5 players who revived their careers after major setbacks

Shane Warne
Shane Warne in his early days
anand muralidharan

The world of sport is littered with career setbacks and great comebacks, with teams and players overcoming obstacles and hurdles over the years to achieve great success.

Stories of great comebacks unite audiences all over the world, irrespective of the sport, depending on the magnitude of the comeback. In cricket though, the scandals have intensified over the years with tales of corruption and bureaucracy flooding the sport, even at the highest level.

Although the sport of cricket has had its fair share of players coming back strong from a scandal or controversy and here we take a look at five international cricketers who revived their careers after suffering a major blow.

#1 Shane Warne

Australian cricket legend Shane Warne has faced his fair share of scandals and struggles during the course of his career. A multiple time World Cup-winning player and one of the greatest spin bowlers of all-time, Warne has never been far away from a controversy.

In what happened to be the first of many professional hurdles, Warne, along with Mark Waugh, was charged with a hefty fine for providing insider information to a bookmaker about the playing surface hours before a game in 1995.

In 2003, a day before the start of the WC, Warne was found guilty of taking a banned substance after a drug test returned positive for a banned diuretic. The Aussie spinner was banned from the game for a year, after which he returned to the national team and continued to represent his country.

Warne won two WCs, is the second highest wicket-taker in test history and achieved successes in all formats of the game. He also guided the Rajasthan Royals to victory in the first ever IPL season.

#2 Shoaib Akhtar

England v Pakistan - 3rd NatWest ODI
Ahktar playing in an ODI vs England

The Rawalpindi express from Pakistan, as he is commonly referred to, Shoaib Akhtar was a devasting former pace bowler and remains one of the fastest bowlers to have played professional cricket.

No stranger to scandal, controversy, politics and injuries, Akhtar's 15-year cricketing career was flooded with issues. A young, pacey fast bowler attracted the eye of many selectors early on with his ability and they drafted him into the national team to learn from the likes of Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis.

An inconsistent WC performance in 2003, coupled with a substance abuse scandal in the midst of persistent niggling injuries, all resulted in the dampening of the promising career of a giant Pakistani talent.

Despite all of his issues, the Rawalpindi Express continued to work hard on all fronts, fighting numerous lawsuits and injuries to make a return to the international cricket scene and the sport he loves to play.

Niggling injuries kept the pacer out of Pakistan's major tournament squads although he was part of another WC squad in 2011, after which he called time on his career.

#3 Herschelle Gibbs

South Africa Portrait Session - ICC T20 World Cup

Former South African opening batsman, Herschelle Gibbs has entertained audiences worldwide during his 15-year long international career. An explosive batsman, Gibbs made international debut for his country in 1996 and cemented his place in SA's playing eleven, forming a good partnership with Gary Kirsten.

No stranger to conflict, Gibbs was sidelined by the South African cricket association for marijuana use during a tour of the West Indies. Furthermore, Gibbs faced more issues off the field as he was caught up in a match-fixing scandal that saw Hansie Cronje banned for life and Gibbs receiving a six-month ban from cricket.

Having served his sentence and faced criticism for his behaviour, Gibbs re-found his form on the field, showcasing brilliant batting performances and behaving maturely and professionally.

A fiery character with great focus and technique with the bat and as a fielder, Gibbs produced some fascinating moments that will live in the memory of cricket fans through the ages.

#4 Marlon Samuels

ICC World Twenty20 India 2016: Final - England v West Indies
Samuels celebrating win in ICC World Twenty20 India 2016: Final

Talented West Indian all-rounder, Marlon Samuels has been in the thick of conflict since the start of his career in 2000. A big hitting right-hand batsmen and a slow off spinner, Samuels has been pivotal for his nation and has heavily been a part of their recent success.

Samuels has been in and out of the national squad with topsy-turvy performances and suspect bowling action issues, which have troubled the player throughout his career.

The West Indian was banned from the game on two separate occasions for a six month and one year period respectively before his action was passed off as legal with the new 15-degree limit rule implemented by the ICC.

Samuels was awarded the man of the match award in both of his country's T20 World Cup final triumphs, in 2012 and 2016. Two sensational, calm and composed innings in tight pressure situations from Samuels helped guide his team and nation to two WC victories and restore West Indies image as a big cricketing nation.

#5 Mohammad Amir

England & Pakistan Nets Session
Amir in a practise session for Pakistan

25-year-old Pakistani fast bowler, Mohammad Amir is an immensely talented player and made his mark on the world cricket stage when he made his international debut in the T20 WC in 2009.

Producing some mesmerising bowling spells for Pakistan during his early days as a 19-year-old, Amir was hailed as the next great bowler from Pakistan, a nation that has produced some of the game's finest pacers.

However, a massive spot-fixing scandal broke in 2010 during Pakistan's test series against England. It resulted in the young talented player getting banned from the international game for five years along with two other Pakistani players Mohammad Asif and Salman Bhat.

Unable to play for five years in what's considered to be the development years in a fast bowler's career, he battled on during these hard times. Amir returned to the game in 2016 to represent Pakistan and re-discover some of his early career form and re-establish himself amongst the elite bowlers in the world.

In the final of 2017 Champions Trophy, Amir produced an outstanding display of creative bowling that demolished neighbours and arch-rivals India to win the tournament. The bowler redeemed himself in the eyes of the Pakistan faithful, winning back their trust and support.

Edited by Sankalp Srivastava


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