Australian legend Greg Chappell did not have a memorable stint with Team India as head coach. Fans and experts blamed him for the problems which crept into the team under his watch. He was also held accountable for the sharp decline in the prowess of Irfan Pathan – a claim which the latter debunked after announcing his international retirement.
Pathan felt that the only time he got to bat up high in the order and prove his batting skills was when Rahul Dravid was the captain. The move to use his batting skills more was a brainchild of Chappell, who wanted the left-arm seamer to turn into a genuine all-rounder by giving him more responsibility.
Meanwhile, Chappell also has only good things to say about Pathan. “Irfan was happy to play whatever role the team required. He was both courageous and selfless,” Chappell told TOI from Brisbane on Monday.
“Irfan proved that he was a very capable all-rounder. Apart from what he did in limited-overs cricket, he very nearly scored a Test century (93 vs Sri Lanka at the Ferozshah Kotla in Delhi). His swing bowling was very good, with the highlight for me being his hat trick in the first over of a Test match against Pakistan in Karachi,” added the former Australian captain.
Pathan was 27 when he last played for India in 2012. There was also a time when there was speculation over his intention to feature in all three formats.
“All these discussions people talking about Greg Chappell they are just covering up. (The discussion that) Irfan was not interested; it was coming from somewhere. All the aura they made that Irfan lost his swing, people need to understand that you are not going to get the same kind of swing that you get in 10 overs. I was still getting the swing,” Pathan told PTI after his retirement.
“People talk about my performance, but my job was different. I was given the job to contain because I was bowling first change. I had been told this is your job. I remember getting dropped after winning the game in Sri Lanka in 2008, who gets dropped after winning the game for the country without any reason?” he added.