India in Sri Lanka 2012

What is Irfan Pathan?

Bowler? Bowler who can bat? Allrounder? Bowler who can't bowl his quota?

Sidharth Monga

July 13, 2012

Comments: 80 | Text size: A | A

Irfan Pathan played some powerful shots to the on side, India v Sri Lanka, CB Series, Brisbane, February 21, 2012
He can bat, but does that help Irfan Pathan keep his place in the side? © Getty Images
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News : Irfan replaces injured Vinay Kumar
Players/Officials: Irfan Pathan
Series/Tournaments: India tour of Sri Lanka
Teams: India

Irfan Pathan is back. Again. Not in Terminator sort of way. Not least because he didn't promise he'd be back when he left. He never does.

Nor is this a Rambo-like sequel. This is the continuation of the old story featuring that same unanswered question: who exactly is Irfan Pathan? To be precise, what exactly is Irfan Pathan?

Irfan began as a delightful swing bowler. Then he became an occasional pinch-hitter who batted more than he slogged, with genuine potential for being an allrounder. Then as his bowling deserted him, he eked out appearances because of his batting. Then he was dropped, forgot his batting, and came back as a bowler who batted better than the designated allrounder in the same side but wasn't allowed to bat higher than No. 9. Consequently he is a specialist bowler who has bowled his quota in only three of the last ten ODIs he has played in.

One of those uncompleted quotas - nine overs for 61 runs against Bangladesh, which contributed to an India loss - seemed to have put him aside for a while, but in a can't-live-with-or-without-you manner, India have called Irfan back again to replace an injured specialist bowler. There is no rule set in stone to suggest that a replacement should be strictly like for like, which could suggest picking him ahead of Praveen Kumar might be a belated admission that the original squad for Sri Lanka was an allrounder short. However, don't hold your breath: Irfan is not considered an allrounder. That much was clear in Australia, his first proper test on his last comeback.

MS Dhoni, his captain, said as much when he bemoaned the absence of a "seaming allrounder" even before that ODI series began. That statement needs to be seen in the context of Ravindra Jadeja, the preferred allrounder, struggling to bowl well on seamer-friendly pitches and being clearly out of his depth as a batsman at No. 7. So stubborn was Dhoni that even when Irfan was eventually picked, thanks to injuries to others, he was sent in at No. 9, behind R Ashwin. Sure enough, at No. 9, Irfan hit a six crucial to India coming out with a tie.

When Dhoni sat out a game because of an over-rate ban, stand-in captain Virender Sehwag promoted Irfan to No. 7, where he scored an attractive 47 off 34, only for Dhoni to return and demote him to No. 9 again. It was clear that despite the conditions being in Irfan's favour, India were not going to use him as an allrounder, for whatever the term is worth in the Indian ODI squad context. Even when they left Jadeja out in an Asia Cup game, Yusuf Pathan was his direct replacement, and Irfan had to rely on his bowling alone.

What perhaps goes unsaid here is that Dhoni doesn't want to play with any fewer than four fielders who can dive around and help him control the game. That was the reason he kept out one of the big three. And with the openers and himself ruled out, Dhoni is left with just three if Irfan is played at No. 7 with more specialist bowlers to follow. Jadeja can dive around; Irfan is strictly a safe fielder. It appears that four extraordinary fielders is a non-negotiable: when Jadeja has played himself out of the team, India are happy with a batsman who can bowl part-time spin but, more importantly, allows Dhoni to control the game through his fielding. It doesn't help that since Kapil Dev India have produced only one fast bowler who is also a better-than-safe fielder, Ajit Agarkar.

Irfan was to keep his place in the side on his bowling alone. He is simply not back to being a good enough bowler to do so, especially in the subcontinent. The captain's lack of trust in Irfan's bowling shows in how he repeatedly fails to bowl his ten overs, despite there being two new balls, which should counter his ineffectiveness with the old ball to some extent. Sooner or later he was bound to lose his place, and it happened in Bangladesh. With India hardly playing any cricket outside the subcontinent in the near future, his goose seemed to have been cooked.

Not quite. When R Vinay Kumar was ruled out with a hamstring injury, India went to Irfan, and not Praveen Kumar, a better specialist bowler by all accounts. Which brings us back to the possibility that the selectors might have picked Irfan to address the absence of an allrounder, once again a term to be taken with a pinch of salt in the Indian context.

Now that he has been picked - for whatever reasons - it will be interesting to see how India use him. If they play him as a specialist bowler, they might not have the luxury of not bowling him out, what with part-time spinners already under pressure to share their quota of ten overs. If he is played at No. 7, Dhoni will have to make do with just three fielders capable of charging and diving around the field. There is also the possibility of his not getting a game. Yet another series, then, in the life of the unanswered question: what exactly is Irfan Pathan?

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by bleedblue_sach on (July 16, 2012, 11:55 GMT)

Irfab can be more than just a replacement to Vinay Kumar, why the hell the selectors are going for Vinay at the first place.. Pity!

