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Not just Rishabh Pant, IPL 2024 to see 5 much-awaited comebacks as franchises receive grand boost in title charge

The 2024 edition of the Indian Premier League will see five much-awaited player returns – three of whom are Indians!

The 2024 edition of the Indian Premier League is set to begin on March 23, with defending champions Chennai Super Kings meeting the Royal Challengers Bangalore in Chennai. The season marks the return of some of the leading cricketing stars from around the world in the tournament; while some will make a comeback after injury absences last year, a fair few had opted out of the previous editions but return to bolster their franchises this year.

Rishabh Pant (L) will return to competitive cricket for the first time since December 2022; Mitchell Starc will take the field for Kolkata Knight Riders(IPL/AP)

Let’s take a look at some of the key players making a return to the IPL in 2024:

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Also read Gautam Gambhir sets his expectations straight from KKR’s INR 24.75 crore buy Mitchell Starc: ‘I said at the auction…’

Rishabh Pant

The Indian wicketkeeper-batter endured a near-fatal car crash in December 2022, and there were considerable doubts over his cricketing future. Throughout the next year, Pant underwent rehab and recovery focussed on a swift return to competitive cricket action; earlier this month, he was finally cleared by the National Cricket Academy (NCA) to take part in the IPL.

Pant, who leads the Delhi Capitals in the tournament, will bolster the Capitals’ batting attack significantly, and the franchise will aim for an improved performance this year. Last season, the side finished a dismal ninth.

A standout performance in the IPL could also pave the way for Pant to clinch a spot in India’s T20 World Cup squad.

Jasprit Bumrah

As IPL 2023 saw Bumrah sidelined due to a back stress injury, the Mumbai Indians fans will be eager to see their frontline Indian bowler returning to action in the upcoming edition. To their immense delight, Bumrah is in his prime form going into IPL 2024.

Bumrah produced a remarkable display in the recent Test series against England, securing 19 wickets in four Tests. Bumrah hasn’t played in white-ball cricket since the ODI World Cup last year, however; his last T20 appearance goes even further back in August 2023, when he made a comeback to professional cricket against Ireland.

Mitchell Starc

After years of absence from the premier T20 league, Australia’s star pacer Mitchell Starc will make a return to IPL this year with the Kolkata Knight Riders. His arrival precedes significant attention, as Starc became the most expensive player in the league during the auction in December. After an intense bidding war, the KKR secured Starc’s services for a whopping INR 24.75 crore.

Starc’s last IPL appearance came in 2015 when he took the field for the Royal Challengers Bangalore. He had withdrawn from the 2018 season after KKR had bought him that season. Unlike Bumrah, Starc did play in two T20Is last month during the series against New Zealand.

Pat Cummins

The Australian captain had a year to remember in 2023; after withdrawing from the IPL season last year to focus on his Australian cricket commitments, Cummins enjoyed the rewards with a World Test Championship and an ODI World Cup title to his cabinet by the end of the year. Unsurprisingly, he was named the captain of the Sunrisers Hyderabad this year; the SRH bid INR 20.50 crore for him in the auction.

Cummins’ IPL track record has been underwhelming, as evidenced by his modest returns in the 2022 season, where he managed just seven wickets in five matches for KKR at an economy rate of 10.69. Moreover, Cummins faces the daunting task of leading a team for the first time in T20 cricket.

Shreyas Iyer

The Indian batter has been in the news recently for reasons both on and off the field. After an unceremonious exclusion from BCCI central contracts due to seemingly prioritising IPL over domestic cricket, Iyer played for Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy. However, reports emerged that Iyer was experiencing issues related to back despite being cleared by the NCA last month, and the batter didn’t take the field during Days 4 and 5 of the Ranji Trophy final against Vidarbha.

While a Mumbai official stated that Iyer will join Kolkata Knight Riders as per the schedule, there is no confirmation from either the franchise or the player over the same. Regardless, it seems the batter will eventually turn up for the side sooner or later, which will mark his comeback to the side for the first time since 2022.

Iyer had missed the last edition due to a back injury and underwent surgery for the same mid-way through the season.


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