Gujarat Titans
Gujarat Titans' Mohit Sharma in IPL 2023 action.

Mohit Sharma finished second on the team to his close buddy Mohammed Shami with 27 wickets in 14 games.

The 34-year-old pacer Mohit Sharma, who was a net bowler for the Gujarat Titans in the previous season, has been the biggest comeback story of the just-concluded 2023 season. Titans captain Hardik Pandya showed his character and acknowledged the Haryana pacer’s enormous contribution to their campaign this season by giving Mohit a reassuring hug just seconds after Ravindra Jadeja’s final over blitz led CSK to a record-tying fifth victory. Mohit may have blown it by missing the final two balls of the 15th over after a fantastic first four, but his season-ending 27 wickets in 14 games were second only to those of teammate and buddy Mohammed Shami.

After representing India in the 2015 World Cup semi-finals, Mohit faded from the public eye. However, eight years later, the seasoned competitor has made a dramatic comeback.

No one expects him to return to 50-over cricket, but can he keep in shape for the 2024 Twenty20 World Cup and represent India? Even though it’s improbable that he’ll get a crack in the few Twenty20 matches the national team plays in a year when the 50-over World Cup is being held, he’s made a compelling case for consideration.

When India plays a five-match Twenty20 series in the West Indies and the United States in July, it would not be surprising to see Mohit team with Deepak Chahar.

Having gotten the best out of Mohit in Titans, Hardik, who is also slated to represent India in the upcoming T20 extravaganza, would be tempted to give the wily speed another try at the highest level.

Mohit made it to the Indian team ten years ago thanks to his performance for CSK under MS Dhoni, but he has thoroughly enjoyed his time with the Titans. Batters are still having a hard time with his slower back-of-the-hand ball, cutters, and knuckleball, but his increased fitness is allowing him to bowl yorkers at a good clip.

“Mahi bhai has been my coach for the better part of my time in the IPL and in India. I owe a lot of his success to the fact that he brought out the best in me when I was working with him. However, I care more about how much fun you are having than your performance. Mohit had told PTI just before making his Titans debut last month, “2013-2016 for CSK was the golden period in my career, but in terms of environment, it is the best I have experienced in the IPL.”

Mohit provided the Titans some much-needed optimism on Tuesday morning when he removed the rampaging Ambati Rayudu and MS Dhoni off consecutive deliveries.

The first four balls of the 20th over, where he had to defend 13, were exquisite block-hole deliveries that neither Shivam Dube nor Jadeja could get underneath.

In what was undoubtedly the most dramatic finale in tournament history, CSK appeared to be hopelessly down until Jadeja’s brilliance rescued them.

Mohit certainly didn’t drop the ball on either of those two occasions. He had exhausted every possible strategy in the game of razor-thin victories.

Mohit’s outlook on life has shifted since the epidemic of COVID-19, during which he lost his father. He has no plans to return to the Indian team, but if fate does bring him back, he will undoubtedly have the same kind of immediate impact he did in the Indian Premier League this year.

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