Irfan Pathan, arguably India’s best frontline bowler in terms of swing, announced his retirement from all forms cricket on Saturday. The 35-year-old, who made his international debut back in 2003 against Australia, went on to feature in 29 Tests, 120 ODIs, and 24 T20Is.
The cricketer was initially roped in the Indian cricket team as a frontline bowler. However, when Greg Chappel took on as coach of the national side, the 35-year-old was seen as one of the most promising all-rounders in international cricket. Pathan’s contribution to Team India has been immense, as he accumulated 2821 runs and registered 301 wickets under his name in all the formats combined.
In his illustrious career, Pathan became the only bowler to bag a hattrick in the first over in Test cricket. He also played a pivotal role in India’s historic triumph over Pakistan in the final of the inaugural World T20 in 2007.
Here are the top moments from Pathan’s career:
Pathan’s roars into the limelight
During India’s tour of Pakistan in 2006, Pathan rocked the Pakistani top order comprising Salman Butt, Younis Khan, and Mohammad Yousuf. The green belt in Karachi worked as a catalyst, aiding Pathan to produce one of the greatest spells in the history of Test cricket.
Spearheading India’s bowling attack in the third and final Test, the left-arm bowler started off by bowling three back to back short of length deliveries. In the fourth delivery, Pathan adjusted his length, forcing Butt to go for a shot. However, the ball took an outside edge, which was collected sharply by then India skipper Rahul Dravid at first slip.
He then followed it up by trapping the in-form Younis Khan leg before by bowling a fuller length delivery which came inwards towards the batsman. Despite scoring 199, 83 and 194 in the previous two contests, the former Pakistani skipper was rocked by a sensational delivery by the Indian.
After Younis, another solid middle order batsman – Mohammad Yousuf – came out to the middle, but he failed to withstand Pathan’s swing as the bowler knocked off his middle-stump with the final delivery of the over, making him the second Indian bowler after Harbhajan Singh to claim a Test hattrick.
Pathan’s contribution in World T20 final against PAK
In the absence of regular opener Virender Sehwag, India fielded a new opening pair comprising Gautam Gambhir and Yusuf Pathan in the summit clash against arch-rival Pakistan in the inaugural edition of World T20 in 2007. The batting unit except for Gambhir failed to resist the Pakistani attack as India could only manage 157/5 at the end of 20 overs.
With 158 required in 120 deliveries, Pakistan had a much easier task in their hands to what they must have expected. However, Pathan produced another clinical display with the ball, as he scalped three wickets while giving away just 16 in his four-overs quota. Out of the 24 deliveries, 12 were dots which helped him earn him the Man of the Match award.
India vs Australia: Perth (2008)
On January 19, 2008, India secured one of their most memorable victories over hosts Australia in Perth. The win, which came right after the controversial Sydney Test, will always be remembered by cricket enthusiasts across the nation as a coming-of-age of the Indian unit in terms of mental strength. Pathan had chipped in with vital contributions both with the bat and the ball.
In India’s first innings, the left-handed batsman scored 28 while batting at no. 8. However, it was the second innings when his display with the bat proved to be handy, as he played a crucial knock of 46 runs, helping India maintain their dominance in the contest. Pathan also scalped five wickets in the contest.
Pathan brothers to the rescue
In the only T20I match of India’s tour to Sri Lanka back in 2008-09, the Pathan brothers helped India recover and guided the Men In Blue to a memorable three-wicket win over the hosts.
In response to Sri Lanka’s 171/4, the Indian batsmen failed to prove their mettle as India at one stage were staggering 115/7. With 57 required in 29 deliveries and three wickets in hand, the Pathan brothers wreaked havoc on the Sri Lankan bowlers as India chased down the target with four balls remaining.
While Yusuf scored 22 in 10 deliveries, his younger brother Irfan slammed 33 in 16 deliveries, which included two fours and an equal number of sixes.
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