Former Indian fast-bowler Irfan Pathan looked back on his first hat-trick against Pakistan in Karachi Test in 2006. The pacer took the wickets of Salman Butt, Younis Khan and Mohammad Yousuf in the first over, but it fell short to win the match for India.
The previous two Tests had both ended in a draw, and Pathan’s hat-trick had given India some hope. However, Pakistan came back emphatically and won the 3rd Test and the series.
Talking in an interview Irfan said, “I always feel sad that we lost the Test because we got off to a such a good start. Sometimes, I wish if I had bowled from both the ends, then I could have got Pakistan all out much earlier.”
The left-arm pacer then went on to talk about the hat-trick and elucidated how he outlined a plan against the three Pakistan batsmen. “Whenever I used to bowl to a left-hander, I always used to think that if I bowl outside leg stump, it is okay, but I will not bowl outside off-stump. Because then the left-hander gets time to play the shot.
“So, I tried to swing the ball from leg-stump, but it remained straight. The 2nd ball, I bowled outside off-stump, it turned. So, I realised there is a lot of help from wicket. So, I got the wicket in 3rd or 4th ball, and I felt relieved. Because I always believed that it’s my job to get first wicket,” he said.
“Then came Younis Khan, and he used to trouble Indian team a lot. He used to score a lot of runs against us. I was thinking, I would bowl in front, even if I overpitch it, I will try and hit the pads. If you look at the delivery, I struck him below the knees. Luckily, the bowl was pitched exactly where I wanted to, Simon Taufel gave it out. Then came Mohammad Yousuf,” he said.
The 35-year-old dismissed Yousuf with an inswinger, which is still considered as one of his best wickets. “I definitely feel that wicket was top five deliveries of my career. Because ball turned in the air, because it picked up speed after it was pitched. I had been on a hat-trick before that match, but was unable to complete the milestone. I was thinking at the time, if it happens, it will happen. But then I thought Mohammad Yousuf was in front of me,” he said.
“Mohammad Yousuf has spoken to my father before the tour, and said that ‘Khan sahab, I want to talk to you’. My father is very respectful, and he speaks openly to everyone, so he said, ‘Yes, tell me’. So Yousuf said, ‘You pray that even though I get out, I don’t get out to your son’. So, when I was on a hat-trick, I that incident came to my mind.
“I knew that I trouble him with my inswinging deliveries. So, I used to exploit him a lot. So I thought, Yousuf is front of me, the ball is turning in air, and pitch is helping me, so it was a great opportunity to take a hat-trick. So, I tried to hit him in the pads, I was not trying to hit the stumps. I tried to hit him in the pads, it turned in the air, and got inside, and hit the stumps. That day, whatever I planned, I was able to do,” he added.