As the IPL 2023 season is coming to an end, it’s time to take a look back and remember some of the incredible comebacks witnessed throughout the tournament. With the final just a day away, we take a moment to appreciate the remarkable resurgence of these six cricketers, who defied expectations and proved that age is no barrier to success. Let’s revisit the inspiring journeys of these players in this IPL season.
6) Varun Chakravarthy:
After having a great outing in the IPL 2021, Varun got a chance to play for the Indian team in the T20 series against Sri Lanka. He performed decently in the series, taking three wickets in two innings. He even got selected in the 15-member squad for the T20 World Cup in 2021. But he was wicketless in the three matches he played in the tournament. After that, he was dropped from the Indian squad for the next T20 series. In IPL 2022, it became worse for him. He took only six wickets in the entire season. He was brutally trolled by the cricket fans for his performance.
But the KKR franchise showed full faith in their spinner. They again retained Varun before the IPL 2023 auctions. It had become necessary for him to showcase his bowling skills again and make a comeback. This time he didn’t disappoint his team; he bowled brilliantly from the very first match. In the 9th match of the IPL 2023, he registered his 2nd-best figure in his IPL career. He took four important wickets of RCB by giving up just 15 runs in the game.
He continued his excellent bowling spells in almost every game.
He took two more three-wicket hauls in the season against RCB and PBKS. He was the leading wicket taker for Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL 2023 by taking 20 wickets in just 14 appearances with an economy rate of 8.15. He was the seventh-highest wicket-taker of the tournament.
5) Sandeep Sharma:
He initially went unsold in the IPL 2023 auctions. But just before the start of this IPL 2023, the main pacer of the Rajasthan Royals, Prasiddh Krishna, got ruled out of the entire season due to a lumber stress fracture. Then the franchise signed Sandeep Sharma at his base price.
Sandeep is an IPL legend, but he was not getting regular chances in the playing XI of his previous franchises in the last few seasons. However, being the only experienced Indian pacer in the Rajasthan Royals’ squad, it was the perfect time for him to showcase his bowling skills and become an asset for the Rajasthan team.
He formed a deadly pair with NZ Pacer Trent Boult and led the RR bowling unit perfectly. In the 17th match of the IPL 2023, he successfully defended 7 runs in the last 3 balls of the match against the greatest IPL finishers of all time, MS Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja. This was just the start of his astonishing comeback.
After that match, he continued his excellent bowling performance against the table-topping Gujarat Titans with a spell of 2/25 in four overs. Overall, he took 10 wickets in 12 matches with an economy rate of 8.6 this season.
4) Ishant Sharma:
In the IPL 2023 auctions, the Delhi Capitals acquired his services at a base price of 50 lakhs. He was not the first choice of the Delhi team in the playing XI. But when Khaleel Ahmed got injured and was rested for a few matches, Ishant got his opportunity.
The first match he played in this IPL season was against KKR, and he grabbed the opportunity with both hands. He finished the match with a score of 2 for 19 in his four overs. He was also rewarded with the player of the match award for his brilliant spell in the game. He continued his tight, economical bowling in the next matches.
However, his best performance came in the 44th game of the IPL 2023, which was against the Gujarat Titans. He successfully defended 12 runs in the final over of the match. He just gave up six runs in the last over against the likes of established T20 finishers like Hardik Pandya, Rahul Tewatiya, and Rashid Khan. Rahul Tewatiya had just hit a hat-trick of sixes against Anrich Nortje in the 19th over, but he couldn’t do the same against Ishant. Instead, Ishant Sharma got his wicket. He finished with a spell of 2/23 in that game.
In this entire IPL season, Ishant Sharma looked completely disciplined with his skills, and he finished this season with 10 wickets in just 8 games with a brilliant bowling average of 20.60.
3) Ajinkya Rahane:
Since IPL 2020, Ajinkya Rahane has disappointed in every season with his batting performances. He was not even a regular choice for his teams in the last three IPL seasons. He was even dropped from the Indian Test team due to his bad form. Before the IPL 2023 auctions, everyone was expecting him to go unsold, but CSK surprised everyone by buying Rahane at his base price.
In the few initial matches of the season, he was not getting chances in the playing XI of CSK. When Chennai’s most expensive buy, Ben Stokes, got injured, Rahane got the chance to play for CSK in the middle order. In his debut match for CSK, that too against their archrivals Mumbai Indians, he played an impressive knock of 61 off 27 deliveries to power his team to a seven-wicket victory. He continued attacking opponents’ bowlers in the next matches against Rajasthan and Bangalore.
In the 33rd match of the IPL 2023, Rahane stepped up again and smashed the bowlers of KKR all over the stadium. He scored an unbeaten 71 runs in that match in just 29 deliveries. His brilliant knock helped CSK defeat the Kolkata Knight Riders by a margin of 49 runs. His excellent batting in the IPL helped him make a comeback in the Indian Test Team, as he was included in the Indian squad that will face Australia in the WTC final.
2) Piyush Chawla:
He was also bought by his team, the Mumbai Indians, at a base price of 50 lakhs in the IPL 2023 auction. This year, the Mumbai Indians’ awful bowling performance cost them the entire season. Piyush Chawla was the only positive in their bowling lineup. The main bowler of the Mumbai Indians, Jasprit Bumrah, was already ruled out of the season even before the IPL 2023 started. Later, Jofra Archer and Riley Meredith were also ruled out of the tournament. After all these unfortunate injuries to his team members, Piyush had to lead the MI bowling attack.
Piyush Chawla didn’t disappoint any of the MI fans; he became the leading wicket taker of the Mumbai Indians in this IPL season, ranked 4th in the purple cap list. He took 22 wickets in the tournament in just 16 games, with an economy rate of 8.11.
He had an important role in the first victory of the Mumbai Indians this season; he took 3 wickets by giving just 22 runs in the match against the Delhi Capitals, which MI won. He continued bowling exceptionally well throughout the entire season, consistently taking wickets and impressing everyone with his skills.
1) Mohit Sharma:
The comeback of Mohit Sharma is truly like a fairy tale. He went unsold in the previous two IPL seasons. He was even used as a net bowler by the Gujarat Titans in the IPL 2022. But in the auctions before IPL 2023, the Gujarat Titans bought him at his base price.
Mohit Sharma has done his job brilliantly for the Gujarat Titans throughout the IPL 2023. Along with the likes of Mohammad Shami, Hardik Pandya, and Joshua Little, the 35-year-old pacer strengthened the pace attack in Gujarat.
He started bowling great spells in his first match of the IPL 2023. In his first match of the season that he played against the Punjab Kings, he finished with 2/17 in four overs. In the 30th match of the IPL 2023, which was against Lucknow Supergiants in Ekana Stadium, he bowled a match-winning spell of 2/17 in three overs. He was also adjudged the player of the match for his exceptional bowling in the game.
He continued his superb spells in the next game. He also took two four-wicket hauls in the matches against LSG and SRH. But his best was yet to come. In the match against Mumbai Indians in qualifier 2, he scalped five wickets in just 14 deliveries, giving up just 10 runs in his entire spell. His 5 for 10 against MI was the 2nd best bowling figure for any player in the IPL playoffs.
He is now the 3rd highest wicket taker in IPL 2023, having taken 24 wickets in just 13 matches for GT. He had an economy rate of 7.8 and a mind-blowing bowling average of 13.54 during the tournament. This IPL 2023 season has been his best IPL season yet.