Posted by ProdigyA on (July 15, 2012, 14:05 GMT)

The best solution is to drop Dhoni. No politics just pure sport.

Posted by india_champ on (July 15, 2012, 11:36 GMT)

@ Binu Joseph :- despite of all those ducks Agarkar has better average and better Strike Rate both as a bowler and as a batsman...and if u r speaking about 1 match then am quite sure that no one has forgotten what happened in world cup 2003 FINALs?? and ofcourse the 1 Over of it....???

Posted by   on (July 15, 2012, 9:57 GMT)

No matter Irfan Dhoni or any body LIONS WILL BLOW THEM OUT

Posted by   on (July 15, 2012, 7:13 GMT)

@ india champ add the five consecutive ducks also with his stat and 1999 wc match vs zim

Posted by india_champ on (July 15, 2012, 6:21 GMT)

Continuing with my stats on Agarkar...here is what our best bowler (zaheer) has done:- Batting (ODIs) :- 790 runs at average of 12.15 and strike rate on 73.55, 69 4s and 24 6s, Higest of 34 and 42 Catches all in 195 matches Bowling (ODIs) :- 278 Wickets @ 29.03 with economy of 4.91, 7 4 for and only 1 5 for. Strike Rate on 35.4 Now tell me if Zak is considered the best, how come Agarkar turn out to be useless even after the fact that he has much better stats??? only if Economy which he has of 5.07 is just a touch higer then ZAK??? any comments on how selectors work??? ANY ONE???

Posted by india_champ on (July 15, 2012, 6:11 GMT)

well while reading the article i came across a name AJIT AGARKAR (does anyone remembers him any more)..well i will share some of his stats here :- 3rd Highest Wicket Taker in ODIs for India (288, only after greats like Kumble & Srinath) at economy of 5.07 (consider a touch higher) and average of 27.85 (certainly good) held record for fatest to reach 50Wickets (broken by Mendis) took 4 for 10 times and twice achieved 5 For in ODIs. took 52 catches (was considered as one of the safest fielder) could ball consistantly at 135+ awesome inswing and outswings he had. That was bowling now comes batting :- Fastest half century for India (21 Balls) 3 50+ score whith highest of 95 batting at No. 3. Average 14.58 (good for lower order batsman) 103 4s and 22 6s, Strike Rate of 80.62 (better then plenty) and fastest to make 1000 Runs and take 200 Wickets in ODIs even before Kallis. century at lords in tests ofcourse... So the question is where is he now??? y was he dropped when he was in top form??

Posted by varshabc on (July 15, 2012, 4:42 GMT)

Irfan in my opinion, if he learns to bowl fast accurate left arm spinners (like jayasoorya or Ghavri)' , he would be very useful for the team. He can start with a new ball (two to three overs) and then in the middle overs use the old ball to bowl some quick spinners . This is also useful when it is found the pitches are more suitable for slow stuff rather than for the medium pacers. By doing this he could also save some energy which would be helpful for the fielding nd batting

Posted by   on (July 15, 2012, 0:54 GMT)

I think he's a bowling allrounder, he will do a good job with the ball but he offers something with the bat at number 7 or 8, he is good enough to be promoted to pinch hit. His test batting average of 30 is very similar to flintoff from england and he was a genuine allrounder

Posted by   on (July 14, 2012, 19:03 GMT)

Praveen could have been a better replacement than Irfan, specially because Irfan does not bowl that well in death and even Praveen at times is handy with bat too. I used to be a great fan of Jr Pathan, but somehow it was for his batting skills. Bowling has constantly faded. I will pick him in 14, but would not give him a match till someone gets injured. Yes he can be used as an allrounder, but not when we have such a list of great Batsmen. And once yuvraj is back that allrounder slot closes on its own. An ideal setup without Tendulkar would be 1- Gambhir, 2- Sehwag, 3- Kohli, 4- Yuvraj, 5-Rohit, 6-Raina, 7-Dhoni, 8- Ashwin, 9-Praveen, 10- Zaheer, 11- U Yadav with Tiwary and Rahane batting backups and Vinay and Irafn bowling backups. We need to also choose between Ojha and Jadeja, because Ojha has continuously done well as an international bowler.

Posted by sameer111111 on (July 14, 2012, 18:54 GMT)

The question should be "why on earth was Vinay Kumar in the team in the first place?"

Posted by gorinka on (July 14, 2012, 18:27 GMT)

"WHO IS IRFAN PATHAN " "WHAT IS IRFAN PATHAN" ... DIALOGUES LIKE THIS WERE USED OFTEN BY INDIAN SELECTORS AND SPORTS EDITORS .... UNTILL HE PROVE HIMSELF IN THE FIELD.

RECAL HIS MATCH WINNING PERFORMANCES IN PAST. IT IS NATURAL IN OUR COUNTRY TO COMMENT AS WE HAVE "FREE DUMP" TO SPEECH.

BETTER COMMENT AFTER AUGUST 4.WHO IS WHAT AND WHO IS CAUGHT

Posted by   on (July 14, 2012, 18:01 GMT)

Irfan bowls 127-135-138 in his comeback that s no bad only problem is with his line that is because he is trying too much for the swing. I was watching SL - PAK series all the avrage speed is 132-138 so line and length is better than speec

Posted by   on (July 14, 2012, 17:18 GMT)

Irfan Pathan seems to be the new Ajit Agarkar for India. Both his batting and bowling have been mediocre, so to that extent he is neither a bowling allrounder nor a batting one. But compared to Vinay Kumar he is a safer bet; Vinay Kumar takes some wickets now and then, but he goes for oodles for runs and lacks experience outside home, he would have surely become a mincemeat for SL batsmen. Thank god, he is out.

Posted by   on (July 14, 2012, 17:04 GMT)

lets be realistic here. He has gone past his sell by date long ago...

Posted by Snehaa on (July 14, 2012, 16:11 GMT)

Look at Umesh Yadav..now THAT is a bowler, consistently bowls at 140+. ..UMESH =SPEARHEAD. Can anyone imagine Irfan to be a spearhead? that will be a joke. Irfan pathan's true value is an All rounder, a good batsman and a decent bowler..in the same vein as Madan Lal in the past.

Posted by krik8crazy on (July 14, 2012, 15:23 GMT)

The Irfan of today is a pale shadow of the promising young bowler of his early years. But he can still be useful in conditions that favor swing. He can also be a useful #6 batsman at test level. Don't think about the fact that he cannot hold a place in the side for long. Just use him once in a while when the situation is favorable to do so. If I were the captain I would have a useful cricketer like him in the squad because he can be a handy substitute player.

Posted by   on (July 14, 2012, 14:28 GMT)

I really want Pathan to play for my team he's that good of an all-rounder and would swap him for anyone. Like his style ;)

Posted by woodhaven on (July 14, 2012, 12:59 GMT)

Who ever washim akram touches, he becomes a failure. Irfan pathan ruined by akram

Posted by Ebenesh_RDravid on (July 14, 2012, 12:47 GMT)

Irfan Pathan is now a batsman who can finish matches and turn it around big shots in a more effective manner than Yusuf and even Raina in aussie conditions. We've to him as efficiently as possible, in the top 7 and let him bowl 10 overs based on that day's bowling..... IRFAN PATHAN can do a Angelo Matthews kind of role in 2015 WC and future.

Posted by joe_blog on (July 14, 2012, 12:24 GMT)

Irfan has not been managed well...sad to say but I think he would have achieved a lot more if he played for some other country.

Posted by Percy_Fender on (July 14, 2012, 12:21 GMT)

I have never believed that Dhoni is a bowler's captain. He also has preferences like Saurav Ganguly used to have. For Irfan to be better than he has been in recent times as a bowler I think he should be bowling round the wicket more aiming for middle and off stump and his inswinging yorkers which I hardly ever see him bowl. He could become more effective if howled cutters with the old ball. I am hopeful that this tour might be the turning point in his career if he uses his brains a bit and see others like Philander,Perera, Sammy and Kulasekhara apart from Junaid who is also a left hander.He is a fair enough bat and fielder and so wil not be a liability.

Posted by Mangaloregr8 on (July 14, 2012, 12:07 GMT)

I blame MSD for India not having a proper allrounder in the side. Ganguly's captainship was the last era where India had good all rounders coz Sourav used them well at times needed. Sehwag, Sachin, Sourav himself contributed those spaces when Yuvraj or any other regular bowlers failed. But Dhoni sticks on to his favorites Raina, Ashwin, Jadeja & even if the selectors selects Irfan or Yusuf or Rohit, MSD doesn't utilize them in the way they should be. MSD is a great captain, No doubt; but he needs to work on this area as well.

Posted by 777aditya on (July 14, 2012, 11:47 GMT)

why dont India use IP like NZ use James Franklin?!

Posted by eZoha on (July 14, 2012, 11:19 GMT)

Decision making of Dhoni and Srikanth has been very reactive and myopic, to say the least. They have been at the helm for 4-5 years now. With BCCI controlling everything in world cricket, Team India should have been dominating the field by now. And they should have the plans, as well as players in the pipeline to dominate the next decade too. Current situation is exactly the opposite. Where is the next bunch of Yuvi, Shewag, Zaheer, Bhajji and co. that were developed under Ganguly a decade ago? As far as the selection of Irfan Pathan goes, he should be in the team in all three formats. Players with lesser ability have been persisted with and molded into good allrounders in different teams. He is surely low in confidence now, so give him enough games before you think of an alternative. Jadeja was given an extended run. Why can't Irfan have one then?

Posted by Tendulkars_Tennis_Elbow on (July 14, 2012, 10:26 GMT)

Good question Monga. I think Pathan doesn't know it either. Time for some young talent to be inducted. B.Aparajith comes to mind.

Posted by ansram on (July 14, 2012, 10:12 GMT)

What is Irfan Pathan? A bits and pieces cricketer. A jack of all trades but master of none. He should have continued to improve as a bowler after his promising debut, and he kept moving backward in this department. We don't want batsmen who can bowl a bit type of all rounder. We want bowlers who can bat type of all rounder.

