What's the story?
Indian seamer Irfan Pathan has picked Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman as his favourite batsmen during his stint with the national team. Lavishing praise on the two stalwarts, the 33-year old declared that they were the best batsmen whom he has bowled to in the nets. When the focus shifted to the international arena, the left-armer named Adam Gilchrist and Inzamam-ul-Haq as his toughest opponents.
"I have to say that I am very lucky to have played alongside two batsmen, VVS Laxman and Sachin Tendulkar. I had to bowl them in the nets and they were the best. Talking about internationally, I feel Adam Gilchrist and Inzamam-ul-Haq were the toughest to bowl to. Especially Gilchrist, he could hit you for a pull shot, he could loft you (and) the margin of error was quite small. Inzy (Inzamam) was (also) difficult to bowl to", Irfan told ESPNCricinfo.
When asked to choose between his hat-trick in Karachi and the match-winning spell in the 2007 World T20 Final, he affirmed, "Well that’s a difficult question but it was really fun bowling the hat-trick. Any performance that helps to contribute in winning is memorable. So at the end of the day, you want your team to win. Hence, WT20 performance gave me more satisfaction."
In the past...
Irfan played 20 Tests and 15 ODIs alongside both Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman. At the peak of his powers, the left-arm pacer was a prominent part of India's unheralded bowling attack which remained in the shadow of their more acclaimed team-mates in the batting department.
The heart of the matter
Among the 29 Tests that Irfan has played thus far, ten matches came against Pakistan. Out of those, eight were against a batting line-up containing Inzamam. The admirable exponent of swing got the better of the exalted right-hander on two occasions. Although he faced the Pakistani legend during 14 ODIs, the left-armer could not get his wicket in the 50-over format.
Also Read: The 5 best moments of Irfan Pathan's career
In six Tests against Australia, Irfan managed to dismiss Gilchrist on two occasions. Both of those came on Australian soil. Meanwhile, in ODIs, the seamer has obtained the prized scalp of the belligerent left-hander on five instances. While three of those came during the 2007 bilateral series in India, the remaining two occasions were in the 2004 VB Series down under.
After playing just two matches in the ongoing Ranji Trophy season, Irfan was sacked as Baroda skipper and also dropped from the team under controversial circumstances. Earlier this month, he admitted that his future in the game has been shrouded in uncertainty. It remains to be seen if he manages to make a comeback into his state side.
Irfan's picks for the best Indian as well as the most challenging international batsmen of his time are spot on. While Tendulkar and Laxman were two of the finest batsmen in the Indian lineup of the mid 2000s, the likes of Inzamam and Gilchrist also set the international stage ablaze with their sparkling performances.Published 18 Nov 2017, 20:27 IST