It was Sachin Tendulkar’s idea to promote me as batsman, not Greg Chappell’s: Irfan Pathan
Pathan did not blame Chappell for his career going south, saying it is easier to make him the punching bag due to his controversial reign as India’s coach from 2005 to 2007.Updated: Jun 30, 2020 12:00 IST
Former India fast bowler Irfan Pathan has revealed that it was Sachin Tendulkar who had a role in making him bat at No. 3 for India. It was the first match of the ODI series between India and Sri Lanka in 2005 in Nagpur and Pathan’s promotion saw him score a scintillating 83 off 70 balls as India thrashed Sri Lanka by 152 runs.
Pathan went on to bat more often at the top of the order – even opening the batting for India several times – and while many hold Greg Chappell responsible for promoting Pathan, which as people believe, potentially led to the fast bowler taking his focus off bowling, the idea was in fact Tendulkar’s. Pathan however, did not blame Chappell for his career going south, saying it is easier to make him the punching bag due to his controversial reign as India’s coach from 2005 to 2007.
“I had said this after I had announced my retirement as well. Those who talk about Greg Chappell spoiling my career, by sending me as an allrounder at No. 3 and all these things… Actually, it was Sachin paaji’s idea. He advised Rahul Dravid to send me at No. 3. He said ‘he (Irfan) has the power to hit sixes, can take on the new ball and can play the fast bowlers well too,” Pathan told Raunak Kapoor on his channel Beyond The Field.
“It was tried for the first time in the series against Sri Lanka when Muralitharan was at his peak, and the idea was to attack him as well. [Dilhara] Fernando back then had started the concept of the split-finger slower ball. Batsmen didn’t understand that too well, so the belief was if I could pull it off, it could work in our favour, especially since it was the first match of the series. It’s not true that Greg Chappell spoiled my career. Since he was not from India, it is easier to make him a punching.”
In a recent interview, Pathan had revealed how the team management was not clear in communicating to him his roles as his career progressed. Pathan had a rampant start to his career, becoming the fastest Indian bowler to take 100 ODI wickets (in 59 matches). The record stood for 13 years before Mohammed Shami broke it. But as things progressed, Pathan’s role changed. From a new-ball bowler, he went on to become the first or second change. From 100 wickets in 59 games, Pathan’s next 73 would require another 61 matches.
“The people who have really harmed me, about that I’d just say that they didn’t support me the way they should have,” Pathan said. “We played a match against Sri Lanka in 2008 and I helped India win it when 60 odd runs were needed off 28 and seven wickets had fallen. I had taken wickets in that match and before that had picked up four wickets from two games. I dismissed Sanath Jayasuriya three times in that series.
“After that, after taking me to New Zealand, I did not get a game and I was dropped from the team. And this kept happening. I agree I got injured, but a roadmap that should be given to a bowler to make a return from it, wasn’t offered to me.”