Not so long ago, Indian cricketer Ambati Rayudu retired from International cricket after the disappointment which happened in the World Cup selection. After being India’s number four in all the games leading up to the tournament, the selectors decided to show him the cold shoulder while selecting the 15-man squad. He was not considered even when two players were injured.
A heartbroken Rayudu did bid adieu from the International scene, but he recently said in an interview that he wouldn’t deny if the Indian team calls him. He also opened up positively on the chances of playing IPL. This kind of a saga isn’t new in cricket, or any sport for that matter. Many sportspersons in the past announced retirement and then made surprising comebacks into the fraternity.
Here is a list of some of those cricketers, who came back from retirement to trade their luck again in the game.
5. Carl Hooper
Carl Hooper. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Former Windies skipper Carl Hooper retired just three weeks before the ICC World Cup 1999. His announcement came as a shocker for many in the fraternity, with the mega event so close from commencement. He also was living in Adelaide for some time before making a surprise return in 2001.
Hooper was an important cricketer for the Windies in that transition phase and was made the captain immediately after he announced his comeback. He went on to get his 100th Test cap and 200th ODI cap for the Caribbeans, joining a very elite list of cricketers.
The all-rounder was the captain of the Windies side when South Africa became the first African country to host the World Cup in 2003. After a terrible campaign, he once again hung up his boots and this time, there was no coming back. Hooper is still rated as one of the most underrated all-rounders of their cricketing nation.
4. Kevin Pietersen
Kevin Pietersen. (Photo Source: Twitter)
A very enigmatic presence on the field and a poster boy of English cricket during his times, Kevin Pietersen scored more than 8,000 runs in Test cricket for the Three Lions. As much as he was a brilliant technician on his day, Pietersen was always an integral part of many controversies during his illustrious career.
Pietersen said in 2011 that he will be retiring from white-ball cricket to improve his game in the longest format. But it took only a few months for him to take a U-Turn on his decision and was selected in the squad almost immediately in ODIs and T20Is.
Pietersen holds the record for being the fastest to 2,000 runs in ODI cricket amongst the Englishmen. He scored 4,440 runs in ODIs for the country before his career came to an abrupt end. Pietersen then became a full-time commentator and voiced his opinions throughout the 2019 World Cup.
3. Brendan Taylor
Brendan Taylor. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Zimbabwe’s third-highest run-scorer in ODI cricket, Brendan Taylor is one of the best batsmen they produced. The 33-year-old made a sensational comeback to International cricket having announced his retirement right after scoring a brilliant hundred against India in the 2015 World Cup.
Taylor announced his retirement to sign for Nottinghamshire in County cricket. His stint in England wasn’t very memorable and was putting a little pressure on him. Stating personal reasons in 2017, he was released from the Nottinghamshire side and was eligible to play again for Zimbabwe.
After his return, he wasn’t the same batsman for the team in red. Zimbabwe getting expelled from ICC means he still remains 494 runs short of eclipsing Andy Flower as the highest run-scorer in their country’s history.
2. Shahid Afridi
Shahid Afridi. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Shahid Afridi is a no-brainer in this list. The former Pakistani captain announced his retirement from the game on multiple occasions but was called back again and again because of the lack of experience in the side. The saga first kick-started in 2006 when he announced temporary retirement in Tests but came back in 2010 as captain.
He was being a prolific member of the limited-overs side during that period and seeing his good form, the selectors expected him to be productive in the longest format. That didn’t transpire the way they would’ve wanted but Afridi once again announced retirement after the 2011 World Cup, only to come back in the mix a few months after.
He once again hung up his boots in 2017 from all forms of international cricket, but came back in 2018 to play one final game for Rest of the World at the Lord’s. That was Afridi’s last appearance in international cricket and has since continued in domestic T20 Leagues.
1. Imran Khan
Imran Khan. (Photo by Patrick Eagar/Patrick Eagar Collection via Getty Images)
Arguably the finest cricketer Pakistan has produced, Imran Khan hands down should be ranked number one in this category. One of cricket’s most enigmatic figures of all time, Imran Khan built a solid unit after coming back from retirement and helped his country win their only World Cup in 1992.
The current Prime Minister of Pakistan retired from International cricket after the 1987 World Cup, which was co-hosted by India and Pakistan. Despite all the amazing numbers he achieved in Test cricket, not winning the World Cup remained a huge regret for him. He returned to the International scenario upon the request of the then Pakistan President General Zia-ul-Haq.
Soon after coming back, he picked up 23 wickets against West Indies in just 3 Tests in the 1988 series. He rated that performance as his last best bowling rendition as a Pakistani cricketer. After the final against England in 1992, Imran Khan never played International cricket again.
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