Everyone used to compare him with Wasim Akram: Suresh Raina heaps praise on India cricketer
In an Instagram chat with Irfan Pathan, India batsman Suresh Raina said how everyone had started to compare the left-armer with legendary Pakistan cricketer Wasim Akram because of his early success.Updated: Jun 06, 2020 11:23 IST
Former India all-rounder Irfan Pathan had made his India debut at the age of 19 against Australia in 2002. After immediately grabbing attention with his abilities to bring the ball back into the right-hander in Australia, Pathan became a regular in India’s side and was picked for India’s tour of Pakistan in 2004 under Sourav Ganguly’s captaincy. The left-armer got six wickets in the first Test at Multan and went to play in the next two Test matches in Lahore and Rawalpindi too.
Pathan’s early success with the ball coupled with his boy-next-door looks made him one of the poster boys of Indian cricket. In an Instagram chat with Irfan, India batsman Suresh Raina said how everyone had started to compare the left-armer with legendary Pakistan cricketer Wasim Akram.
“Everybody used to compare you (Irfan) with Wasim Akram. The long and curly hair, almost like the brand ambassador of head and shoulders. When I came into the Indian side in 2005 you were already such a big name, very famous,” said Raina, who had made his ODI debut for India against Sri Lanka in 2005.
Raina’s comments came as a welcome change as during Irfan’s first tour to Pakistan in 2004, then Pakistan head coach Javed Miandad had said that bowlers like Pathan can be found on any street in Pakistan.
“I remember Javed Miandad saying something like bowlers like Pathan are there in every street of Pakistan. My father, I remember, reading that news, he didn’t like it at all,” Pathan had said recalling the incident in a Star Sports Show ‘Cricket Connected’.
Pathan, however, etched his name on the history books in India’s next tour of Pakistan a year later in 2006. The Baroda all-rounder became the second India and the first medium pacer to claim a Test hat-trick when he dismissed Salman Butt, Younis Khan and Mohammad Yousuf in the third Test at Karachi.
India, unfortunately, went on to lose that Test match and the series but Pathan’s performance remained in the memories of all Indian cricket fans.
Irfan announced his retirement from all forms of cricket last year. Irfan played 29 Tests, 120 ODIs and 24 T20Is for India picking up 100, 173, and 28 wickets respectively. He also has 1105 Test runs and 1544 ODI runs to his credit.