'I could have been the best-ever India all-rounder' - Irfan Pathan reveals what affected his international career

‘I could have been the best-ever India all-rounder’ – Irfan Pathan reveals what affected his international career

Irfan had a dazzling start to his international career as he became the fastest Indian bowler to take 100 ODI wickets.

Irfan Pathan
Irfan Pathan. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

With the ability to swing the ball both ways, Irfan Pathan burst out to the international stage and grabbed eyeballs in no time. Irfan’s forte in both the departments even led to people comparing him with Indian legend Kapil Dev. Irfan was touted to be one of the best all-rounders for India but injuries served as a roadblock in his career.

Irfan played his last match for India at an age when bowlers are usually at their peak. He had a dazzling start to his international career as he became the fastest Indian bowler to take 100 ODI wickets. Irfan’s feat stood for 13 years before Mohammed Shami broke it.

While speaking with Rediff.com, Irfan reminisced his time with Team India and opined that his career could have been a ‘lot more’ in terms of achievement. According to the Baroda all-rounder, he could’ve been the best all-rounder that India ever produced. However, that couldn’t happen after his career was cut short.

My last game for India was at the age of 27: Irfan Pathan

“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,” said Pathan.

“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 like 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,” he added.

Irfan also revealed that his role changed as his career progressed. From a new-ball bowler, he went on to become the first or second change, which eventually changed his mindset and body language and he became more defensive.

“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.