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Once a fast bowler is past thirties he is almost assumed to be an exhausted commodity and uncertainty begins to loom over his career. Things might be a bit tougher if you had been out of the national at the same time.
Irfan Pathan, the left arm fast bowling all-rounder, met with a rude shock when the Richard Madley, the IPL auctioneer could not convince any of the franchise to come forward and bid for Irfan. He was, to the surprise of many, was left unsold. This probably made many of his fans sit back and try to decode the mindset of the franchises.
As it turned out the auction was an auction of the left arm fast bowlers. All the promising young left-armers in the country benefitted due to the promise they showed. Mohammad Siraj, T Natarajan, Aniket Choudary were some Indian names who went home with huge price tags. But, the availability of these names also could have hurt Pathan’s chances of getting a deal while also quashing the misunderstanding that he might spark a bidding battle in the auction.
The handful of performances which he gave in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy simply didn’t prove enough for him to bait the franchise into to going after him. The base price, which was set at 50 Lakhs, was nominal for a player of his stature. Had he committed an error that Ishant Sharma did before the auctions, then it would have been absurd and the blame for being over confident could have been put entirely on him. But, one can assume that the reasons behind him remaining unsold could a bit different.
Playing for the West Zone, he returned with figures of 3/10 in 4 overs in one of the matches against North Zone which included wicket of Shikhar Dhawan and Yuvraj Singh. But, this performance was the only ‘great show’ he put up before the IPL bidding and might be the reason for him getting completely unnoticed this time around.
Pathan, however, can still bet on making a comeback next year with a lot more fitter and in-form version of him. Maybe a full fruitful season with Baroda would revive his chances next year in the IPL. While being put away from a chance to play competitive cricket is always demoralising, it becomes bitter when it happens after being encouraged for a comeback bid into the Indian squad by the recent recall of fellow left-arm pacer Ashish Nehra. Nehra himself spoke some motivating words about Pathan. The Baroda quick might have looked up to this season with a lot of optimism. But, everything has fallen flat for him at the moment.
Another factor that may have influenced would have franchises in turning a cold shoulder to him would be a bigger reason arguably. In the past couple of seasons, Pathan, apart from being injury prone, hasn’t quite been able to showcase his worth. In the last season with Rising Pune Supergiants, he was more of a backup option and got only four matches under his belt. The 2015 season with CSK was marred by injuries and the 2014 season with Sunrisers Hyderabad saw him taking only four wickets in 10 matches.
With RPSG, who signed him at his base price of 1 crores while CSK splurged 1.5 crores on him only to lose him. SRH also bided him for 2.4 crores but got mediocre performances in exchange. While the fans may think, it was unfair, maybe what happened at 2017 auction was only an event waiting happen given his string of unsatisfactory track record in the past few seasons.