Most people, even to this day, remember the highly-anticipated and widely-celebrated T20 2007 world cup final between India and Pakistan. It’s been fifteen long years.
And one notes, why won’t they remember it? After all, the sight of Joginder Sharma bowling that final over, S Sreesanth taking an absolutely peach of a catch and that too, under pressure, Misbah-ul-Haq, the danger man, being caught and moreover, Dhoni uprooting the stumps was a spectacle to behold.
It wasn’t just a picture that the cricket romantics held dearly or cheered about.
But what we tend to forget and perhaps so often, is that for all that happened and a lot actually happened, a certain Irfan Pathan emerged as the man-of-the-match in that contest.
And it was something one simply couldn’t understate. Nor could only sufficiently praise it for no words would truly suffice the impact. That’s down to the fact that it was Irfan Pathan’s definitive performance that well and truly put the brakes on the Pakistani scoring that could’ve rampaged India in the end.
A brilliant bowling spell of 3 for 16 off the full quota of 4 overs that included the enormously important wicket of the big-hitting Afridi proved Irfan Pathan, back then, was in a league of his own.
Not that the man, who also has a record of a Test hat-trick against his name, is not in a special league even today, as he’s well settled in his retirement.
But then how is that?
The famous face behind the Cricket Academy of Pathans, has only recently launched a branch in the capital city of Madhya Pradesh, in Bhopal. And one of the big reasons for doing so is that the city often under-represented in national news of the country is a cricket-crazy city.
Recently, in an interaction with the media, the former enigmatic left-arm medium pacer had the following to say:
Irfan Pathan, Director, Cricket Academy of Pathans, said, “Bhopal is one of the largest cities in the region with a large appetite for cricket. With the launch of CAP in Bhopal, we are expanding in the heart of the country.
“We are looking to tap into the huge reserve of young cricket enthusiasts and give them world-class coaching infrastructure so that the city can start churning out district, state and national level players. Due to its massive popularity, we are getting requests from foreign countries and gulf nations to open our cricket academy in their countries. We are in talks with a few such investors, and hopefully, we’ll be taking CAP at the international level,” the experienced cricketer who played all three formats for India added.
That being said, what’s interesting is to note that besides Pathan, there are other notable cricketers of the repute of Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh and even Praveen Kumar, among others who run cricket academies that are, even to this day, identifying, developing and finally, promoting the next generation of Indian cricketers.
If that’s not giving back to the game, then what is?