Irfan Pathan reveals how continuous cricket resulted in him being dropped from Indian team
What's the story?
Experienced all-rounder Irfan Pathan has opened up on the gruelling nature of injuries and how his decision to play continuous cricket eventually resulted in him getting dropped from the Indian team during the 2012 season. The left-armer revealed that he had sustained a serious knee fracture as a consequence of playing quite a few matches on the trot across multiple formats and could never really regain his fitness since then.
In an emotional interview with ESPNCricinfo, Irfan disclosed, "I was playing a Champions League game, the semi-final. The same night we took a flight (back to India). A couple of days in between and I played a three-day game against England. Third day, the last day, I took a flight to Baroda. From the next day onwards, I played a Ranji Trophy game against Karnataka. I scored a hundred in that game, bowled more than 20 overs in an innings. So I played about nine days continuously. My knee flared up and I got a fracture. So that was my commitment and eventually I got injured."
He added, "I haven't talked about this but this is what happened before I got injured. So, if not me, even the fittest guy would get like, you know - in terms of energy, people used to call me powerhouse because I can go on the whole day and energy was never an issue, but managing workload sometimes was an issue with me. Sometimes I used to overwork, so that was a main issue and this was happening exactly that way. I needed help as well, and I asked for help and I didn't get help."
Irfan last represented India during the 2012 World T20 Group 2 game against South Africa. Earlier that year, he also bagged a Player of the Match award in his previous ODI appearance for picking up a five-wicket haul against Sri Lanka in Pallekele.
The heart of the matter
Upon turning out for Delhi Daredevils in the semi-final of the 2012 Champions League Twenty20 in Durban, Irfan immediately took a flight back to India. After just four days of rest, the all-rounder featured in a 3-day match against the visiting England at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. He scored a handy 46 and went on to bowl 19 wicket-less overs. The match ended on November 1.
On the 2nd of November, Irfan was back to cricket and represented his state team of Baroda under the captaincy of Yusuf Pathan. During the Group B clash against Karnataka at the Moti Bagh Stadium in Vadodara, the left-hander smashed a 198-ball 121 in the first innings. He also picked up a couple of wickets from as many as 25 overs.
Irfan soon had to pay the price for pushing his body on a relentless basis. He sustained a knee fracture and sent himself into the wilderness for a significant period of time. With the emergence of younger players, the Indian selectors gradually shifted their attention away from the experienced all-rounder who began to have recurring issues with his fitness.
Irfan is currently captaining Baroda in the 2017/18 Ranji Trophy season. The southpaw registered an enterprising 80 in the opening round game against Madhya Pradesh at Indore. He will be seen in action soon when his state team take on Tripura at the Reliance Stadium in Vadodara between November 1 and 4.
When he burst on to the scene, Irfan was hailed as the next Kapil Dev in Indian cricket circles. Even though he scored more than 2500 runs and picked up over 300 wickets across all three formats of the game, the all-rounder could not live up to his enormous potential.
In an eagerness to make a Test comeback, Irfan pushed his body too hard and had to experience a steep decline in fitness which resulted in him getting dropped from the other formats too. While he only has himself to blame, the talented seamer's career can also be discerned as yet another example of the Indian team management's failure to take care of their own fast bowlers.