Irfan Pathan is one of the most loved fast bowlers in Indian cricket history. When he first started playing international cricket for India, he had looks of a stunning Pathan and he could swing the ball both ways, at pace, in fact, at very good pace. He made a brilliant start to his international career and remained a crucial part of the team across all three formats of the game for good 5 years or so.
But, once he lost his form and fitness due to injuries, comeback always slipped away from his reach. But, to his credit, he hasn’t lost hope and keeps giving his best at the domestic level for his zone and state ‘Baroda’, every season.
Before the start of the Ranji Trophy 2017-18 season, Irfan Pathan was made the captain of Baroda because the selectors felt he can pass on his valuable international experience to the youngsters and keep them motivated throughout the season. An official announcement was also made.
But, right at the start of the season, the dashing all-rounder was asked to step down from captaincy and Deepak Hooda was named the new captain of Baroda team for the 2017-18 season of Ranji Trophy.
This was the official statement from the secretary of Baroda Cricket Association (BCA) Snehal Parikh.
“The selection committee took a call to drop Irfan Pathan and pick Deepak Hooda as the captain. If you look at the season, from this year onwards we will be playing only six league games. Baroda lost to Madhya Pradesh and last game, the result didn’t go in our favour. The selectors thought it should be ideal if we try a new captain for the next game.”
Mr. Parikh gave a cricketing reason to justify the axing of Irfan Pathan. But, Crictracker.com has posted a story which claims Irfan was dropped due to non-cricketing reasons.
Here are some experts from the report:
Digging deeper into the matter we understand that Irfan who was appointed the captain ahead of the start of the season and entrusted with the responsibility to groom youngsters and to mentor the team had indeed fallen as he didn’t bow down on team selection.
A source who was in the privy of the developments told CricTracker, “The selectors asked Irfan to pick a particular spinner in the XI for the Andhra match. Irfan didn’t agree since it was a green wicket and being a spinner, he would struggle. The intention was to plant his failure and ouster him from the team eventually. Irfan disagreed and clarified that he wouldn’t play with someone’s career just like that.”
“This didn’t go down well with the selectors and as they had the next opportunity to sit down and pick a team, they appointed Hooda as the captain to send across a message that those who didn’t do what they asked will have a similar fate,” the source added.
Crictracker.com also approached Irfan Pathan to know his side of story but the all-rounder didn’t say much.
“Performance isn’t the issue. Fitness isn’t an issue. Discipline isn’t an issue. The reason you can find out from BCA,” Irfan Pathan said.
Read crictracker.com’s full report here