Nitin Naik ponders the utility Yusuf Pathan, and where he has done best in the line-up:
Like the great Australian wicketkeeper batsman Adam Gilchrist, who hardly ever performed in Tests when the team was say 450-5 and almost always delivered when they were in a 150-5 scenario, Yusuf too revels in a crisis. If you look at all his important knocks, they have come whenever India have badly needed them.
Naik ends with two slightly conflicting conclusions — Pathan performs well under pressure and when there’s nothing to lose. You’d think pressure exists precisely because of the expectation of performance, leaving plenty to lose, especially loss of face (i.e., Pathan failed; what good is he?) Otherwise, Naik has a solid hypothesis: don’t send Pathan in as a pinch-hitter; treat him as a solid lower-order batsmen a la Michael Bevan or Ajay Jadeja. It’s a step up for Pathan, who was seen early in his career as parimarily an accelerent and little else. (I imagine this is why Dhoni sent him in at No. 4 against South Africa in the first place: to make sure India had 100 runs off the last 10 overs and keep up the pace.) On that note, I agree with Naik — send in Kohli and Yuvraj Singh when there is enough time in an innings; keep Pathan at No. 6/7 as a partner for the tail.