Irfan and Yusuf Pathan are one of Indian cricket’s most romantic stories. Two brothers from the town of Vadodara in Gujarat coming and representing the country is a tale that touched fans across the nation. Irfan’s swing and Yusuf’s smashing batting will remain etched in the heart of cricket lovers and the brotherly camaraderie is something for the archives to record for years to come.
But everything in their path wasn’t always rosy. While their achievements lie in the open, the story behind the rise of Pathan brothers is well in the open. The struggle behind it is inspirational and makes one respect the duo even more.
They started off literally with nothing. Their path was filled with obstacles and barriers. They had to do everything the hard way. Adversity was a basic theme of their upbringing.
The brothers belonged to a poor and deprived family. The Pathan family could not even afford a house and lived in a mosque in Vadodara. Their father just about earned sufficient serving as the muezzin in the mosque. The Pathan brothers’ parents wished that their children would become lslamist scholars. But like the modern Indian youth, they went against the will of their parents and followed their passion.
Cricket is something that struck their eye from the first go. The brothers would regularly get in trouble for playing cricket in the compound of the mosque they played in. It led to their father having to regular apologies to visitors of the holy place.
The brother’s fondness for the game led them to be handed over to their maternal uncle Ahmed Mia. He was the one who gave the Pathan boys their first bats and introduced them to their first proper coach in Mehndi Sheikh. It was then that Irfan came under the guidance of former India captain Datta Gaekwad and he made massive strides.
Getting his first major breakthrough in 2000-01 for Baroda when Zaheer Khan was away on International duty. His career took one stride after another, hence leading to a call up to Indian test side to Australia in 2003. Yusuf, on the other hand, had to wait much longer for an opportunity but it did come for him in 2007.
The crowning glory for Irfan and Yusuf Pathan came in the latter’s international debut. Due to Virender Sehwag getting injured on the eve of the final, Yusuf got his first cap in the mega occasion against Pakistan. Yusuf showed his explosive qualities to the world and Irfan emerged as the man of the match.
While both their career’s peaked at different times and got very few opportunities together, it remains a great story of hard work, perseverance and dedication. The Pathan brothers careers might show that they could have achieved much more, but their background represents an impossible rise. Their biggest achievements will not be the match winnings spells, knocks or the medals they have but their successful battle against adversity and poverty. The Pathan brothers give an inspiration to a generation in India to follow their dreams.