• Irfan Pathan the better suited replacement for Mitchell Marsh in RPS squad for IPL 2017

    Irfan Pathan
    Irfan Pathan.

    He is a promising right-arm batsman and a medium pace bowler 25-year-old Mitchell Marsh has been touted as the next big allrounder in international cricket. Whether he has been able to do justice to his talent or not is another topic of debate for another day but he certainly has created a niche for himself not only in the Australian team but also in the IPL.

    He featured in just 3 matches for the Rising Pune Supergiants team in the previous edition of the tournament and had to fly back home as a side strain sidelined him for the remainder of the IPL. Despite that Marsh was retained by the franchise for their last outing in the league.

    He made his IPL debut back in 2010 a year before he got a call from the national team. He was a part of the Australian touring party that is in India for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy but has injured his shoulder which required a surgery and the rehabilitation period is expected to extend beyond the IPL.

    RPS banking on his allround abilities released Indian allrounder Irfan Pathan from the squad ahead of the tenth season of the Indian domestic T20 league. They also picked two overseas allrounders in Ben Stokes – the most expensive player of the auction and Australian Dan Christian in the team.

    Irfan was rather surprisingly not bagged by any of the eight franchises that held tables in the auction held last month despite bowling and batting with intent in Baroda’s outings in the Zonal Twenty20, with the West Zone in the Syed Mushtaq Ali and also in the ongoing Vijay Hazare Trophy. While someone like Munaf Patel who has seldom appeared for his domestic team was offered a contract by the Gujarat Lions.

    Not questioning the franchises’ decision to go with a certain player but someone like Irfan is a utility player – he can pick wickets with the new ball, definitely has the ability to move the ball around. Has always challenged the batsmen with his slower balls and works hard on evolving his skill to outsmart the bat wielders. As a batsman, the left-hander has the ability to hit the ball big and can be utilized as the pinch hitter in the team.

    Now, why should Pune pick him ahead of the season?

    Irfan who is 32 and in a phase of his career where every game matters to him would leave no stone unturned to make an impact. The Baroda skipper who has over 100 IPL matches under his belt found himself out of favor with his teams Chennai Super Kings and Rising Pune Supergiants in the last couple of editions.

    A look at his form with the bat and the ball during the ongoing domestic season and his guile and eagerness to do well makes him a player worth investing in.