Cricket's Comeback Men: Players who have made impressive return to the field
The contemporary phase has seen quite a few players returning to their respective international sides with a bang.
The ongoing phase of the international cricket is one where fans and experts have been pondering over the future welfare of the sport, with the sustainability of a three-format calendar up for debate amidst proliferation of T20 leagues.
While that has caught most of the limelight, slipping under the radar a little bit has been the on-field action, where players continue to give it their all in Tests, ODIs and T20Is, apart from their domestic franchises and clubs.
Among these gents are some of cricket's contemporary comeback men, who have returned to the field after a long exile and are making their presence felt.
These are players their respective international sides seemingly moved over, but they've broken the door reopen and are shining on the cricket field again. We focus today on five such heroes with the bat in hand.
Cricket's Comeback Men
1. Dinesh Karthik
Perhaps the most heartening tale at this year's edition of the IPL involved the protagonist figure of Dinesh Karthik, who announced to the world his desire to make a comeback in the Indian colours and achieved it with an outstanding season for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB).
Playing the role of an end-overs aggressor, something he has always relished, Karthik smashed 330 runs at an average of 55 while striking the ball at 183.33 for RCB. No one scored quicker for the popular franchise, with only one of their players averaging higher than the 36-year-old.
Proving age is just a number, Karthik was soon reincorporated into the Indian T20I side and has since played multiple knocks of substance down the order, proving his longevity and the strength to his dream of "doing something special" for the country at the T20 World Cup in Australia.
2. Fawad Alam
Not far off in terms of the heroism with his return to international cricket is Pakistan left-hander Fawad Alam, who went through an 11-year absence from the Test side despite starting his career with a century in Sri Lanka.
From 2009 till the summer of 2020, Alam kept piling on runs at the domestic level, only to be ignored by one selection committee after the other as the decision-makers felt his unorthodox technique is not upto the task.
Proving them wrong when he finally got the nod, he has smashed 761 runs over 16 Test matches for Pakistan, including four hundreds. This year hasn't been the greatest for Alam with some inconsistent outings against Australia and Sri Lanka, but he averaged 50.21 from the point of his comeback till the end of last year.
3. David Wiese
Life is what happens to you when you're busy planning other things. David Wiese could well tell himself that and offer a grin as the former South African allrounder refinds his mojo with Namibia in international cricket. Dropped by the Proteas back in 2016, Wiese found his new base with the Namibians, with his eligibility cleared due to the fact that his father was born in the neighbouring African country.
Upon comeback to the international game, Wiese proved to be one of the stand-out performers at the T20 World Cup in UAE. Proving a glue to Namibia's inexperienced batting unit and someone capable of providing useful fifth-bowler duties, he scored 227 runs and bagged 6 wickets with a decent economy rate of 7.42. Whenever Namibia needed a hero to bail them out of a difficult situation, Wiese emerged as one for the rising associates.
4. Usman Khawaja
An injury to the in-form Travis Head ahead of the New Year's Test in Sydney against England provided Usman Khawaja an opportunity to play for Australia again and give his dwindling career a new lease of life. The experienced left-hander produced two outstanding centuries and hasn't looked back.
With his most recent international game dating back the summer of 2019, fans and experts were beginning to sing the eulogies to Khawaja's career for Australia. But a window of opportunity near the end of last winter's Ashes proved to be a game-changing one for him, as he has only dominated the Test game with the bat since.
Khawaja, who provided the final touches to Australia's 4-0 Ashes victory, went on to have an astounding return to Pakistan - the country of his berth - in a historic Test series earlier in the year and also proved to be a stand-out player in the recent series in Sri Lanka. The left-hander is averaging a jaw-dropping 98.66 for the year with four centuries.
5. Rilee Rossouw
The end of Kolpak deals in UK's English county set-up has been a blessing for South Africa, who have had a number of their players reappearing domestically and at the international stage as well. Among them is talented left-hand batter Rilee Rossouw, who looked like a lost cause to the Proteas due to his Kolpak association with Hampshire.
At the point of signing the deal in 2017, Rossouw was 27, approaching his peak years as an international batter. But he chose the safety and the security provided by a county deal and leagues around the world over international duties, where a weakening rand and white-player talent exodus only further encouraged him to continue going down this path.
That changed last week, though, as Rossouw was seen blasting the Englishmen in the T20I series for South Africa upon comeback. After failing in the opening match, Rossouw made his presence felt in the second with an unbeaten 96 off just 55 deliveries, playing a huge role in Proteas' victory. He helped his team achieve the series win with a critical cameo of 31 off 18 in Southampton on Sunday (July 31).
Rossouw is considered important to South Africa's T20 World Cup plans, given his rising stocks as a player in the shortest format. Active in leagues around the world, he has smashed 2,044 runs in T20s at an average of 38.56 and strike-rate of 164.83 since the start of 2020.