Irfan Pathan injures knee, out for at least one game

Irfan Pathan reaches out in vain to take a catch Getty Images

Irfan Pathan, the India limited-overs allrounder, may have rescued Baroda from 88 for 4 in the first innings with a century that got them three first-innings point, but he has injured his knee in the process, and will be out for at least one Ranji Trophy game. He is expected to visit Bangalore's National Cricket Academy (NCA) for rehabilitation. Baroda's other India quick, Munaf Patel, is already out with an injured knee. They play Vidarbha, who posted an outright win over Haryana, next, at home from November 9 onwards.

Irfan scored 121 and 38 against Karnataka in the season opener, bowled 25 overs for two wickets in the first innings, but didn't take the field during the second innings, which was academic anyway given the lack of time to force a result. "Irfan was suffering from swollen knee from second day of the match," Baroda coach Sanath Kumar told Times Of India. "His injury has aggravated and hence he will have to undergo treatment."

According to the newspaper, Irfan looked in pain almost throughout the game. "I cannot say how much time Irfan would take to get fit. It all depends on his rehabilitation at National Cricket Academy," Kumar said. "He suffered from the swollen knee probably due to playing continuously over the last few weeks." Irfan had only recently made a successful comeback to the national side as an allrounder in ODIs and T20Is.

This brings into sharper focus the unforgiving Ranji Trophy schedule. Add to it the India A game against England A, and Irfan played seven straight days of first-class cricket. There is no time to relax between Ranji matches either. Some of them are being played three days apart, and some provide a gap of four days. With the large number of domestic tournaments played in a limited window of Indian winter, the Ranji Trophy is played over a little less than three months. The champion side will have played about 47 days of first-class cricket over that period.