Former World T20 winner Irfan Pathan announced his retirement from all forms of cricket on Saturday. Pathan played 29 Tests, 120 ODIs and 24 T20Is for India, picking a total of 301 international wickets. Pathan made his debut as a 19-year-old, in Adelaide against Australia in December 2003. Despite returning with not so impressive figures of 1/160, Pathan showed enough promise in his first outing at the world stage as he scalped the wicket of Australia great Matthew Hayden, who became his maiden international victim in the longer format.
In his debut series, the left-arm seamer made everyone take notice of his skill and talent as he emerged as the highest wicket-taker against Australia and Zimbabwe in the ODIs. The Baroda-born pacer quickly rose to become a regular across formats in the Indian setup following an impressive show on the tour of Pakistan in 2004. He continued to remain a vital cog in Team India during the mid-2000s.
“In domestic cricket, too, I have been part of Jammu and Kashmir cricket and after last season, I thought what’s the motivation to play any more?” Pathan spoke during a special show at the Star Sports studio.
After representing his home side Baroda in the Ranji Trophy, Pathan shifted his base to Jammu and Kashmir last season to serve as player-cum-mentor. He will continue to be associated with the team, albeit only as a mentor.
Speaking about his future plans, Pathan said: “I will keep contributing to Indian cricket, but it is always better if someone else takes my place in domestic cricket. There are lot of other things in store for me and I will keep focusing on them.”
Pathan last donned India colours in 2012, but in different form and injury issues forced him out of national reckoning thereafter. The 35-year-old will mostly be remembered for his heroics during India’s tours of Australia and Pakistan in 2004, where he impressed the likes of Wasim Akram.
“Every time I visited Pakistan, I have returned with good memories. I first played there during the under-19 days and took nine wickets against Bangladesh — including a hat-trick — in an Asian under-19 tournament. Later, playing for the senior team, I performed really well,” Pathan further added.
Pathan’s hat-trick in the first over of the Karachi Test of 2006 established him as one of the leading swing bowlers of his time. He also played a crucial role in leading India to the title in the inaugural edition of Twenty20 World Cup in 2007.
“It has been a great journey. I played cricket with all my heart and soul. I am really proud of it and when I look back, I feel happy with my achievements. It’s been a great career,” the pacer said.