Irfan Pathan, the former India left-arm pacer, reckons his ODI numbers took a drastic drop in the later years of his playing career because he was no longer bowling with the new ball and was being seen as a first-change.
It is something he feels the team management should've come in support of him over, as he believes he was still doing fine in a job given to him by the captain and coach.
Irfan burst onto the scene with his ability to swing the ball both ways and took 100 wickets in his first 59 ODIs. However, only 73 scalps came in the next 61 games, with his last match coming in 2012 at the age of just 27.
“If you see the first 59 ODI matches that I played, I got to bowl with the new ball… Your aim, your mindset, your body language and your responsibility is to take wickets. But when you are bowling first change, your role changes as well, your role becomes defensive," Irfan told rediff.com.
"If your role becomes different, then your numbers become different as well. I actually feel that people from the team should have spoken about it. They should have said that, ‘Yes Irfan used to take wickets, but now we have given him a different role. We have given him the role of first-change bowler and someone who can bat at No 7 or No 8, which is very much required in One-Day cricket right now’."
The 35-year-old said he didn't receive the kind of support he deserved in the set-up, also asking if the number of all-rounders who are playing today in the team can get a consistent run, why didn't he?
"Now, if an all-rounder goes for around six runs per over and takes one wicket per match you are happy with that (referring perhaps to Hardik Pandya & co), but you were not happy with Irfan Pathan who did the same thing. Why is that?"
"The player who is ready to sacrifice for the team, if you don’t support him and back him, then you are taking him on the path where you are looking to sideline him… If a player’s role has been given differently, then it is the team’s responsibility to talk about it, but no one talks about it," Irfan concluded.
(Inputs from rediff.com)