Pathan of Baroda, An Emerging champion bowler

(Dr Shujaat Ali Quadri)


Hundreds of Muslim cricketers in India are scoring mountainous runs, and shining as star in Cricket’s World.

Sarfaraz Khan, highest run scorer in recent Ranji matches is one of them who is hoping to be selected in National Team.

One name to this team of semi-successful players could have been Shehzad Pathan, a cricketer from Vadodara had he retired from club cricket after getting no Ranji call despite strong performance. Beset with family issues after his father’s death, he had chosen to leave cricket and help the family with any alternate profession. But, his coach convinced him to pursue his dream even in the face of extreme adversity.

Last week, he made a dream debut in Ranji for Baroda against a formidable Bengal team. He clinched five wickets in his first match and became only the second bowler from Baroda to do so in three decades.

“It was unbelievable for me as a few days back I was contemplating to quit cricket and now I was being celebrated as an ace bowler. It feels like a dream come true,” he told the media after his rare achievement.

Recounting his problems and family background, Pathan said that he has been from a low middle-class family. “We have been middle-class, but we were getting along. But, after the passing of my father due to Covid in 2021, things turned very tough. My elder brother tried to pull the cart, but it was not enough. Out of this despair, I had decided to quit the game and help the family,” recalled Pathan.

He said he was also frustrated that despite playing club cricket for so many years, he was not getting a chance to play first-class cricket.

However, Pathan’s elder and his coach convinced him to give the game a last shot as he is 27 and has many years of cricket left in him. “It was my luck that I was picked up for the match against Bengal and I also delivered as a bowler,” he said.

Pathan originally hails from Mehsana and took to cricket like every child whose father is fond of the game. He developed himself as a medium pace bowler.

Since there were not enough cricketing facilities in Mehsana, he migrated to Vadodara for better opportunities. He started with U-19 cricket and then played for about nine years with different clubs. Each year, his bowling skills got sharpened.

His coach at Baroda team, Tushar Arothe, said that Pathan is a hard-working and focussed cricketer who is proving to be an asset for the team.


(The Author is Chairman of Muslim Students Organisation of India and Community Leader)

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