Irfan Pathan recently said bye to his professional career that spread across 2 decades. He has announced his retirement from all formats of the game. The left-handed seam bowler had emerged as the hope for India to fill the all rounder role during the mid-2000s.
Irfan continued with his career being a strike bowler and also as a handy batsman who would mold into any role offered by the team management.
The Baroda player went on to create many records in his long career. Yes, to refresh your memories, he was the only bowler take a hat trick in the first over of a Test match and even picked a fifer in his last ODI.
As the player hung his boots, let’s have a look at some lesser-known records that are in the name of Irfan Pathan.
Irfan was always in the consideration to make a significant contribution with the bat on batting at number 3, lower order or even as an opener. In many instances when he opened the innings, he also took the new ball when India went out to bowl. Irfan Pathan opened the batting and bowling at least once in the same Test on 3 occasions.
During the Delhi Test Vs Sri Lanka in 2015, Irfan was sent up to unfasten as a night watchman. In the 2nd innings of the Mumbai Test in 2006, he was sent to face English bowlers as a regular batsman when Virender Sehwag was not well and injured.
Later during the 2008 Adelaide Test, Irfan featured as an opener in both innings with Sehwag. He also recorded a similar feat in 2005 Kolkata Test where he went with none other than Sachin Tendulkar to open the innings.
He was the player to open batting and bowling during the 2012 World T20 game against England. It helped him become the first Indian with such a record in a T20 match.
In the same encounter, Irfan also went on to hold a feat with a rare opening of batting and bowling at least once in all 3 formats. As of now, only Tilakratne Dilshan, Mohammad Hafeez and Irfan Pathan have been able to hold these records.
One of the key reasons why Irfan Pathan was fast tracked to play for the National side was his stint with the ball at the Under-19 level. He was in his teens when he broke into the International Test arena in 2003/04 vs Australia on Down Under Tour. His debut happened only 2 months after the Under-19 Asia Cup where he was the Man of the Tournament. He finished the Series with 18 wickets in 4 games at an astonishing average of 7.38.
He helped India to defeat Sri Lanka in the final in Lahore as he claimed 3 crucial wickets. His major point came in a game before the final against Bangladesh. India could score only 233 in a must-win game after the collapse of the top order.
Pathan, who had picked up 6 wickets in 2 matches before, struck in the first over of the Bangla Tigers’ chase. VRV Singh was the other opening bowler who went on to claim 4th wicket of the innings in his 3rd over. By that time, Bangladesh was reduced to 16/4 and soon 22/7 in the 11th over. Irfan claimed at least 1 wicket in 5 of his first 6 overs.
In his 8th over, Irfan dismissed 9, 10 and 11 positioned batsmen with a famous hat trick.
As things stand today, Irfan Pathan is the only bowler with a 9 wicket haul in a Youth ODI. He had an impressive bowling figure of 7.5-3-16-9 that was well decorated with the hat trick. Lloyd Pope came close with a haul of 8/35 against England in the Quarter Final match of the 2018 U19 CWC.
The Indian Domestic Cricket included Twenty20 in mid-2007 after the Indian Cricket Team made its debut in the T20 format. Irfan had the advantage of playing a T20 match even before India played its 1st T20 match. He was a part of a T20I XI that played against South Africa in 2006. He made his T20 debut while playing for Middlesex during the 2005 England T20 World Cup.
He helped Middlesex with a 7 ball 21 that was studded with 2 sixes to post 185/6. He also let the ball talk by claiming a wicket in the first over by dismissing Sir Alastair Cook – he was making his debut in the same match. In the following over, the Captain of Essex Ronnie Irani was cleaned up by Irfan. Ravi Bopara, the No 3 batsman of Essex also could not survive till the powerplay’s end as he has adjudged LBW.
In the penultimate over of the match, Irfan also accounted for Andre Adams and finished with the spell of 4-0-27-4. With that feat, Irfan Pathan became the first Indian to claim a 4 wicket haul in the T20 format. Nayan Doshi, son of former Indian left-arm spinner Dilip Doshi also claimed 4/27 in the match played at the same time. Doshi played for Surrey at the Oval against Kent in the encounter that was reduced to 15 overs per side. It meant that Nayan grabbed it after Irfan if we assume that all matches begin at the same time.
The last whirl of Irfan Pathan came when he played for Baroda in 2015-16 in the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Tournament. Pathan was responsible for leading Baroda from the front being a bowler and batsman being the runner up after losing the final Vs UP. Irfan amassed 200 runs in 10 innings at an average of 40, along with a strike rate of 152.67 – the highest for the squad.
Irfan Pathan also bagged 17 wickets at a strike rate of 12.9 and also picked up a 5 wicket haul and a 4 wicket haul. He was also able to impress one and all with his swing pace mastery during the Series. He went on to get 5/13 Vs Assam – it turned out to be his only fifer in the T20 batsman. Therefore, Irfan Pathan emerged as one of the 4th Indian players to claim a T20 5 wicket haul as Skipper.
