Former India all-rounder and currently J&K Ranji Trophy team mentor Irfan Pathan while reflecting on his International career has said that he could have went on to become best ever all-rounder for India in ODI’s if not sidelined at crucial juncture.
“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,” Pathan told Rediff.com.
“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.”
Pathan said that his role in the team changed from new ball to old ball pacer that meant rather than attacking he had to play defensive role.
“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,” Irfan said.
“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.
Irfan Pathan pointed out that he didn’t find any support in team and there was no one who spoke about the fact that I was doing well with new ball.
“I actually feel that people from the team should have spoken about it. They should have said that, ‘Yes Irfan used to take wickets, but now we have given him a different role. We have given him the role of first change bowler and someone who can bat at No 7 or No 8, which is very much required in One-Day cricket right now.’
The last match he played for India, Pathan picked up a five-wicket haul – against Sri Lanka in August 2012, while operating with the new ball.
“If you look at the numbers, it suddenly started changing when I started bowling with the new ball again in 2012,” Pathan said. “When I came back into the Indian team, I took five wickets as well in my last match. I am not saying that I could only bowl with the new ball. No, I was ready to bowl with the old ball, I was ready to bowl with the new ball as well. But in a team game, when you have a different role, your numbers reflect differently.”