Former India all-rounder Irfan Pathan cleared the air surrounding Greg Chappell and his controversial batting position during his playing days by revealing that it was actually Sachin Tendulkar who floated the idea of sending Pathan at No. 3.
India experimented with Irfan Pathan at No. 3 for a little while under Rahul Dravid’s captaincy when Greg Chappell was the coach of the national team. But it wasn’t their idea to send him at that batting position in ODI cricket.
Tendulkar told Dravid to send Pathan at No. 3 because of his big-hitting ability, a move which didn’t work in India’s favour in the long run. Pathan batted 18 times at No. 3 between 2005 and 2008, scoring 487 runs at 28.64 with three half-centuries.
“I had said this after I had announced my retirement as well. Those who talk about Greg Chappell spoiling my career, by sending me as an allrounder at No.3 and all these things actually, it was Sachin paaji’s idea,” Pathan told Raunak Kapoor on his channel Beyond The Field.
“He advised Rahul Dravid to send me at No.3. He said ‘he (Irfan) has the power to hit sixes, can take on the new ball and can play the fast bowlers well too.
“It was tried for the first time in the series against Sri Lanka when Muralitharan was at his peak, and the idea was to attack him as well. (Dilhara) Fernando back then had started the concept of the split-finger slower ball. Batsmen didn’t understand that too well, so the belief was if I could pull it off, it could work in our favour, especially since it was the first match of the series.
“It’s not true that Greg Chappell spoiled my career. Since he was not from India, it is easier to make him a punching bag,” Pathan said.
Irfan Pathan announced his retirement from international cricket earlier this year, 8 years after he last played for India and even before he turned 28.
He made his debut at 19 and was touted to be the next Kapil Dev after showing impressive skills with the ball and bat but inconsistency and frequent experiments with his batting position led to Pathan’s downfall.
Pathan also changed his bowling action which ultimately resulted in him losing the ability to swing the ball as much as he used to in the initial days of his career. By his own admission, Pathan feels he could have achieved a lot more and become India’s best all-rounder in ODIs had he been given more chances in the second part of his career.
“In terms of achievement, there could have been a lot more. I really believe that in one-day internationals, I could have been the best all-rounder that India ever produced, I could have been,” Pathan said in a recent interview. “That didn’t happen because I didn’t play as much cricket as I could have because my last game for India was at the age of 27.”
Pathan played 29 Tests, 120 ODIs and 24 T20Is for India and picked 100, 173 and 28 wickets in the three formats, respectively. He also scored 1105 runs in Tests (1 hundred), 1544 in ODIs and 172 in T20Is.