Irfan Pathan last played for India in 2012 and is best remembered for taking a hat-trick in the first over of the Test match against Pakistan in Karachi in 2006. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Irfan Pathan, who last played for India in 2012, has announced his retirement from all forms of cricket. Irfan is best remembered for being the Man of the Match for his haul of 3/16 in the final of the 2007 World T20 which helped India beat Pakistan by five runs to win the title for the first time. The left-arm all-rounder, who was hailed as the next Kapil Dev for his all-round exploits, had burst onto the scene in grand fashion 16 years ago with a sensational spell during an Under-19 match. During the match against Bangladesh in Lahore, Pathan picked up 9/16 and that saw him getting fast-tracked into the Indian cricket team for the series against Australia in 2003/04.
During the Sydney Test, Pathan's best moment came when he managed to clean up Adam Gilchrist with a reverse-swinging yorker as India pushed for a win but Australia held firm to draw the Test. India had managed to stand tall on Australian shores after nearly two decades as the four-Test series ended 1-1. From that point on, Pathan was one of the key members in the Indian side, bowling brilliantly in the series in Pakistan which India won the ODIs 3-2 and the Test series 2-1.
Pathan played 29 Tests, 120 ODIs and 24 T20Is. In 29 Tests, he picked up 100 wickets while in ODIs and T20Is, he ended with 173 wickets and 28 wickets. He had several memorable moments in his career and it began with the 2006 Test against Pakistan in Karachi. Bowling the first over of the day, Pathan managed to get rid of Salman Butt, Younis Khan and Mohammad Yousuf as he became the second Indian player after Harbhajan Singh to take a Test hat-trick.
The left-arm pacer kept his best for Pakistan, taking three wickets in the final including that of the dangerous Shahid Afridi for 0 as India dispelled the gloom of not making the knockouts of the 2007 World Cup by winning the World T20 in South Africa in grand style. It was against Pakistan in Bangalore but it was in the Perth Test against Australia where he made the biggest impact. He took three and two wickets respectively and chipped in with vital knocks of 28 and 46 as India became the first Asian team to win a Test at the WACA in Pertrh against Australia.
However, as the years progressed, Pathan was troubled by injury and a dip in pace and form. His last competitive outing was in 2012 against the West Indies in ODIs. After he was shunned from the Indian team, Pathan moved to Jammu and Kashmir in 2018 and became the player cum mentor capacity. Despite his India days being behind him, he featured for several IPL teams which included Gujarat Lions, Rising Pune Supergiant, Chennai Super Kings, Sunrisers Hyderabad and Delhi Daredevils.
Having established himself as a much-sought after cricket commentator, Pathan leaves behind a trail of memories that will be remembered for a very long time by the Indian cricket fan.