DateLine: 5th June 2008
Irfan Pathan is considered by many as the most talented swing bowler to emerge from India since Kapil Dev. Add to that his batting skills and he was thought to be the first genuine all rounder for India after the Haryana Hurricane.
When he made his Test debut in Australia in 2003-04, he was already leading the bowling attack by the end of the series and the most memorable moment of that series for him is the Yorker with which he got the prize wicket of Adam Gilchrist in Sydney. Then he went on to play a big part in India's one-day and the Test series wins on their tour of Pakistan in 2003.
Under Greg Chappell as coach, he concentrated more on his batting and soon was sent up the order regularly to bat at No.3. His bowling form, though, nosedived in 2006, and he struggled to make it to both the Test and ODI teams when the year ended, becoming the first Indian player to be sent back from a tour (South Africa) to concentrate on domestic cricket. He did make it to the World Cup squad but didn't figure in a single game during India's disappointing campaign, after which he was dropped from both the Test and one-day sides.
Based on some good domestic performances, he was recalled to the side for the ICC World Twenty20 in South Africa in September 2007, and Pathan snapped up 10 wickets at 14.90. His crucial spell of 3 for 16 in the final against Pakistan earned him the Man-of-the-Match award. He has been a pivotal part of the team ever since. His celebrated his comeback to the Test team after 19 months by making his first Test hundred. Pathan was subsequently picked for the Test series in Australia, where in the Perth Test, he played a crucial part in one of India's most famous wins - with scores of 28 and 46 and five wickets to claim the Man-of-the-Match award.