Famous comebacks in Indian cricket
|Wed Sep 28 2016
Gautam Gambhir’s perseverance has paid off. The veteran opener, who last represented India in the English tour of 2014, is back in the national test squad. Continuing the same train of thought, we look at some famous comebacks in Indian cricket.
Also Read: Gautam Gambhir recalled for Kolkata test
1) Sourav Ganguly- 2006-07
In the early 2000s, Ganguly was the go to man in Indian cricket. From winning overseas test matches, to leading India to the brink of World Cup Glory, Ganguly created one milestone after another. It seemed he could do no wrong.
However, those versed in sports know very well that good times don’t last forever. After a sustained period of poor form, Ganguly clashed with new coach, Greg Chappell. The captain was then unceremoniously dumped from the national team.
However, the southpaw made the mother of all comebacks in the winter of the 2006-07 season. India were going through a difficult period with multiple reverses in the limited overs format. A tough test series in South Africa loomed.
It was in these circumstances that the prince of Kolkata made a stunning comeback. In fact, Ganguly finished as the highest Indian run getter in the series with 214 runs scored at an average of nearly 43. Although India lost the series, Ganguly had done his job and went on to have a healthy run of scores until his retirement in 2008.
2) Harbhajan Singh- 2000-01
This was the series which shaped the careers of VVS Laxman and the turbanator, Harbhajan Singh. Australia had arrived in India as one of the greatest test sides of all time. And with good reason.
The team included the likes of Slater, Langer, Hayden, the Waugh brothers and young stars Ponting and Gilchrist. The bowling was led by McGrath and Warne. It was as close to an unbeatable team as one can get.
But then in stepped a fearless 21 year old. Harbhajan was recalled to the team after previous instances of indiscipline. And what an inspired selection it was.
The wily off spinner captured 28 wickets in the second and third test matches with four consecutive 5 wicket hauls. He finished with 32 scalps in the series in the process starting lifelong rivalries with the likes of Ponting and Hayden.
3) Mohinder Amarnath
Amarnath was quite frankly the comeback man of Indian cricket. The younger son of the illustrious Lala Amarnath struggled to win a permanent place early on in his career.
Throughout his career, he made as many as nine comebacks to the Indian side. His star never shone as brightly as in the 1982-83 away series in Pakistan and West Indies.
In match after match India crumbled against the fiery pace of the opposition bowlers. Amarnath stood alone among the ruins and was even awarded man of the series against Pakistan.
4) Virender Sehwag- 2007-08
Sehwag’s reputation had taken a nose dive after India’s disastrous showing in the 2007 World Cup. He was dropped from both the Test and one day sides.
When the selectors sat down to pick the squad for the 2007-08 tour of Australia, Sehwag did not even make the probable’s list. However, he surprisingly made it to the final squad.
After being benched for the first two test matches, Sehwag made a comeback in the third match at Perth. He justified his selection with knocks of 29 and 43 on the fastest wicket in the country. For good measure, he also picked up 2 crucial wickets as India gunned for victory on the final day.
He followed it up with a knock of 151 in the Adelaide test, helping India draw the match.
5) Zaheer Khan 2006-07
We have earlier seen how Ganguly made his comeback in South Arica. One of the oft forgotten facts is that Zaheer Khan too was making his return and contributed significantly to India’s improved performance.
He was the perfect foil for Sreesanth in South Africa. Zaheer then regained his status as leader of the pack with a match-winning display at Trent Bridge. He went on to capture 311 wickets in test cricket. This is second only to the great Kapil Dev among Indian fast bowlers.