Tributes poured in from all corners as Irfan Pathan announced his retirement on Saturday. The former India cricketer brought down curtains on his international and domestic career. Irfan Pathan will go down in history as one of the finest allrounders to have played for India although he could not really deliver on the expectations in the later part of his career.
He arrived at the scene as a swing bowling prodigy and made his debut on the famous 2003-04 tour of Australia. He was only 19 when he received his debut cap for the Adelaide Test and made an instant impression by dismissing the great Matthew Hayden as India registered a famous victory down under. Irfan grew in stature as time passed as he started impressing with the ball as well as the bat.
But he could not really deliver in the same manner after the first two or three years in international cricket. Eventually, he represented India in 29 Tests, 120 ODIs and 24 T20Is over a span of 16 years and ended up with 301 international wickets in all formats. Irfan Pathan also managed to score more than 2500 runs across all 3 formats of the game including a century against Pakistan in Test.
As Irfan hung up his boots, his former IPL team Chennai Super Kings took to Twitter to pay him a glowing tribute. The franchise recalled Irfan’s famous hat-trick against Pakistan in 2006 and also wished him luck for his debut Tamil film, tweeting:
“Super farewell to the only man who’s claimed a hat-trick in the first over of a Test match! Here’s wishing a smooth transition from the First Over Show to First Day First Show! #Yellove you always.”
Super farewell to the only man who's claimed a hat-trick in the first over of a Test match! Here's wishing a smooth transition from the First Over Show to First Day First Show! #Yellove you always. #WhistlePodu 🦁💛 pic.twitter.com/oZhVMr1IKm
— Chennai Super Kings (@ChennaiIPL) January 4, 2020
The left-arm pacer replied to CSK’s tweet in Tamil. “Romba Nandri 🙏🙏 ungaloda intha anbum aatharavu than enakku eppavum theva 🙏 Namma pullingo ellam happy aagura maathri puthu avatharathula seekirama varen 😊,” wrote Irfan.
Romba Nandri 🙏🙏 ungaloda intha anbum aatharavu than enakku eppavum theva 🙏 Namma pullingo ellam happy aagura maathri puthu avatharathula seekirama varen 😊
— Irfan Pathan (@IrfanPathan) January 5, 2020
‘Knew time was up in 2016’: Irfan Pathan
After announcing his retirement, Irfan Pathan said that he knew in 2016 that his time in international cricket was done. However, he decided to continue after being asked to mentor and play for the Jammu and Kashmir cricket team in the 2017-18 season. He last played a competitive game in February 2019 during the Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy for Jammu and Kashmir.
“I knew I was not going to make a comeback to the Indian team in 2016. That year I was the (3rd) highest run-scorer (for Baroda) in Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. That time when I spoke to the selectors, the selectors were not very happy about my bowling,” he told Star Sports.
“When you know that the selectors are not very happy with your bowling even though you have produced results, you know you are not going to get selected. It was 2016-17 I knew my time is up. I still kept pushing.
“I could have retired at that time, I had some of the league offers as well. But at that time something came in my way which I am glad I took it. Jammu Kashmir cricket, mentoring and playing with them and I am glad I am able to make some sort of difference for them.
“That’s why I did not announce it that time, I announced it now. Who knows, I can keep playing some fun cricket for the next 5 years. I am just 35 now,” Irfan added.
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