Posted by ArbindChristy on (July 14, 2012, 10:11 GMT)

Irfan??? Who promised a lot...who gave biriyani to Dhoni, Who acts as if he is a cricket guru..a master class..who smiles for nothing....but sm1 who can only bowl slow and slower pies...who can't field...who can hit a slow ball down the leg for a 60m six....wish he could match what Flintoff or Andrew Symonds one day!!!

Posted by Ranjan2012 on (July 14, 2012, 8:59 GMT)

"What is Irfan Pathan ??" Irfan Pathan is his early days was a superb "medium pacer" ,had a nippy yorker ,& the "beauty" was the one that darts in rather than going out, his pace was 134-135 kmph.

"What is Irfan Pathan ??? During " Hey Days" an good left hander with a great cover drive.

What is Irafan Pathan ??? Ask Greg Chappell too !!!! He has got the right answer .

Posted by AMAZINGFAN on (July 14, 2012, 8:55 GMT)

irfan irfan irfan?i don't know why he gets so much support .he is not a great bowler,not a great batsman,not an all rounder but these indians wants him in the team for no reason.people who are criticizing dhoni should remember the fact that he won t20 and odi world cup for india.in sub continent conditions u need spinners not fast bowlers.dhoni did the right thing by dropping mediocre bowler like irfan.ind doesn't have genuine fast bowlers except yadav.irfan bowls with medium pace of 125-130 and it is easy to hit him with that kind of pace.he needs to develop his skills in bowling since his team needs that badly.

Posted by i_witnessed_2011 on (July 14, 2012, 7:53 GMT)

Its Dhoni who is reluctant in Using Irfan of his full potential. The reason we do not know. The reaon goes beyond the fielding capability I think. He is a very good batsmen, Swing bowler, decent fielder and mainly he has never die attitude. In my opinion, he mustbe integral part of team and should be given a long run for the second time. Then only we could know who is Irfan Pathan.

Posted by WISHnU on (July 14, 2012, 7:04 GMT)

irfan is selected...i m happy...but it is sad to read some comments regarding north and south issues...even now there is only one INDIAN from south in the 15 member squad check it out...i m sure irfan deserves the chance...at the same time please avoid these north vs south comments... please publish.......by an INDIAN...

Posted by   on (July 14, 2012, 6:49 GMT)

Irfan Pathan should have followed Mashrafe bin Mortaza's example. After a long injury, he looked to cut down on pace and increase variations (like legcutters). This made him a pretty effective bowler who could bowl 10 decent overs.

Posted by mritunjai on (July 14, 2012, 6:33 GMT)

Ajit Agarkar, the best fast bowling fielder....finally some praise for the man :)

Posted by rsurya on (July 14, 2012, 5:53 GMT)

@niddib. exactly correct.

Posted by cimrsimg on (July 14, 2012, 5:16 GMT)

@Semoli: Better options than Irfan, as all rounder?? Please enlighten us. Please name them so that even selection committee would know them. I hope none of them have initials RJ.

Posted by Leggie on (July 14, 2012, 4:54 GMT)

May be a change in the way Dhoni thinks of Irfan Pthan will help here, if he is treated as a specialist batsman who can also chip in with some overs...

Posted by mukesh_LOVE.cricket on (July 14, 2012, 4:46 GMT)

What India need is irfan to turn the clock back and once again become that 19 year old boy who could swing the ball with beautiful control and ability , bring his pace back to mid 130's ...question is , if he could do all that as a 19 year old why cant he now ? he is only 27 now ! his present version sucks to be very frank and will be out of team soon..it is disappointing to see someone who had the talent to become India's wasim akram blow all of it away..

Posted by VivGilchrist on (July 14, 2012, 4:18 GMT)

As an Aussie, I can't believe Pathan is not chosen as a number 7 in all 3 formats of the game. He is India's best and only truly genuine all-rounder.

Posted by   on (July 14, 2012, 3:32 GMT)

There was some talk earlier of Irfan honing some leg spin skills. At his pace, if he can genuinely turn himself into a leg spinner. he can fill the vacuum left by Anil Kumble. Anil Kumble himself started bowling first as a medium pacer and then turned to leg spin bowler. who knows...Irfan might turn out to be that LEGSPIN ALLROUNDER- especially on Sri Lankan wickets at his medium (mediocre) pace!! Good luck to him.

Posted by   on (July 14, 2012, 3:00 GMT)

Irfan batted really well in last few games,he should always be preferred than jadeja,bt i don't understand why dhoni is always against him. Gambhir, Sehwag, Kohli, Rohit, Raina, Dhoni, Irfan, Ashwin, Zaheer, Yadav, Ojha

Posted by 1MAK7 on (July 14, 2012, 2:46 GMT)

I have always believed that he deserves a spot based on his batting. He seems better suited and far more consistent than Jadeja or Yusuf for the No.7 slot. His bowling should only be seen as an added incentive. Make him, along with Raina and Rohit, play the fifth bowlers role. The only difference being that Irfan gets to bowl upfront when there is some swing in the air and if required, in the middle overs where 5 or 5.5 an over seems acceptable. This would also save Zaheer's overs for the death. Its beyond me how Dhoni or the Indian selectors fail to see Irfan's batting potential, something Sachin pointed out very early in his career.

