From the fear of amputation to a dream 20th over – Mohsin Khan’s remarkable IPL comeback is the victory of resilience over adversity
Mohsin Khan defended 11 runs in the last over against Mumbai Indians on Tuesday (May 16) in just his second competitive game of cricket since the last IPL. The story of his comeback from a career-threatening injury is full of defiance and resilience, and it needs to be told.
Last year, when Mohsin Khan made his debut for Lucknow Super Giants in their first match of the season, he didn’t have the best of starts. Coming in first change, he went for ten runs off his first over and finished the game with figures of 0-18 off two overs. He didn’t get a game for the next one month.
After sitting out for six games, Mohsin finally got another chance when Avesh Khan was unavailable for the match against MI due to a slight niggle. Mohsin had been with Mumbai earlier. They had picked him in the auction for IPL 2018 but hadn’t given him a game. Now he had an opportunity to make a mark on the biggest stage, against his previous team. And he did just that.
With his short run-up and high-arm action, he extracted extra bounce and hit the bat hard on impact. Bowling his quota of four overs for the first time in his IPL career, he took one wicket for 27 runs. Three wickets followed in the next game. Four in the game after. Suddenly, Mohsin became the talk of the town and there were whispers of fast-tracking him into the Indian side. Fate, however, had other ideas.
Soon after IPL 2022 ended, Mohsin started having discomfort in his bowling shoulder. He went through a period of rehab at the National Cricket Association (NCA), but it didn’t help. A consultation with a specialist surgeon ultimately revealed that he had a medical condition that had caused blockages in the artery on his left hand.
Speaking at the press conference after his match-winning act against Mumbai last night (May 16), Mohsin revealed that the condition was so serious that it might have required the doctors to amputate his left hand if the diagnosis came even a month late.
“The time before and after the surgery was a really tough time for me. I had to struggle a lot. After a point, I lost hope of playing cricket because I wasn’t able to lift or straighten my arm. I get scared at times thinking about it, but the doctors had even said that if I was a month late, they might have had to amputate my hand,” recalled Mohsin.
He underwent successful surgery in October last year and was on the road to recovery. However, by the time IPL 2023 started, Mohsin was nowhere near bowling-ready. In fact, he hadn’t bowled at all till then. Lucknow could have replaced him, but the stellar season that he had last year meant that they were ready to take the punt on his fitness, even if he was only going to be match-ready for the last third of the season.
After building up strength in his bowling shoulder through the first half of IPL 2023, Mohsin finally made it to the playing XI for Lucknow’s game against Chennai on May 3. The wait to see him bowl was not going to be over though as the match got washed out. And when he finally did get to bowl in the next game against Gujarat, it didn’t exactly go to plan. He looked short of rhythm and pace, understandably so, and got carted for 42 runs off his three overs, registering his most expensive figures in the IPL.
This makes his performance against Mumbai all the more remarkable. Coming back from a career-threatening injury, and then his worst-ever outing in the IPL, Mohsin showed what he was made of against Mumbai.
In the 17th over, he gave eight runs and picked the wicket of Nehal Wadhera. Tim David had brought the equation down to just eleven required off the last over. The odds were heavily stacked in favour of the batting side. Yet, Mohsin had clear plans and executed them with perfection, giving away just five runs and taking his team closer to a playoff spot.
Mohsin dedicated this performance to his father, who he revealed had been in the ICU for the last ten days due to a brain stroke. “I had told him ‘Get well soon. I will play for you’. He would have been happy if he watched this match,” said Mohsin.
Mohsin had given enough of a glimpse of his abilities as a fast bowler last year. And now he is showing his ability to take the worst that life has to offer, put it behind him, and come out on top.
Don’t be surprised if the whispers which started last season, are soon heard again, and don’t be surprised if they are louder this time around.
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