Irfan Khan Pathan [b.1984] : Cricket
Irfan Khan Pathan
Irfan Khan Pathan is a cricketer and member of the Indian national cricket team since 2003. He was born in Baroda in Gujarat on 27 October 1984. He made his international debut against Australia in Adelaide at the age of 19. Following some good performances at the under-19 level.
He has taken 5 wickets in an innings six times in Test cricket, and once in one-day internationals, against Zimbabwe in the 2005 Videocon Tri-Series. His spell in the final match against Pakistan in the 2004 tour was arguably his best performance in ODI cricket. His trademark weapon is an inswinger which darts into a right-hand batsman, and he also has the ability to reverse swing the old ball. In the ODI format, Pathan has been particularly impressive, frequently giving India early breakthroughs. He now consistently ranks in or near the top 10 of the LG ICC cricket ratings.
He is developing into an all-rounder, as part of a reallocation of responsibilities under the new Indian cricket coach Greg Chappell. Chappell has identified potential in Pathan's batting, which is regarded as technically correct. With his strong fast bowlers physique, Pathan has the ability to strike the ball long and clean. Pathan has recently been used as both an opener and a top order batsman in late 2005 in one-day cricket, making 83 runs at more than a run a ball against Sri Lanka in a Test match. He also proved his enhanced batting skills by scoring 82 and 93 against Sri Lanka, opening the batting in the December 2005 New Delhi Test, when regular opener Virender Sehwag was hospitalised with illness. He scores primarily in front of the wicket, his main strength being his ability to drive. He has shown his batting strength against Pakistan (India's traditional rival) by hitting 90 in the second Test in Faisalabad (21-25 January, 2006).
Pathan recently took a hat trick in the first over of the Karachi Test against Pakistan becoming the first bowler to take a hat-trick in the first over of a Test match. It was also the highest in terms of total averages of the batsmen dismissed (130.18: Salman Butt 34.27, Younis Khan 46.04, Mohammad Yousuf 49.86).  This was also the first hat trick by a paceman from India and the first hat trick for any Indian bowler in an away match. Ironically, India lost the match by a sizeable margin, but his performances in the ODI series against Pakistan played a vital role in clinching the series in convincing fashion.
India's left-arm seamer Irfan Pathan was chosen as the International Sports Personality of the Year 2004 recently and was also named the ICC Emerging Player of the Year 2004.
The nineties saw a decline in swing bowlers and the emergence of speedsters who hurled the ball at a speed of over 100 miles per hour. With speed and power being the name of the game, Pathan among the present lot is the only bowler who relies more on swing than pace. Like his predecessors, Kapil Dev and his idol Wasim Akram, the Baroda paceman swings the ball either ways like a banana, taking cricket back to its glorious days.