Posted by Dev_Anand on (July 14, 2012, 1:28 GMT)

jasonpete - well said. I really can't understand the love affair that some of us Indians have with Irfan. He has been crap for few years now. We need geniune bowlers than allrounders. There are few in the team that can make up the 10 overs. And to all the Dhoni Haters, he has made us the world champions in both ODI's and T20 and no.1 in test cricket. I know that others have contributed to it but give him some credit. Other countries would love to have captain like Dhoni.

Posted by niddib on (July 13, 2012, 23:36 GMT)

The obvious reason why Dhoni is not asking Irfan to bat higher up in the order is that Irfan can bat in the same mould as Dhoni- defend and then accelerate if needed. If Irfan is successful in finishing games for India and has an added advantage of being able to bowl, then Dhoni's importance will be diminished and will be under more pressure when not performing. Irfan has in him what it takes to be a genuine allrounder, provided he is given proper/ample opportunity like Jadeja, to regain his confidence and prove himself at the highest level.

Posted by bulandari_dada on (July 13, 2012, 23:18 GMT)

Great captains know how to use their resources well, ex: Imran khan (wasim akram), arjuna ranatunga (sanath jayasuriya), hansiecronje (jack kallis), wasim akram (azhar mehmood, abdul razzak), stephen fleming (daniel vettori), Ricky ponting (andrew symonds and shane watson). All of the above are the best exapmples of the captain using the allround ability of the player to its best. If its a batting allrounder just bring the bowler in when the opposition is in pressure or keep chipping in 2 overs each time there is pressure, not opening the bowling with 2 tough frontline batsmen are at the crease and the allrounder is bowling 5-6 overs in a stretch. Every time the duo of wasim and waqar use to rip into the openers quickly, wasim used to bring in his part timers to chip in a few overs. Now a days every team has skilled players but what puts you apart is a skilled captain who understands his team and the opposition team quite well. Its a game of skills.

Posted by S.Jagernath on (July 13, 2012, 21:34 GMT)

Irfan Pathan was once a test quality fast bowler who was a capable lower order batsman too.It could not have been luck that helped him produce those performances,it must mean that there is plenty of talent that is just hidden.Pathan's statistics are respectable but doesn't look threatening.Dhawal Kulkarni seems to be a capable fast bowler,Dhoni will obviously disagree.If anyone watched Cheteshwar Pujara's debut carefully,they would've seen the man that should one day lead the team.M.S Dhoni's captaincy hasn't been going too well lately either.Dhoni's value in ODI cricket is very certain but in test cricket he costs the team by not keeping properly.

Posted by   on (July 13, 2012, 21:08 GMT)

irfan is taken as an all rounder. i agree that he can not find a place in the team as a pure bowler. but he is a very good no. 7 batsman and fielder. he has to be considered as the 5th bowler in the team. in the first 4, we can have 2 spinners and 2 fast bowlers. 5th bowler would be irfan. this gives the team ideal balance of 3 fast bowlers and 2 spinners. if irfan does not complete his quota of 10 overs, it is fine. we have sehwag, rohit and raina as well. their batting average is in 30s which even irfan has. our 5th bowler has to be: irfan + raina + rohit + sehwag.

Posted by Earthy on (July 13, 2012, 20:29 GMT)

very well written, Such is the Dilemma with Irfan that even if he wants to , he can not explain what would be his role in Indian Team. We need a player but Captain can't really do a justice when a player does not know what he can do with his abilities...

Posted by Kapil_Choudhary on (July 13, 2012, 20:23 GMT)

Great Article. Well analyzed. Based on the analysis, it seems as if the only reason the selectors picked Irfan ahead of Praveen is that they belatedly decided they needed to fill an "allrounder" slot. Dhoni, on the other hand, has basically accepted that India doesn't have any allrounders and hence he likes to fill the no. 7 slot with a player who is at least a great fielder. That is why he doesn't like Irfan and won't pick him (unless forced by injuries). Simply put, Irfan is the far better batsman and Jadeja is the far better fielder. As a bowler, Irfan is consistently mediocre generally bowling abt 8 overs for 50-55 runs with the odd wicket. Jadeja, on the other hand will get clobbered for 60 runs in 6 overs on bad days but on the RARE good day on a helpful pitch, he can also bowl 10 overs for abt 40 runs with 3 wickets to boot. Thus, realistically, neither Irfan nor Jadeja are good allrounders, both are just mediocre, its just that Jadeja atleast surely contributes through fielding

Posted by   on (July 13, 2012, 20:10 GMT)

My squad - Rahane, Gambhir, Sehwag, Kohli, Raina, Dhoni, Irfan, Zak, Ojha, Rahul Sharma, Umesh Yadav. 30 - 40 overs between Zak, Umesh, Rahul & Ojha, depending on conditions, remaining between a mix of Irfan, Sehwag & Raina.