The bowling figures of Irfan Pathan 5/13 are the best among 4 analyses. Sanjay Bangar had this record for 9 years when he took 5/16 for Railways Vs Rajasthan in 2007. Overall, the figures of Pathan’s 4-0-13-5 are at the 7th spot.
While leading Leicestershire, Colin Ackermann became the first player to return with a 7 wicket haul in the last year’s T20 Blast.
The Cricketing discussion related to Irfan Pathan can’t end without the mention of his Test hat trick in 2006 Karachi Test match Vs Pakistan. With the hat trick in his kitty, the left-arm bowler became the first player to grab a hat trick in the first over of a Test. 14 years have passed since then, and no other bowler has been able to replicate that. Nonetheless, that is not the only hat trick that Irfan claimed while playing for India.
While representing the Indian U15 Team during the Asia Cup, he recorded an all bowled hat trick Vs Thailand under 19s. India had posted a big total of 272/9 in 40 overs. In reply, Thailand got reduced to 26/8 when Pathan struck gold with his 2nd ball. He was the 3rd change in the 16th over of the innings.
He bowled Arujun Kumar (11) and was the only player in the Thai line up to reach double digits. On the next 2 balls, P Dubey at No 10 and Pankaj Kumar at 11 was cleaned up by Pathan to complete a memorable hat trick. With that feat, India went on to win the game by a mammoth margin of 246 runs. The magical figures of Pathan read 0.4-0-2-3. A thing to note here is that the numbers of age level matches are not included in professional stats.
While playing his 59th game for India in 2006, Irfan Pathan took his 100th wicket in the match against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi. It helped him bag the iconic title of reaching the 100 wickets milestone in fewer matches played by an Indian. Earlier, it was Zaheer Khan who held this record by claiming his 100th victim in 65th game. Overall, Rashid Khan of Afghanistan has the record of reaching the fastest 100 wickets in only 44 matches.
Not only in One-Day International, but Irfan Pathan was also the 2nd fastest Indian bowler to grab 100 wickets in Tests. Irfan Pathan was only 24 when he claimed the wicket of Brett Lee in only in his 28th Test in 2008 Adelaide Test. With this feat, he joined the elite list of bowlers to have achieved 100 scalps in ODIs and Tests. Only celebrated Indian all rounder Kapil Dev had reached the 100 wicket feat quicker being a fast bowler. He got his 100th wicket in only his 25th game.
If you are an Indian fan, you may not have forgotten this moment – the decider game in Karachi after two draws. The arch-rivals were locking horn for the last time in an exciting final Test. India won the toss and invited Pakistan to bat first. The left-arm swing king – Irfan Pathan was given the ball. Salman Butt played 3 dot balls, but edged the 4th one and gave Rahul Dravid the catch in the first slip. The next player, Younis Khan, was completely puzzled by the next delivery of the swing Sultan. What was the result? Up was the finger of the umpire Simon Taufel – LBW Out. It was now the time for the hat trick ball. Pakistan had already lost two key wickets as Mohammed Yusuf was on strike and 0 runs on the board. The next ball had the bail going off in full glory just like Irfan Pathan, who celebrated his hat trick – Mohammed Yusuf was cleaned bowled.
What happened after 0-3 in the first over? Pakistan fought back and went on to win the Test match – that was quite surprising after surrendering to a hat trick in 1st over. Irfan Pathan also became the 2nd Indian bowler to claim a hat trick in a Test game.
Let’s move aside International Cricket for a while and have a look at the Indian Premier League (IPL). Irfan Pathan has taken 80 wickets in IPL and was known as a seasoned bowler. He was not only a treat to watch as a swing bowler but also had the ability not to leak runs. He had bowled 10 maiden overs in IPL. Only Pravin Kumar with 14 maidens was ahead of him. Irfan Pathan also holds the records for playing for the most number of IPL franchises among Indians. He had played for 6 diverse teams ever since the inaugural edition of the IPL in 2008. Dinesh Karthik and Parthiv Patel share the record with him.
The First Edition of the coveted ICC Awards saw many reputed names in the game of Cricket adding feathers to their already decorated caps. Rahul Dravid went on to grab the most important ‘Cricketer of the Year’ Award. Out of many awards given, one anticipated award to be given was to the most promising new player in the International arena. Backed by his amazing recent performances – thanks to his gifted ability to swing the new ball, along with his aggressive batting helped Irfan Pathan emerge as the winner. He was presented with the ‘ICC Emerging Player of the Year’ Award.
Irfan Pathan went on to continue impressing the fans and critics alike and was rightly rewarded with a slot in the ODI World ODI XI in 2006. Other players from India to feature in his team were none other than two greats of the game – Yuvraj Singh and Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
It is not the end of this recognition that Irfan Pathan has garnered while playing for India – he has won the ‘Man of the Match’ Award for a whopping 13 times (4 Tests, 7 ODIs and 2 T20s) and ‘Man of the Series’ award in Tests for twice.
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