They say he’s ‘old wine in a new bottle’—it fits in aptly here. Irfan Pathan is vintage, one can call him that, can’t they? When he arrived at the international scene, he was a fast bowler, notching up speeds of 140kmph+ at will, and to add to that, he was no mug with the bat; so much so that he even opened the batting for the Blues under Greg Chappell. He failed—simple as that. As we speak he is playing a crucial Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy match against East Zone, where he will look to show the franchises his full repertoire and impress them.
So, to cut the long story short, he was somebody who probably got caught in a tussle between batting and bowling, could not focus on one aspect and soon, faded away. When IPL was launched, he played for the Punjab XI, Delhi Daredevils and the Sunrisers Hyderabad franchise. This year as we inch closer to the auctions, Irfan Pathan at Rs 10 lakh is going to be a player in every franchise’s radar because of his ability to swing the new ball and play lower in the batting order as a big-hitting finisher.
But there’s a sordid tale lurking behind his IPL journey. He got injured in 2015 when he was supposed to play for the Chennai franchise. This year he is again up for grabs, come 20th February. This time, at the lowest base price of merely Rs 10 lakh. His pace may have dipped but he has widened his repertoire, slower balls, off-cutters and lately, he has added the knuckle ball in his arsenal as well.
With the bat, he has the reputation of clearing the ropes with some lusty hitting at the end.
So, if franchisees are looking for a swing bowler and a handy batsman at a budgeted price—ah, well! Who isn’t?—then Irfan Pathan could be a hot pick.