Posted by   on (July 13, 2012, 19:55 GMT)

The actual problem with INDIAN cricket is called Chennai Super Kings. With Dhoni feigning India captaincy but actually having his CSK captainship at heart, Srikanth, feigning India selection chairmanship, having CSK brand ambassadorship at heart, both actually being run by Srinivasan feigning BCCI Chairmanship, having CSK ownership at heart, the only way any good-for-nothing with bat / ball can play for India is to be part of the CSK squat. A Raidu & A Rahane can score all the runs you think of, S Badri will be preferred. Rahul Sharma can take all the wickets he likes, R Ashwil will get preference. C Pujara, Rohit Sharma..... can all have better batting credentials, S Raina, M Vijay & S Badri will get more opportunities - they have the best cricketing credential required by BCCI - They represent CSK.

Posted by couchpundit on (July 13, 2012, 19:45 GMT)

Guys....Relax....Give all seaming Tracks in India and you would see dhoni preferring Seam bowlers over spinners.

Issue is Dhoni plays percentage game, if you know what it is.

Otherwise you will keep lamenting he is favouring this guy over that guy. If you want to talk about favouritism,Tell me one mumbai or karnataka cpatain who favoured a kerala/railways/MP bowler or batsmen while captaining India?

Even ganguly had his chum's..although it was not conentrated from Bengal.

Posted by vrn59 on (July 13, 2012, 19:38 GMT)

My XI: Gambhir, Sehwag, Kohli, Rohit, Raina, Dhoni, Irfan, Ashwin, Zaheer, Yadav, Ojha

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (July 13, 2012, 19:30 GMT)

Irfan Pathan = A L L R O U N D E R .... and India NEEDS many more like him. Enough said.

Posted by Dbatsman on (July 13, 2012, 19:13 GMT)

INDIA SHOULD USE IFRAN PATHAN VERY WISELY THE WAY AUSTRAILA USE WATSON DONT MAKE IRFAN BOWL DURING DEATH OVERS AND USE HIM AS AN ALLROUNDER NOT A BOWLER WHO CAN BAT SOMETIMES

Posted by MysticMan on (July 13, 2012, 18:58 GMT)

Another insightful article from Monga! I think it is fair for an ODI captain to expect 4 good close-in fielders as they can save up to 20 runs, take blinders and overall be a menace on the field. We need to understand that ODI is very different from Tests for bowlers - 1. only one (two in the near future) bouncers 2. You have to bowl wicket to wicket or just outside the off (wides are much more aggressive) 3. No waist high full tosses 4. Got to keep track of where you land your foot (front foot no-balls result in free hits with no field change) 5. Even in swinging/ seaming conditions you have to keep it within the bounds

So a bowler has limited options to work with. He can: 1. Vary the pace 2. Use the crease to create angles 3. Out-think the batsman

In India, we keep boundaries small. This too works to the bowler's disadvantage as even mishits will cross the boundary. Only Mohali and a few other stadia rigorously keep the boundaries long. You are the captain... what would you do?

Posted by R.AkKi.S on (July 13, 2012, 18:14 GMT)

Well, its not just the fielding. Another major reason that Dhoni does not look beyond Jadeja and Ashwin, is the fact that they belong to CSK. The more exposure they get at the international level, the better they perform for him in IPL, and the better his results get. Same is the reason he wants to replace the current batsmen with guys like Raina and others.

After Kapil Dev, one big issue that the Indian team has had, is a genuine pace bowling all-rounder. Zak and Pathan came close, but Dhoni has been a big manipulator of the team. A pace-bowling all-rounder would help the team in staying the batting giant that it has always been, but also perform better outside the subcontinent. Dhoni, instead, preferred to play 2 spinners on Australian pitches.

Posted by US_Indian on (July 13, 2012, 18:06 GMT)

You have questioned and answered so many question rising in Indian public's minds, I wish the same questions have rose in the Indian selectors minds too. A nice article though. It took so long to write about this and I believe people like me and millions others have some cricketing sense and knowledge having played the game at much higher level and having the knowledge of personal ego's and prejudices going around since time immemorial. It is nothing new that Irfan had been a superstar even before Dhoni made his mark and he still is if probably he is given freedom and faith to perform but that is not Dhoni's cup of tea, shedding his inflated ego and stubbornness. He has his personal cotorie of players who he will stick with inspite of failures and many calls to dispose them off, i am not naming any of those here. I do not know whether he is captain material or not as said by some one. Kaif was a definitely good player and a captaincy material but how quickly and tactly he was sidelined

Posted by akbarbirbal007 on (July 13, 2012, 18:05 GMT)

cant blame the selectors completely irfan didnt did that well which was expected from him he is still bowling that slow medium pace in between 125-135 which is easily playable by the batsman.He should be made to play only tests like ishant sharma as he will be played only as a bowler in that format moreover he is more than handy with the kookaburrra ball. Wonder why the selectors are not giving parvinder awana a chance.As this is a useless/dead series they should have tried out a couple of youngster here. India have played against Srilanka in close to 50 one day matches or more than that in last 3 years.

