5 eventful comeback attempts in cricket
Cricketers can decide to attempt comebacks into the professional sport for a variety of reasons, but the outcome of it can be classified into two broad possibilities – a hero’s return, or a humiliating walk back from the stadium with tail between legs. As can be seen through the comebacks of these following individuals, a lot can happen when a comeback is attempted.
Retired Australia captain Michael Clarke is currently attempting a comeback in the shorter formats, while a former India international-turned-politician very recently turned heads on his return to the field.
Here are the diverse possibilities of what a cricketer might face on a comeback trail, and the diverse motivations that can be found to make such an attempt:
One of the most storied comebacks in Indian cricket is that of Javagal Srinath, who answered his country’s call leading up to the memorable 2003 World Cup campaign. In June 2002, Srinath expressed his desire to hang up his boots, in the aftermath of a tour of the West Indies towards the end of which he had looked out of steam.
Young pacers Zaheer Khan and Ashish Nehra were making a splash in international cricket, and Srinath was snubbed for a few subsequent series. However, Chief Selector Brijesh Patel and captain Sourav Ganguly were among those who felt that the pace attack missed Srinath’s leadership, and tried to persuade him to rethink his retirement.
As if to prove a point, Srinath took four wickets in seven balls including a hat-trick, playing for Leicestershire in the county season. The 33-year-old was brought back into the international fold in the final of the 2002 Champions Trophy. His subsequent run of form made it look like he had never been out of the side – he took 18 wickets in a 2-5 series defeat to New Zealand in January 2003, he captured 16 wickets in the World Cup that followed, and formed the core of the bowling attack as India progressed to the final.
Until the semi final, his bowling average had been 17.62 with an economy of 3.48. He finally bowed out after the World Cup, at 8th place on the ICC Player rankings – no Indian fast bowler has gone out of the game before or after at such a high.