Playing only a single match so far for Rising Pune Supergiants, Pathan's career is going nowhere © Getty Images
Playing only a single match so far for the Rising Pune Supergiants, Pathan’s career is going nowhere © Getty Images

India has always been a team that has produced some ace batsmen. On the hindsight, the team has equally failed to produce efficient bowlers since time immemorial. Bowlers have come and gone by due to poor form and less backing by the team management resulting in sudden ouster. The list of such players is sadly long in our cricket crazy nation and still no light has been showered on them. The Indian cricket team’s tour to Australia in  2003-04 saw the birth of a young speedster from Vadodra, Irfan Pathan. Once regarded as the poster boy of Indian cricket, Pathan, began his career in full swing. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Gujarat Lions, IPL 2016, Match 34 at Hyderabad

He became the instant attraction amongst senior players and spectators with his ability of controlled swing bowling. His extract pace, efficient bounce and swing in alien conditions in Australia, was lauded by many on lookers. By the look of his bowling actions, it seemed another Wasim Akram was in the making. He showed promising signs in his first assignment overseas and followed it up with some solid performances in India’s tour of Pakistan in 2004 and few home series.  His hat-trick versus arch-rivals, Pakistan, in the 2006 away series was phenomenal. Getting the better of quality players like Ricky Ponting, Adam Gilchrist, Andrew Symonds, Younis Khan and Inzaman-ul-Haq contributed to his immense rise as a bowler.

The darkest phase of the speedster came in the Greg Chappell era. This can be claimed as unforgettable era for Indian team as this lead to rifts between senior players, somewhere affecting an aspiring and crucial bowler for India. Trying to experiment in the batting line-up prompted the former-Australian-turned-coach to promote Irfan Pathan at No.3 in the batting position. Though this move was termed bizarre by many back then, it bore good results for the team. As a result, Pathan concentrated more on his batting and started to lose grip on his bowling skills. The moment Pathan lost his form with the bat, he looked out of sorts and clueless about his role in the team. As a result, Pathan soon lost his spot to other emerging pacers like Ishant Sharma, S Sreesanth etc of that era. His last appearance in the blue jersey was in the fourth edition of the ICC WT20, hosted by Sri Lanka. ALSO READ: Irfan Pathan regrets getting injured at peak form

Till date his playing days in the Indian team looks bleak. Despite an impressive performance in the Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy — India’s domestic T20 tournament— he was ignored by the selectors for the ICC World T20 in India. He was the leading wicket-taker with 17 scalps to his name and made some vital contributions with the willow as well. He is currently in the squad of the new franchise, Rising Pune Supergiants (RPS) of IPL 2016, sadly has not been given the desired role yet, barring the game against Kings XI Punjab (KXIP).

This clearly shows the mentality of our limited-over skipper, MS Dhoni and the team management. He is not enjoying the backing of his seniors even when India are in dire need of all-rounders to their side. Days of a quality fast bowler with batting abilities is definitely short. Speculations regarding his comeback in Indian colors look dim and this maybe a lost opportunity for Indian cricket, more than him.

(Aditya Sahay is a journalist with CricketCountry.)