Posted by Nampally on (July 13, 2012, 17:58 GMT)

Sidharth: You posed 3 valid questions without answering them. We will never know Irfan's capability unless there is an impartial captain at the helm.In this case, MSD has firmed up his mind. MSD does not want Irfan in the Squad or in the XI.If MSD is forced to include Irfan in the XI, he will expose him in bad light - #9 in batting & bring him against tough batsmen. Fortunately, Irfan is not the only disliked person. Rahul Sharma, Tiwary & Rahane are already on this list, each being benched at least 10 times after being in the last 4 squads.Dhoni has a hot favourite - Jadeja. He will include him even if he scores Zero + 0 - 60 in 5 overs!.Whilst the Selectors are doing their best to develop bowlers, Dhoni has literally eliminated specialst bowlers in favour of Mediocre All Rounders. India has Yuvraj as the only recognized All Rounder. MSD thinks Jadeja can magically become a Yuvraj. India must develop a NEW Captain like Gambhir, Pujara or Tiwary to get the best Team chemistry/results

Posted by cimrsimg on (July 13, 2012, 17:58 GMT)

The question I would like to ask is, What exactly is the problem Dhoni has with Irfan Pathan?

Posted by neerajprasher on (July 13, 2012, 17:53 GMT)

Every team has fast bowling allrounder in ODI Squad SA-Kallis Aus-Watson Sl-Perara WI-Bravo Eng-Bopara Zim-Chigumbura Pak-Razzaq Ban-Mortaza Nz-Oram Ind-Irafan(they picked him cos vinay is injured) salute Selectors!!!

Posted by Raki99 on (July 13, 2012, 17:48 GMT)

I think India needs a change of leadership at the Top, that is we need a new captain and probebly new Coach. Also Problem with Irfan is his pace and when there is no swing or seam movement from the Pitch, Boy he can go for 70 in ten overs easily. So, I think th captian needs to use him in the right way and He would have a succeful career. I don't see him playing any games in lanka.

Posted by   on (July 13, 2012, 17:40 GMT)

At the moment Indian XI should be: 1.Sehwag 2.Rahane 3.Gambhir 4.Kohli 5.Dhoni 6.Raina/Rohit 7. Irfan 8. Ashwin 9. Zaheer 10. U.Yadav 11. Rahul Sharma/ Ojha for the Lanka series.Its the bowling which should be strong not batting.

Posted by agupta429 on (July 13, 2012, 17:27 GMT)

@desihungama

Thanks for your views from pak. you guys always want him in the team and justify his performance somehow.. EVEN when he's injured.

But as an Indian.. We dont need him. We need the likes of Varun Aaron (injured sadly) and Munaf Patel .. INDIAN TEAM HAS TOO MANY BATSMEN ALREADY and ALLROUNDERS for that matter.

im not hating on irfan.. I loved his glory bowling days. His Hattricks and reliance on taking wickets early.. but he needs to continue that. Its awesome that he can bat as well.. but it is not helpful if he's training for it.

It's useless for us if he isnt bowling to his potential and then makes a few runs at a 100+ strike rate.

Posted by serious-am-i on (July 13, 2012, 17:20 GMT)

well I would like to look into other side of things. Honestly, I have a gutsy feeling the chemistry between Dhoni and Irfan is really a zero. It should have happened when Irfan was made vice captain (I hope I am correct, I think he was made VC, if not may be my memory sucks real bad). Dhoni doesn't trust Irfan & in return Irfan fails to deliver goods when it really matters to get the trust vote of India's coach at the least. Irfan hasn't looked the same over the years, he has lost his pace, swing. Even though he was able to swing the ball a little his pace is no where to be seen. Irfan strictly needs a stint at county cricket only then he will come out better, I won't mind dropping him for the betterment of the team and self, if he is dropped in future.

Posted by jasonpete on (July 13, 2012, 17:19 GMT)

I am not an Indian,but some of you need to give some space for dhoni.Only India has the mediocre bowlers who all bowls like military medium fast bowlers.Every other cricket nation has minimum one fast bowler who can rip apart opponents,but tell me which bowler India can think of? None.Zaheer is prone to injury and every one bowls medium pace and in subcontinent condition ,I guess difficult to contain many medium pacers in the team which dhoni refused to do and thinking to finish the quota with some part time bowlers.India seriously need some quality bowlers like we had lee for all occasion .Forget about all rounders,let him correct his bowling weakness and should be a genuine bowler first like initial days of his career.good luck.

Posted by yoohoo on (July 13, 2012, 17:17 GMT)

Irfan is basically useless since he cant bowl anymore. Dhoni recognizes that, and instead prefers to go with solid fielders. We indians keep on harping that our players don't field well, but when we get good fielders we don't consider their contribution either.

