Irfan Pathan Recalled to Indian Cricket Team

December 8, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Parvez Fatteh, Founder of,

2011-12-07T111431Z_428416175_GM1E7C71HP401_RTRMADP_3_CRICKET-WINDIESIrfan Pathan, who was once hailed as India’s solution for its all-rounder woes, has been thrown a lifeline with a recall into the Indian team for the last two One Day Internationals (ODI) against West Indies after being ignored for nearly three years.

It speaks volumes of this fine left-hander’s determination that despite the snub from selectors, he kept knocking at the doors of Indian cricket with hope. Pathan’s rise and fall is a tragic tale. He was a victim of Indian cricket’s foolhardy acts. Any other cricketer would have hung up his boots or at least blasted those who destroyed him.

Pathan instead decided to let his performance do the talking for him. During his visit to Dubai last year, The Gulf News asked him about his disappointment at being left out of the Indian team and whether he felt anyone was responsible for his downfall. He could only say: “I am not lucky but I will keep working hard to get back into the Indian team.”

Many feel Pathan was a victim of former Indian coach Greg Chappell’s strange “experiments” which almost destroyed the Indian team. At a time when Pathan was bowling at his best, he was strangely promoted up the batting order to the crucial No 3 slot — forcing him to focus on his batting. He was even told to reduce his speed as a bowler, making him lose sting.

Pathan, who looked capable of emerging as a genuine all-rounder after the great Kapil Dev, thus crashed out of the team and so did Chappell as the coach. Imran Khan, during an interview with this newspaper, had once said that Pathan has the talent to become another Wasim Akram.

A series of injuries too followed and Pathan had to bear the sight of many others taking his slot while his elder brother Yousuf Pathan too went on to become a permanent member of the Indian team. “I am younger to Yousuf, but I got selected into the Indian team first. Everyone then talked about him only as my brother, but today it is different. He has made his own name and got his own individuality. I am proud to be known as his younger brother,” he said during his visit here.

For the record, Pathan played his last ODI on February 8, 2009 while his last Test match was in April the same year. He has, meanwhile, strengthened his bowling and tried to regain his bite as a bowler through tips from former Indian pacer-turned-coach T.A. Sekar. Fortunately, age is still with him. He is only 27 years old and has many years of cricket still left in him. All that he needs is a good spell that can lift his confidence. Surely, the Baroda boy deserves a longer run for all the harm done to his career through mindless experiments.


Hijab Martyr

July 13, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Egypt funeral for court stabbing victim


Sherbini’s body was returned to Egypt from Germany for the funeral in Alexandria [AFP]

An official funeral has been held for a pregnant Egyptian woman stabbed to death as she prepared to give evidence in a German courtroom.

Several government representatives took part in the funeral for 32-year-old Marwa Sherbini in the northern city of Alexandria on Monday.

Sherbini was stabbed 18 times by a German man of Russian descent, formally identified only as Axel W, last week as she was about to give evidence against him as he appealed against his conviction for calling her a “terrorist” for her wearing the hijab.

Her three-year-old son, Mustapha, witnessed the knife attack on his mother, who was three months pregnant with her second child.

‘Hijab Martyr’

Sherbini’s husband, Elwi Ali Okaz, an Egyptian academic, was also critically injured as he tried to protect her.

Al Jazeera’s Rawyeh Rageh, reporting from Alexandria, said that the case had attracted huge attention in Egypt.

“The local council here in Alexandria, the victim’s hometown, has decided to name a street after her and the press is describing her as the ‘Hijab Martyr’,” she said.

“At least two protests are expected to take place in Alexandria and Cairo as this is being seen as a xenophobic and Islamophobic attack.

“People on the street and members of parliament are asking the government not to take the issue lightly.”

Hundreds of mourners gathered for the funeral, some chanting “Down with Germany” and scuffling with police, witnesses said.

‘Criminal act’

The German embassy in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, said that the attack was not a reflection of German attitudes towards Muslims.

“It is a criminal act. It has nothing to do with persecution against Muslims,” Magdi al-Sayed, a press officer, told the state-run Egyptian Gazette.

“People are looking for victims and Muslims are sometimes seen as a viable option”

Sulaiman Wilms, European Muslim Union

But Sulaiman Wilms, the head of communications at the European Muslim Union, said that the incident was at least partly representative of the situation faced by Muslims across the continent.

“It definitely reflects a certain spillover from certain elements of the public-media discourse, but it also reflects the general violence and degredation of order which we have within European societies in these times of global crisis,” he told Al Jazeera from Cologne.

“People are looking for victims and Muslims are sometimes seen as a viable option.”

Sherbini’s family have called for revenge following the deadly knife attack on Wednesday.

“If she was just stabbed once, I would have said this is a mad man, but the number of times she and her husband were stabbed reflects the extent of racism this man had in him,” Tarek Sherbini, the victim’s brother, said.

“Here in Egypt, we believe in ‘an eye for an eye’. The least we expect is the death penalty for the murderer.”

Source:     Al Jazeera and agencies