Australian coach Darren Lehmann has confirmed that Chris Rogers will open the batting for the Aussies in the first Test against England during The Ashes. This means, Rogers will be among the rare breed of cricketers to have made their comeback to international cricket in the 30’s. The left-handed batsman, who is now 35, made his Test debut against India at Perth in January 2008, but was dumped after managing only 19 runs in the team’s surprise loss. However, with some prolific batting performances, he is now back in the reckoning, actually replacing David Warner at the top of the order. Here’s a look at some other cricketers who made surprise comebacks late in their career.
Robin Singh: The former India all-rounder made his ODI debut as a youngster in the West Indies, the country of his birth, in 1989, but was dumped after a couple of games, without being given a fair run. It took as many as seven years before he got a second chance to play for India, in November 1996. At the time of being dropped, Singh had unremarkable career stats of two matches, 13 runs and an average of 13. He did not pick any wickets as well. Between 1996 and his axing for one final time in 2001 though he played a credible 134 games, scoring 2323 runs, averaging 26 with one hundred. He also grabbed 69 wickets in these matches, inclusive of two five-wicket hauls. Singh was India’s best fielder during his time, holding on to 33 catches, and making many brilliant stops.
Bob Simpson: The Aussie legend, who made his Test debut in December 1957, played 52 Tests for his county until January 1968, when he announced his retirement. At the time of his hanging up his boots, Simpson had scored 4131 runs at an average of 41.60. In addition, he also picked up 60 wickets. However, nearly a decade later, in December 1977, Simpson made a surprise comeback to the Aussie squad, as skipper at the age of 41, as most of the players had defected to the controversial World Series Cricket (WSC). Simpson played 10 more Tests, averaging 39, and also picked up 11 wickets.
Misbah-Ul-Haq: The current Pakistan skipper, who is now 39 years old, made his Test debut back in 2001 against New Zealand at Auckland. He then featured infrequently, in only four more Tests over the next two years, before being dumped. Misbah was eventually recalled for the Karachi Test against South Africa in October 2007, by which time he was 33. Since, he has averaged close to 50 in 34 Tests, with three hundreds and a highest of 161 not out. Misbah averages over 40 in ODIs as well.
Cameron Cuffy: A former Windies medium pacer, Cuffy was 31 when he made his international comeback in January 2001. He made his ODI debut in 1994 and went on play till 1997, during which he featured in only 11 matches, and picked up nine wickets averaging 39. Following his comeback, he played 30 games and grabbed 32 wickets at a much more impressive average of 34. Cuffy was dropped in December 2002, and never recalled.
--By A Cricket Analyst