The Indian cricket team once rode on the all-round performances of Irfan Pathan. His swinging deliveries and decent batting were seen by many as a solution to India's long-term quest for a quality all-rounder after. He was even proclaimed as a successor of the legendary Kapil Dev.
However, Irfan couldn't keep up with the fame and reputation as the man from Baroda slowly lost his touch. He found it difficult to pick wickets regularly and at times proved expensive. This cost his place in the Indian team towards the end of 2006.
Irfan didn't give up as he made a comeback into the Indian team for the inaugural ICC World T20 at South Africa in 2007. After some fine performances, he was drafted back into the ODI and Test squad. However, he failed to capitalise the opportunity and lost his place again.
Irfan Pathan is currently playing in the Ranji Trophy captaining the Baroda team. As quoted by the Indian Express, Pathan said that he is relishing the prospect of captaining his Ranji side. "This is a challenge I am looking forward to. There is fun in leading this team. I have an aim, and I want my team to achieve that at the end of the Ranji season. There is an added responsibility that keeps me going."
Having played under captains such as Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble and Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the left-hander said that he has had an opportunity to observe their style of approaching a game.
"Obviously, you learn after watching them on the field. As a youngster coming into the Indian team, I was no different. They are all very different human beings with their own styles. The most important aspect was to take all the good things from these guys, and then incorporate your own distinct style to it," he was quoted as saying in The Indian Express.
The all-rounder showered heaps of praise over his former captains. He said, "My education stopped after Class X. I was selected for U-15 and did not have the time to finish my schooling. My experiences under these players are all part of my education."
The 31-year old also went to say that he has never been short of motivation. He said that he was experienced enough t o handle the pressures and would be looking to helping out the youngsters in the team.
"Motivation has never been an issue for me. If that was indeed the case, I would not have been here in Palam captaining Baroda. I have been through many experiences in my professional life. I can use my experiences to help and motivate my players. I don’t want to impose myself on players.”
Irfan has played 29 Tests and 120 ODIs for India. He has also been part of the T20 squad and has played 24 matches. He last represented India in a T20 fixture against South Africa in October 2012.