Beginning their campaign as heavyweights, the Rising Pune Supergiants franchise wouldn’t have thought that their debut IPL season would end before the business end begins. Pune became the first team in the IPL 2016 to make an exit as they are placed second from bottom of the points table with three wins in the 11 games they have played so far. (Fixtures | Squads)
RPS is one of the two new teams who made their first appearance in Indian Premier league. The MS Dhoni-led Pune were initially considered to be the contenders of lifting the title as they had the likes of Ajinkya Rahane, Steve Smith, Faf du Plessis, Kevin Pietersen, R. Ashwin, Mitchell Marsh, Thisara Perera, Ishant Sharma, Irfan Pathan along with MS Dhoni in their squad.
Smith, du Plessis, Pietersen, Marsh flew back home after sustaining injuries and it was assumed that Irfan, especially after the growing list of injuries, would become a regular member in the playing XI.
To everyone’s surprise, Pathan has played just one match in RPS colours and has been warming the match since then. The seamer was the most successful bowler of domestic T20 tournament Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy where the left-arm pacer grabbed 17 wickets in 10 matches.
Irfan has played for different franchises in the Indian Premier league starting his career with Kings XI Punjab with whom he played in the first three seasons. He then turned out for the Delhi Daredevils in IPL 2012 and 2013, and played for Sunrisers Hyderabad in IPL 2014. In 2015, the Baroda paceman was bought by Chennai Super Kings and is now a part of Risisng Pune Supergiants.
Irfan Pathan has 99 IPL caps to his name, 98 of those coming before 2015 edition when he joined CSK. Pathan wasn’t given a single match in Chennai colours which was led by MS Dhoni and in 2016 season too, the paceman donned the RPS jersey in only one match out of the eleven that Pune has played so far.
Apart from having a tally of 80 wickets, Pathan is also a handy customer with the bat as the left-hand batsman has scored 1128 runs so far with a fifty to his name.
The injury-struck Pune team could have picked up Pathan as a replacement for any of the players who left the campaign in the middle. His continuous exclusion from Dhoni’s XI has surprised many.