Posted by mathewjohn2176 on (July 13, 2012, 17:06 GMT)

Irfan Pathan became a medium pace bowler and with this pace,he shoud bowl stump to stump and not full tosses towards the end of an innings.Under pressure he crumbles badly and bowling becomes very ordinary.@fairplayZ, dhoni had a rotation policy to keep rohit sharma and some youngsters to face Australian condition coz tendulkar not going to play anyway.@wof777, when yuvraj comes back to Indian team,he will takes place as an all rounder.Irfan pace is not suitable for subcontinent pitches unless you bowl cleverly like praveen kumar used to do before his injury.Its clearly mentioned dhoni don't have personal issues with him but he thinks about the four fielders and special seam bowler who can finish full quotas like zaheer do.you don't want your main bowler to leak runs like part timers,It's a tricky situation for India where all seam bowlers are all medium pace bowlers which gets carted out in subcontinental pitches.Anyway he is miles ahead of jadeja and vinay.Good luck to him.

Posted by agupta429 on (July 13, 2012, 17:00 GMT)

The woes of our Indian team... Even the bowlers want to become batsmen.. WE NEED BOWLERS DAMMIT

Posted by Desihungama on (July 13, 2012, 16:43 GMT)

A view from Pak- I think Irfan Pathan is possibly the next big thing in Indian Cricket. He is solid and experienced and it showed when he made his latest comeback in the ODI's. My view is Dhoni might be fearful of the fact that Irfan is captaincy material and I see this the only reason for keeping this hard working lad out. Please note it is quite easy for a batsman to make a comeback after a lean patch but very hard for a bowler. Irfan has done it time and time again.

Posted by AbhijeetC on (July 13, 2012, 16:38 GMT)

he is damn sure batsman....He played as No. 3 once...or may be twice....play him as batsman.....expect more from him form his batting..and squeeze as many overs as possible like Australia do from Watson.......

Posted by wolf777 on (July 13, 2012, 16:31 GMT)

Irfan Pathan is an allrounder and should be part of all India sides as an allrounder. It is sad that Dhoni does not want Irfan Pathan in the team for whatever reasons. If Dhoni cannot get over his personal issues with Irfan Pathan and stubbornly refuses to play him as an allrounder, he deserves all the losses he has been hadned out by England and Australia.

Posted by   on (July 13, 2012, 16:17 GMT)

I think irfan is a very good bowler . Dhoni should give him more chances and give him some support . he is far better bowler than vinay kumar. His batting is also very useful @ no 7 . he may not be an all rounder like kallis or watson. but india doesnt have any other fast bowling all rounder also . he is just 27 , He was one of the best swing bowlers india ever had . he just lost his style , may be they should just give him proper guidance .

Posted by Semoli on (July 13, 2012, 16:03 GMT)

The problem is Irfan cannot command a place as an all rounder in the subcontinent pitches - He lacks pace. He does not select himself as a batsmen.....there are better options. He is a great talent but the lack of pace is very intriguing.

Dhoni has great presence and is very smart, but he seems to be limited when it comes to developing talent. It could also be he is overworked as a captain.

Posted by   on (July 13, 2012, 15:58 GMT)

what the hell is this!!!! he is far better a bowler than vinay.. 100 times better batsman in any situation than jadeja n 1000 times a better fielder than ashwin so wat exactly he has to do to be called an allrounder? just 1 poor game against bangladesh n we r talkng bot him nt being a capable bowler?he picked up 13 wkts in 8 games since return n made ovr 100 runs in 5 innings.. dhoni is stupid.. as simple as dat.. any othr captain would use him much better..

Posted by LeftBrain on (July 13, 2012, 15:48 GMT)

Well, a good article, especially where it exposes Dhoni's stubbornness towards anything that is not named Jadeja. Irfan is agood bowler, this is an open question, but again, how many good bowlers India have to begin with? With so called energetic feilders in the team, India is still the team that concedes more runs then any other top team in the world. Focus should be on bowlers.

Posted by sunalsk80 on (July 13, 2012, 15:28 GMT)

Sidharth, you have done your analysis very well both on the unanswered question about what exactly is Irfan and also with the rationale with Dhoni went for 4 fielders. Good article

Posted by FairPlayZ on (July 13, 2012, 15:23 GMT)

Sidharth: Hats of to you..! Great observation. I had the same feeling but could not articulate or convince my self to think that Dhoni indeed is a dictator. He had made Shewag, Sachin, Gautham look and feel mediocre during tour down under.

I would stick my neck out and say we should consider Irfan for test as genuine allrounder at 7. Just like Pakistan exploited Abdul Razaq or Bangladesh : Sakib or Srilanka: Chamida Vass and Angelo Mathews.

Posted by   on (July 13, 2012, 15:20 GMT)

I understand Dhonis need for better fielder but Jadeja other than a game or two never delivered with bat nor does he have the ability to clear the field la Yousuf pathan....It is time Irfan is given a fair trail..he is a decent bat and as good a bowler like Vinay and far better batsman than jadeja or anyone else in the lower half...as for Praveen I think his better bowling days are behind him

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