Yusuf Pathan remained an enigma for Indian cricket fans. Some of his performances in domestic cricket, IPL and in India colours have proved that he can be a world-beater on his days. But there were also many days where he did not click and fall flat.
Pathan made his senior national team debut in the final of the 2007 T20 World Cup due to an injury of Virender Sehwag. For the next four-five years, India tried him to fit into the coveted all-rounder spot in the team. He scored two ODI hundreds, roughly within a month. The first one against New Zeland helped India to chase a 300 plus target. The second one was scored at Centurion. Chasing 250, Indian top order was blown away by the trio of Steyn, Morkel, and Tsotsobe. Pathan came to bat at 60 for 5 in the 12th over. Pathan Started slowly but India were soon 98 for 7 and at 119 for 8 looked like the end was near. But then With Zaheer Khan for company Pathan found his touch. The duo added 100 runs in less than 13 overs for the 9th wicket with Pathan contributing 79 of 40 balls. This was India’s highest 9th wicket partnership against South Africa.
Pathan has similar performances in IPL too, his 37-ball 100 against MI was the then fastest century in IPL and he was a key performer for IPL wins for the Rajasthan Royals and Kolkata Knight Riders. Pathan was generally considered better suited for limited over games and was not considered to play a test match for India. However, he has 11 first-class centuries playing for Baroda in Ranji Trophy and West Zone in Duleep Trophy. And his most memorable performance came on 6th February 2010.
It was the final of Duleep Trophy played in Hyderabad between South Zone and West Zone.
South Zone was lacking their stars like Uthappa and Ashwin. The captain Dinesh Karthik had a young team to work with and he led from the front on day one to take the early initiatives. South ended the first day with 356 for 6 with DK remaining not out at 161. The next morning Karthik went on to score 183 and South were bowled out for 400. The other Pathan, Irfan got a five-wicket haul. Coming out to bat West Zone was in early trouble as C Ganapathy ran through the top order. Yusuf started to counter-attack and despite no support from other end completed his century and ended with a 76-ball 108. The next best score was 27 from Dhawal Kulkarni which helped West to score past 250.
In South Zone’s second innings, Karthik was once again the star and scored another big hundred. His 150 and fellow wicket-keeper CM Gautam’s 88 took South to 386 and when they declared after setting a target of 536 for West Zone, the fate of the match looked sealed. But West Zone batsmen were ready to fight in the second innings. The openers Chirag Pathak and Harshad Khadiwale added 117 followed by another 100 run partnership between Pathak and captain Wasim Jaffar. But they lost their way and at 294 for 5 with only bowlers to chase the target looked out of their reach.
Once again Yusuf Pathan took a lead. With Brother Irfan, he added 84 where Irfan was the primary contributor. Once Irfan was gone at the score of 378, it was left to Yusuf to finish. He added 105 runs with wicketkeeper Pinal Shah where Shah’s contribution was 16. Pathan kept hitting his shots. When Shah was out the target was just around 50 which Pathan scored in the next 10-11 overs with Ramesh Powar giving him company. In the process, he reached his double century and remained unbeaten on 210 scored on 190 balls. In total, he hit 19 boundaries and 10 massive sixes. West Zone completed one of the least likely chases to win by 3 wickets.
The previous highest first-class chase was 513 for 9 in Sri Lankan domestic cricket. The teams were Central province who completed this against Southern province. But Pathan’s best ever performance ensured that West Zone broke this record. This is also one of the rare incidents when two players from opposing teams scored centuries in both innings of the match.