CRICKETERS OF INDIA – IRFAN PATHAN
INDIAN CRICKETER – IRFAN PATHAN
Irfan Khan Pathan, (born October 27, 1984 in Baroda, Gujarat, India) is an Indian cricketer who made his debut for India in late-2003 and was a core member of the national team until a decline in form set in during 2006, forcing him out of the team. Since then, he has been in and out of the limited-overs team, and has only sporadic appearances in Test cricket. Beginning his career as a left-arm fast-medium swing bowler, Pathan broke into the national team soon after turning 19, and evoked comparisons with Pakistan’s Wasim Akram, regarded as one of the finest left-arm pacemen of all time, with his promising performances and prodigious swing. He cemented his position in the team and was named by the International Cricket Council as the 2004 Emerging Player of the Year.
Pathan grew up with his half-brother Yusuf in a mosque in Surat, in an impoverished family. His father served as the muezzin. Although their parents wished them to become Islamic scholars, Pathan and his brother took an interest in cricket. Their games on the grounds off and inside the mosque often necessitated apologies from their father to Muslim worshippers who visited it. In the beginning his deliveries did not reach the other end of the cricket pitch, but rigorous six-hour training sessions in blazing heat and his family’s sense of discipline saw him progress steadily. Under the guidance of former Indian captain Datta Gaekwad, Pathan rose to get selected in the Under-14 Baroda cricket team, and when he was selected at Under-15 level to represent Baroda in a national tournament, he was finally presented with a full set of cricket equipment, having before been restricted to second-hand gear due to his family’s limited economic means.
Pathan made his first-class debut against Bengal in March 2001, after fellow left-arm paceman Zaheer Khan was selected for the national team. He scored 13 not out and 2, and took 3/40 and 2/68 in a 222-run win. However, he was unable to repeat this form in the three remaining matches, taking only two more wickets in total, but Baroda nevertheless managed to win the Ranji Trophy. He ended his maiden season with seven wickets at 43.28 and 75 runs at 12.50 with a best score of 40 not out against Orissa.