Kolkata, Apr 23: Kolkata Knight Riders' team management and the fans might be wondering how many more chances does Yusuf Pathan need before he explodes on the IPL 5 stage. Or will ever blast his way to form or face the axe?
To be fair for other players in the squad, the time has come for captain Gautam Gambhir and owner Shahrukh Khan to give Yusuf a break. That might really help.
The Baroda all-rounder was bought by Kolkata for $2.1 million last year. He has come nowhere close to playing like a two-million-dollar cricketer. So, how many more matches to wait?
He is the biggest flop of IPL 5 so far.
Last year was a better one for him. He did well in patches with bat but took 13 wickets. He accumulated 283 runs in 15 games (11 innings). He was team's second highest six-hitter with 13, behind Manoj Tiwary (14). Tiwary was better than Yusuf in 2011 with 359 runs.
On Sunday night, an opportunity came again for him to steer his team to victory in a small chase. But what did he do. Messed up with his batting again. He was back in the pavilion after scoring just six runs as Kolkata struggled to reach the 127-run target in 19 overs against Deccan Chargers.
Yusuf has featured in seven matches this season. He has batted in six of those innings and tallied a mere 29 runs at an average of 5.80. The time spent at the crease in all innings put together is 35 balls. And the strike rate is 82.85. He has two ducks to his name and highest in IPL 5 is 15.
While bowling, he is yet to dismiss a batsman this season. He has bowled 10 overs for 87 runs.
An angry Gambhir had slammed his batsman after Kolkata lost to Kings XI Punjab last Sunday. It was a low-scoring game which Kolkata lost while chasing.
"He (Yusuf) needs to deliver to be very honest. He just can't keep playing these kind of shots. He is an important player for us. Hope he can get back to runs as soon as possible. I've lot of faith in him. He is a big match player. Hopefully he can end up winning a couple of games which is very important for us," Gambhi had said when he was asked about Yusuf.
If Kolkata are to go all the way to the title this year, Yusuf's form is vital. If the right-handed big-hitter might find himself on the bench if he fails in next couple of games. At the end of the day, it is not the reputation of the batsman which matters, but performance on the field. It is now or never for Yusuf. He needs to rediscover his touch.