India v Pakistan, 2nd Test, Faisalabad, 4th day January 24, 2006

Pathan's batting prowess

Irfan Pathan's latest effort at Faisalabad further underscored his burgeoning batting talent

India's move to go in with just five batsmen was made on the premise that their Nos. 6 and 7 - Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Irfan Pathan - had enough batting ability to make up for the lack of a specialist. Dhoni's astonishing century proved that theory correct, and while his innings justifiably stole the limelight, Pathan's assured knock was almost as critical to the team's cause.

Over the last five months, Pathan has made incredible strides as a batsman - four of his last eight Test innings have produced half-centuries, with two 90s thrown in as well, but more than just the sheer number of runs, what has impressed is the manner in which he has scored them. His latest effort at Faisalabad further underscored his burgeoning batting talent.

As the wagon-wheel indicates, Pathan scored more than 50% of his runs in the arc between the straight boundary and cover. His driving off the front foot was impeccable, as is suggested by the following numbers: he scored 53 runs (59%) from front-foot drives through the off side, and four of his nine fours came in that region too. Add in in-control percentage of 88, and it's apparent why the Indians believe so much in Pathan.

S Rajesh is stats editor of Cricinfo.