You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Memorable comebacks by Indian cricketers in 2016

India Today logo India Today 28-12-2016

It has been a terrific year for Indian cricket in terms of the number of wins it registered across all three formats of the game. While Virat Kohli and Ravichandran Ashwin showed us what they can do when they are at the peak of their prowess, we also got to witness some memorable performances from players who were coming back into the Indian team after a while.

The Indian Test team saw the return of three players this year - Mohammed Shami, Gautam Gambhir, Parthiv Patel - and all three managed to grab headlines with their performances. While in the T20I team it was the return of Yuvraj Singh which drew the most interest among fans.

Mohammed Shami: 10 Tests, 29 wickets at 26.86

Making a comeback in the team after a long injury layoff is perhaps the toughest thing to do for a professional sportsman. Shami, who spent more than year on the sidelines, had to do exactly that.

The 26-year-old Bengal paceman was India's best bowler at the 50-over World Cup in Australia last year along with Umesh Yadav. Shami took 17 wickets in seven matches at an average of 17.29 and even though he bowled with pace and fire, he was struggling with a knee injury throughout the tournament.

India's semi-final defeat against Australia in the World Cup in March was Shami's final international game in 2015 after which he underwent knee surgery. His rehabilitation took more than a year and Shami made a comeback in the team for the four-match Test series in the West Indies. He picked up 11 wickets on his return in four games at an average of 25.81 and was the second-highest wicket-taker after Ravichandran Ashwin on that tour. Shami played a vital role for the team as India clinched the series 4-0.

Shami continued to bowl with pace and kept on taking wickets in every game that he played since his return this year. He took eight wickets in three matches against New Zealand including six wickets in the Kolkata Test which India won by 178 runs.

Shami was terrific in the series against England as well picking up 10 wickets in three matches before he injured his knee again and missed the final two Tests in Mumbai and Chennai. Even though he didn't play the last two games he was still the third highest wicket-taker for India in the series behind Ashwin (28) and Ravindra Jadeja (26).

Gautam Gambhir: 2 Tests, 108 runs at 27.00

Gautam Gambhir made his comeback into the Test team after a gap of two years after regular opener Lokesh Rahul injured his right hamstring in the first Test against New Zealand in Kanpur.

Gambhir was in terrific form in the domestic circuit scoring 356 runs in five innings at 71.20 in the Duleep Trophy and was dismissed only once without getting to a half-century. Gambhir was drafted into the playing XI for the third Test against the Blackcaps where he showed signs of his vintage self in the first innings but got out on 29. In the second innings though he made amends and scored a quick-fire fifty off 56 balls to help India set a target of 475 for the visitors who then folded for 153 as India swept the series 3-0.

Gambhir kept his place in the side for the first Test against England at Rajkot where he again got out on 29 in the first innings but was dismissed without scoring in the second innings. Rahul recovered from his injury by the next Test which brought an end to Gambhir's stint with the team.

Even though the 34-year-old is not a part of the first-choice team anymore but the selectors still keep an eye out for him so that he can be called up whenever needed. Gambhir's experience is always a key factor and it will come in handy to have him in the squad on away tours.

Parthiv Patel: 3 Tests, 195 runs at 65.00

One of the biggest problems faced by the Indian Test team this year was the injury to its players in each and every series. The long list of injuries meant that the BCCI had to regularly lookout for players who could fill in the vacant spots and still keep India's winning momentum intact.

An injury to regular wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha saw the return of Parthiv Patel in the Test side after a gap of eight years. Patel's comeback was probably the best of the lot here as he scored 195 runs in the three Tests against England in Mohali, Mumbai and Chennai.

Returning to the side after such a long time is a very hard task in itself but Parthiv had the additional responsibility of keeping wickets against India's spinners Ashwin and Jadeja. Saha is regarded as the best keeper in the country and filling his shoes was no mean task but Parthiv, after a rusty start, quickly got into the groove and affected three dismissals in the first innings at Mohali.

After keeping wickets he was asked to open the innings in place of KL Rahul, who had a relapse of the hamstring injury which he was suffering from earlier. Parthiv scored 42 runs on his return and then smashed an unbeaten 67 in the second innings when India needed just 103 runs to win. Parthiv in all hammered 109 runs and was affected five dismissals in his comeback match.

In the next match two matches at Mumbai and Chennai, Parthiv scored 86 runs (15, 71) and was a part of four dismissals including a stumping off Alastair Cook in Mumbai in the first innings to cap off a memorable return in the Indian team.

Yuvraj Singh: 15 Matches, 166 runs at 20.75

Superstar all-rounder Yuvraj Singh always draws a lot of attention whether he's on the field or off it. His disappointing knock in the World T20 final against Sri Lanka in 2014 led to his ouster from the T20I squad but Yuvraj fought his way back into the team for the three-match T20I series against Australia earlier this year.

Yuvraj had a mediocre return to the team this year scoring 166 runs in 15 T20Is with 35 being his highest score. Yuvraj's confidence was clearly shaken on his return to the team after what happened in the World T20 two years ago. But he played some gritty knocks in the tournament in Bangladesh this year and provided stability in the middle order while Virat Kohli went about hammering half-centuries at will.

Yuvraj has been scoring heavily in the Ranji Trophy this season for Punjab and even smashed a double hundred against Baroda in October. He may not be a regular feature in the limited-overs side but a player like Yuvraj can never be ignored specially when it comes to the big tournaments where he has always performed at his best.

More from India Today

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon