BCCI administrative head Prof Ratnakar Shetty told reporters here that the decision to call back the struggling paceman was taken by chief selector Dilip Vengsarkar in consultation with the team management in South Africa.
Pathan has recently been struggling to find his rhythm and looked low in confidence while bowling and was left out of the first Test in Johannesburg which India won by 123 runs.
The selectors, along with the team management, felt that it was better if Pathan was sent home to play the domestic tourney where he could find his form and rhythm once again, Mr Shetty said.
"Irfan Pathan is a really important member for us leading into the World Cup, and leading into a lot of tournaments that we have," said Rahul Dravid explaining the decision to send home a man who took a hat-trick against Pakistan while opening the bowling in a Test match less than a year ago.
"Irfan's not getting as much cricket as we hoped in this series and we've discussed it with him, with the coaching staff and with the chairman of selectors. We feel it's in Irfan's best interests that he goes back and plays Ranji Trophy games on the 2nd and 10th before the start of the one-day series in India," he said.
"He himself feels that he needs to have some bowling. And we, the coaching staff and senior management group, feel that he is too important for us. We need to get him right, and one of the is to get him to play some cricket," Dravid added.
This decision also came in the backdrop of the recent statement by BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah that the selectors had the rights to call back players from tours whom they think are not performing upto their expectations.