In late 2003, he was selected for the India Under-19 team to compete in an Asian ODI
competition in Pakistan, where he was the leading bowler with 18 wickets. This was
more than twice that of the second leading wicket-taker.
His bowling average of 7.38 was also the best of the tournament and he was named
as the player of the tournament.
Within a couple of years in International cricket,he was thought of as a possible
successor for Kapil Dev in the all around department.His instinct is not merely to
what to bowl to whom and when,but also to keep learning new tricks.
Pathan began to suffer loss of form during the tour of the West Indies in May
2006, when he managed only 24 runs at a batting average of 6 runs and averaging
6 wickets at 29.83 while bowling in the ODI arena. After a poor display in a first-
class tour match, he was dropped from the Test team as Vikram Singh became
the third pace bowler and captain Rahul Dravid scrapped the five bowler
Indian captain Rahul Dravid remained optimistic about Pathan's prospects, stating "The number of Man-of-the-Matches that Irfan has won is a testimony to the fact that he's a proven matchwinner for us. He takes wickets early, contributes with the bat, is good in the field."