Irfan Pathan retained his fierce passion despite grappling with challenges: VVS Laxman

Former Indian cricketer VVS Laxman has paid tribute to Irfan Pathan, saying that the former fast bowler retained his fierce passion for the game despite grappling with his fair share of challenges in his career.

Taking to his official Twitter handle, Laxman shared a picture of Pathan and said that the former Indian pacer also embraced the role of an inspirational mentor-cum-coach while being an active first-class player.

“Despite grappling with his fair share of challenges, @IrfanPathan retained his fierce passion for the sport. Along the way, he embraced the role of an inspirational mentor-cum-coach when still an active first-class player, willingly sharing his wisdom and experience,” Laxman tweeted.

Pathan made his international debut for India during a Test match Australia at Adelaide Oval in December 2003.

His received his maiden One-Day International (ODI) cap against the same side in January 2004 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).

During his playing career, Pathan had featured in 29 Tests, 120 ODIs and 24 T20Is for the national side, claiming a total of 301 wickets across all formats of the game. Besides this, he also managed to notch up 2,821 runs, including with a single hundred and 11 fifties.

Pathan had also played in 122 first-class matches and 193 List A games and bagged 384 and 272 wickets, respectively.

He is also one of the three bowlers to have taken a hat-trick for India in the longest format of the game and the first one to grab it in the first over of the match.

On Friday, Laxman had heaped praise on former batsman Mohamamd Kaif, saying the latter’s electric fielding became the benchmark for thousands.

“A product of India’s robust grassroots structure, @MohammadKaif inspired an entire generation of players from Uttar Pradesh to shed their insecurities and play at the highest level. His electric fielding soon became the benchmark that thousands strived to emulate,” the 45-year-old tweeted.

Earlier this month, Laxman took to social media and said that he would be paying tributes to his former teammates over the next few days who inspired him during his playing career.

Laxman had earlier paid tributes to legendary cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, former Indian cricketer and head coach Anil Kumble, BCCI president Sourav Ganguly, former skipper Rahul Dravid, veteran off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, former all-rounder Yuvraj Singh, former pacer Ashish Nehra, former bowler Zaheer Khan, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and former Indian opener Virender Sehwag.