Irfan Pathan, saying he did not receive backing from the Indian team in the later phase of his career even though he was performing a vital role for the team, explained why his numbers had a drastic drop in later years.
Pathan had been the fastest to 100 wickets in ODIs, in 59 matches. But after that, he managed just 73 wickets in the next 61 matches, playing his last match for India at the age of 27.
“If you see the first 59 ODI matches that I played, I got to bowl with the new 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,” Pathan told rediff.com.
“If your role becomes different, then your numbers become different as well. 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’.”
Pathan said that instead of backing him, the team management pushed him to the brink of the team. He also spoke about how the management is kinder towards the numbers of all-rounders and young talents like Rishabh Pant these days because their value to the ODI format has been recognised.
“Now, if an all-rounder goes for around six runs per over and takes one wicket per match you are happy with that, but you were not happy with Irfan Pathan who did the same thing. Why is that?” said Pathan.
Saying he could have been India’s greatest all-rounder in the ODI format, Pathan said, “The player who is ready to sacrifice for the team, if you don’t support him and back him, then you are taking him on the path where you are looking to sideline him… If a player’s role has been given differently, then it is the team’s responsibility to talk about it, but no one talks about it.”