It’s a story of the two brothers who have risen from nothing to everything by virtue of their sheer determination propelled by passion.  Born in an impoverished family in Boroda in the State of Gujurat in India, both grew up in a mosque as their father Mehmud Pathan was acting as the muezzin.  Defying the wishes of their parents to become Islamic scholars, they developed a passion for cricket. The passion made them to hit hard the cricket ball even inside the Mosque much to the embarrassment of their father to the worshippers. They used to buy discarded bats and balls from the Sunday market at Boroda near their one room house in Juma Masjid to get them engrossed in cricket. Younger sister Shagufta used to be a loyal spectator.
Yes. I am talking of Yusuf and Irfan Pathan of Indian cricket. The Pathan brothers of Indian cricket. They are loving half brothers, Yusuf being older than Irfan by one year and 344 days. But it was Irfan who made initial in rods in to cricketing limelight. Irfan’s first success came in the form of his entry in to the under 14 Boroda team under the supervision of former Indian captain Datta Gaekward. Irfan entered the first class cricket arena in 2000-01 and Yusuf did not lag behind much in playing it in 2001-02.

But it was Irfan who could occupy a center stage in Indian cricket by virtue of his immaculate left handed swing bowling and his ever improving batting abilities. Irfan stormed in to the World cup under 19 Indian team played in New Zealand in early 2002. In 2003 he was picked up for the India A team which toured England and played in the domestic challenger series. By 2003, he could carve his cricketing personality by emerging as the player of the tournament in the under 19 Asian ODI competition in Pakistan bagging 18 wickets. These solid performances can never be ignored in a cricket crazy country like India. He made his test debut at the age of 19 years in the Border-Gavaskar trophy against Australia at the Adelaide Oval in December,2003. He immediately occupied a place in the Indian ODI team in the tri-series against Australia and Zimbabwe and played his first ODI against Australia on 9th January,2004 at Melbourne. He led the Indian pace attack against in their tour of Pakistan in 2004 where he took 12 wickets playing a major role in India’s series win against arch rivals Pakistan in two decades. His continued good form both in bowling and also batting in the Asia cup played in Sri Lanka saw him getting the coveted ICC Emerging player of the year 2004. 

Yusuf on the other hand had to wait till 2007 to make his performance count. It was only after his impressive performances as a hand hitting right handed batsman and an useful off-break bowler in Deodhar Trophy,in the inter-state domestic twenty20 tournament in 2007, he managed a berth in the Indian Twenty20 squad for the World cup played in South Africa in September,2007. But it was his solid performances for his team Rajasthan Royals in the inaugural IPL in 2007-08, he could cement a place in the Indian ODI team. He made his ODI debut on 10th June,2008 against Pakistan in Dhaka but yet to make his test debut.

10th February,2009 will be written as a Golden lettered day for the Pathan brothers and their family. They made not only their parents proud but also their country  by single-handedly winning the one off Twenty20 match against Sri Lanka played at the Premadasa. The Indian team was struggling at 115-7 chasing a target of 172 runs set by the Sri Lankan. Indian team was down in the dumps needing 57 runs in last five overs with just three wickets remaining. It was Yusuf who took the initiative in hitting one Bandara over for collecting 17 runs with two huge sixes. Then it was the younger brother Irfan who clobbered 33 runs of just 16 balls. It was indeed a thrilling win for India contributed solely by the Pathan brothers hitting 59 runs of 25 balls which will remain in the minds of cricket loving people of India for a long time to come. Great entertainment indeed. Well done Pathan brothers. Let’s wait and hope to see more from the brothers in the times to come.

Today, the Pathan brothers no longer stay in the Juma Masjid one room house which used to be their address. They no longer wake up to the morning azaan of their father. They have since shifted to a posh new four bed rooms duplex in the upmarket area on the outskirts of Vadodara. They have earned it all from cricket, their passion.