The best comeback story of the just finished 2023 season has been 34-year-old pacer Mohit Sharma, who was a net bowler for the Gujarat Titans last year and almost led the side to its second consecutive IPL championship.
When Hardik Pandya comforted Mohit after Ravindra Jadeja's last over blitz gave CSK a record-tying sixth championship, it not only demonstrated the captain's integrity but also recognised the Haryana pacer's significant contribution to the Titans' season.
Nothing can diminish Mohit's efforts during the season, as he finished with 27 wickets in 14 games, second only to colleague and buddy Mohammed Shami. This is despite the fact that he was unable to nail the last two balls of the 15th over after a flawless first four deliveries.
Mohit disappeared from view shortly after representing India in the 2015 World Cup semi-final, but eight years later, the seasoned competitor has stormed back into the limelight.
Although it's unlikely that he would play 50-over cricket again, can he maintain his health and form to make the Indian side for the T20 World Cup in 2024?
Although it is unlikely given that the ICC tournament is set for the West Indies and the USA immediately after the IPL the following year, he has made a compelling argument to be considered for the few T20 matches that the national team participates in during a 50-over World Cup year.
It shouldn't come as a surprise if Mohit teams up with Deepak Chahar for India's five-match T20 series in the USA and the West Indies in July.
Mohit was brought out to his full potential by Hardik at Titans, who is also scheduled to lead India in the next T20 tournament. After a performance like that, he could be persuaded to give the wily pacer another chance at the top level.
Following his successes at CSK under MS Dhoni, Mohit entered the Indian squad ten years ago. However, it is his time with Titans where he has most enjoyed himself. While the batters are still troubled by his back of the hand slower ball, cutters, and knuckle ball, his increased fitness also makes it possible for him to bowl yorkers at a decent speed.
“Mahi bhai has been my coach for the most of my IPL and India careers. He deserves a tonne of credit for helping me achieve my greatest outcomes because of me.
“How much you are enjoying the game, though, is what matters more to me. The years 2013 to 2016 for CSK were the pinnacle of my professional career, but this IPL atmosphere is the greatest I've ever had, according to Mohit, who made his Titans debut last month.
After dismissing the raging MS Dhoni and Ambati Rayudu off consecutive deliveries in the small hours of Tuesday, Mohit gave the Titans the optimism they needed.
The first four balls of the 20th over, in which he needed to save 13 shots, were flawless block-hole throws that prevented either Shivam Dube or Jadeja from getting beneath them.
Until Jadeja's genius ripped the game away from Titans in possibly the most thrilling end in tournament history, it appeared there was no turning back for CSK.
It was impossible to criticise Mohit for missing those two balls. He had done all he could in the game of razor-thin margins.
Following the death of his father during the COVID-19 pandemic, Mohit's outlook on life has altered. He won't be considering a return for India, but if that is what fate has in store for him, you can count on him to have an immediate effect, just as he did in the IPL this season.