Reports are coming that Russian President Vladimir Putin wants Pathan junior to come to Russia as the ‘Winter Is Coming’ and he will need someone to warm his chair.
During the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction in 2015, Irfan Pathan went unsold in the first round. But then Chennai Super Kings (CSK) realised the need to have more drinks-men so they added him to the squad. He exceptionally performed the role of the bench-warmer the whole season and is now back to doing it in this year’s IPL as well albeit for a different franchise.
Reports are coming that Russian President Vladimir Putin wants Pathan junior to come to Russia as the ‘Winter Is Coming’ and he will need someone to warm his chair. And who else can do it better than Irfan?
According to sources, the Pathan household is excited with the news. Irfan’s dad was quoted as saying, ”I always believed my son would do something big. I wanted him to take the position of Kapil Dev, but it’s a moment of pride that he will now be sitting on the same chair as Putin! Inshallah, God is great!”
Our sources close to the banned CSK franchise informed that the plan before the start of last IPL was to keep swapping the role of bench-warmer between Ashish Nehra and Irfan Pathan. But Nehra’s pleasantly good form changed all the equations and ultimately the lanky left-armer made a comeback to Indian national team as well.
Similarly, the Rising Pune Supergiants (RPS) team management has informed that the plan was to keep swapping between ‘slow’ bowlers Rajat Bhatia and Irfan. But Bhatia has more ball variations than Pathan and is even slower amongst the two, hence he was given more games. Skipper MS Dhoni said, ”Over the years, Irfan has worked very hard to considerably reduce his speed and become a slow bowler, but Bhatia is just the best slow bowler in the world right now!
New franchise Rising Pune Supergainsts (RPS) named Dhoni as their skipper for the 2016 edition and Irfan’s stupendous show in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy saw him being bought by RPS. Not only did he lead Baroda to the runners-up position but also ended with most wickets at 15.76. Adding 200 runs to that at 40 and at a strike rate of almost 153. In fact, he almost made it to India’s Asia Cup and ICC World T20 2016 squads but keeping the subcontinent conditions in mind, they went ahead with the spin bowling all-rounder option of Pawan Negi.
From a national team contender in T20s to someone once again cooling heels in the dugout, Irfan’s fortunes did not change. He spent the first two games for RP Singh the dugout. In fact, Dhoni chose his dear friend RP Singh ahead of Irfan. Who can forget the infamous RP recall in the 2011 when Dhoni summoned the bowler from his vacation, to England. An unfit RP delivered by bowling an over, which was termed, ‘the worst first over in history of Test cricket’ by another great all-rounder, Ian Botham. Now, that is for some other time.
It was only after RP went for 51 in his five overs in two games; Irfan was brought in. Guess what? Defending a small total, against Kings XI Punjab, Irfan, who was once India’s strike bowler, was brought into the attack in the 10th over by Dhoni. He went for seven and that was it. He did not bowl any more and was dropped from the next game.
The way Dhoni has used Ravichandran Ashwin so far in the tournament, has raised several questions. He dropped India’s premier bowler from a couple of crucial ODIs in Australia, under bowled him in World T20 and has meted a treatment like a part-time bowler to him in this IPL. At least, Ashwin has got to play the matches and delivered against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in the last game but under Dhoni, in IPL, Irfan has played one match out of the 23 games he could have played.
That does not help the case of a 31-year old skillful all-rounder, who is still vying for a national comeback. Perhaps the man, who won Dhoni the inaugural World T20 final in 2007, deserves better than that.