The young all-rounder of India, Irfan Pathan, has proved his worth as an all-rounder while bouncing back after demonstrating a sterling performance vs. Sri Lanka.
He was side lined from the national side due to his continuous poor performance and was neglected after the second One Day International played against the Lankan Lions on February 8, 2009, at R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo.
The 27-year-old kept on working hard on the domestic circuit and got hold of his weak points which had let him down. He got back his aggressive rhythm and once again was successful in gaining the confidence of the national selectors.
The youngster was recalled in the fifth and final ODI played vs. West Indies on December 11, 2011, at MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chepauk, Chennai. He bowled 9 overs, got two scalps for 42 runs as the Blue Shirts won the match by a margin of 34 runs.
Irfan Pathan was given a chance in the Commonwealth Bank Series which involved the hosts Australia, India and Sri Lanka. He took part in four matches and picked up six wickets at an average of 30.16 runs per wicket with the best of 3-61. Vinay Kumar, who took 9 wickets in 6 games was the most successful bowler for the visitors whereas Ravichandran Ashwin got 7 after participating in 7 matches. The Men in Blue were at the receiving end in the series and did not qualify for the best of the three finals.
The left arm bowler became the blue eyed player of the selectors and they did not overlook him ever since the tri-series. He was a member of the Indian side in the Asia Cup, 2011-12, held in Bangladesh and played in all three matches. He was the top wicket taker for the visitors by taking 5 wickets along with Ashwin and Praveen Kumar.
The recently concluded series against Sri Lanka was a fantastic one for him as he demonstrated his brilliant all round performance throughout the tour. The fifth ODI of the series which was played on August 4, 2012, at Pallekele International Cricket Stadium,ended as a thriller.
The Blue Shirts batted first and hammered 294 runs for the loss of 7 wickets in 50 overs. Irfan Pathan shared an important seventh wicket stand of 77 runs with his skipper, MS Dhoni and remained unbeaten for 29 runs. He ripped through the top class batting of the Islanders by grabbing five wickets at important junctures of the match. The tourists clinched the encounter by 20 runs and he was declared ‘Player of the match’.
Irfan Pathan became the highest wicket taker in the series by grabbing 8 wickets averaging 26.37 with the best of 5-61. He scored 76 runs in five matches at an awesome average of 76.00 with the best of unbeaten 34 runs.
The Indian trip came to an end with a T20 which was played at Pallekele International Cricket Stadium, on August 7, 2012. He removed the top three batsmen with his lethal swing bowling and Sri Lanka was unable to recover after that and faced humiliation by 39 runs. Irfan Pathan was again declared ‘Player of the match’ in the only T20 and he exhibited his class through his dangerous bowling.
The young tiger has played 120 ODIs for India and has grasped 173 wickets at an average of 29.72 with the best of 5-27. He has scored 1544 runs averaging 23.39, the best of 83 with five fifties.
Irfan Pathan has almost cemented his place in the Indian side with his performances once he was recalled after a lapse of about two years and will serve the nation at international level for a long time to come.