pathan was not in the squad.
“I am puzzled! This is happening for the last three years. I am trying to find an answer within myself without asking anyone. I am not the kind of guy who will run around to ask what’s wrong,” Pathan, 33, told Hindustan Times.
“(If my) performance is not there, no issues. But I just scored 80 runs batting at No.6, got wickets. The ball is coming out really well, I am fit, then why drop me?”
Pathan has played 29 Tests, 120 ODIs and 24 T20s for India. He scored 80 and 4 against Madhya Pradesh and 0 and 4 against Andhra. He also took two wickets in total in the two games.
“They (Baroda Cricket Association) even had a big press conference and said I am the team’s mentor and captain for the season and that I will help develop the players. Things can’t change so suddenly after just two games, can it? This can’t be a cricketing issue,” alleged Pathan, who nowadays is occupied with a new venture — Cricket Academy of Pathans, which he has started with his brother Yusuf Pathan.
“They asked me to help the team grow. I want to build the team well so that if I go in the next 2-3 years, there shouldn’t be a lacuna. That is what I was doing over the last one-and-a-half months, mentoring each and every player.”
It has been five years since Pathan last played for India. He was Man-of-the-Match in the final against Pakistan in India’s memorable World Twenty20 triumph in 2007. He said that if he doesn’t get opportunities at the domestic level, he won’t be able to show his abilities.
“It is important to play domestic cricket and perform really well. If there is no opportunity in domestic cricket and if these things keep happening, I wonder what is going to happen. I have always fought on the field. It was going fine whether it was my bowling or fitness, but right now the situation does not look good,” said the southpaw.
“However, I know this is not the end. Although my main aim is limited-overs cricket, I want to play four-day cricket as it makes you keep going and help you get your rhythm.”
Can Irfan Pathan’s cricketing career take off again or is his time up?