Senior all-rounder in Indian cricket team, Irfan Pathan has been axed from the Baroda team and sacked from captaincy abruptly after just two matches in Ranji Trophy season 2017-18 and he has added that he is unsure of his near future in cricket. He was shocked by the decision of selectors who removed him from the team despite his decent performance in the first few games. The 33-year-old cricketer told that his removal could be due to non-cricket issues.
Irfan revealed, in a casual chat with Hindustan Times, “I am shocked. It is taking place over the past few years. I am looking to find out myself without asking anyone. If I didn’t perform well, no issues! But I just got wickets and scored 80 runs at number 6. The ball is running well. I am physically fit. Why did they drop me? Baroda Cricket Association also called a press conference and addressed me as a team’s captain and mentor and I will help players to grow. After just few games, things don’t change so suddenly. It can’t just be an issue with the cricketing.”
He guessed, “It’s vital to perform very well and play domestic cricket. If I don’t have any opportunity in Indian cricket and if things keep on taking place, I am confused what’s happening. I have always played well on the field. It was going well be it my fitness or bowling, but currently the situation is not going well. However, I believe it’s not the end. Even though my plan is playing limited overs, I would also love to play 4-day match as it keeps you going and helps you play on rhythm.”
After leading Baroda over the first few matches of Ranji Trophy, Irfan was shockingly removed from his captaincy and replaced by 22-year-old Deepak Hooda. Even worse, the left-handed pacer was also dropped off the team before their clash with Tripura at Vadodara’s Reliance Stadium.
Irfan initiated Ranji Trophy 2017-18 season by scoring 130-ball 80 over Madhya Pradesh on a strong note at Indore’s Holkar Cricket Stadium. His bowling was not that effective as he got an only wicket in 19 overs. Untimately, the match was lost by Baroda by 8 wickets.
Even though Baroda has a draw in Vadodara with Andhra Pradesh, performance of Irfan was quite improper. He was bowled out for 0 and 4 in the first inning and second inning. From around 21 overs, the left-handed seamer could pick just one scalp. Though most of the state associations might have backed a senior campaigner like him, selectors in Baroda pulled off a huge surprise by not just removing the veteran cricketer from his captaincy, but also dropped him off the team and replaced him with a younger alternative.
Riding on the sublime century and helpful contributions of Vishnu Solanki from the lower middle order, Baroda has got control over the match going on against a new unit, Tripura. With the good beginning of the team under Hooda, selectors may keep ignoring Irfan for the next match at Wankhede Stadium against Mumbai on 9th.