He made his debut with a certain Virat Kohli in 2011, but managed to play just five Tests for India after that. Abhinav Mukund, who was part of the Kohli led U-19 team that won the World Cup in 2008, finally managed another appearance, making it to the starting XI for the second Test at Bengaluru against Australia. Making way for him was the injured Murali Vijay, India’s regular opener who sustained a shoulder injury on the eve of the second Test, Mukund completed a comeback after six long years.
Here are the other Indians who missed out on most number of Tests before making a comeback:
#5 Arun Lal (40 Tests)
Hailing from a cricketing background and having scored heaps of runs in the domestic circuit, Lal was expected to have a bright future for the Indian team. His debut came a tad late, at 27, but had to wait for a period of four years before adding on to his then four match Test career.
He returned for the 1987 series against Pakistan, missing out on 40 Tests in between, an Indian record of missing out on most number of Test matches until then. Yet, he encountered a dip in form in 1988, resulting in his Test career being truncated to just 16 Tests and 13 ODIs.
#4 Parthiv Patel (43 Tests)
A stop-start international career has seen Parthiv Patel don the Indian colours after huge gaps in the middle, missing out numerous Tests but still managing to sneak into the playing XI.
With MS Dhoni in the mix, Parthiv Patel’s career failed to take off after an early start as a 17-year old in 2002. After getting a long run till 2004, Patel was discarded, but re-entered into the scene in 2008. It had taken him four years and 43 missed Tests to stage a comeback for India, but the pocket-sized keeper, who scored 13 runs in that match at Colombo, had to go back to domestic cricket till his next international assignment.
#3 Piyush Chawla (49 Tests)
Touted as the next big thing after snaring Sachin Tendulkar with a googly in a Challenger Trophy match in 2006, Piyush Chawla was fast-tracked into the Indian Test team to form an ideal replacement once Anil Kumble left the stage. However, the diminutive leg spinner, barring patches of good form, turned out to be a damp squib on the Indian colours.
He made his Test debut in 2006 against England, picking up the wicket of Andrew Flintoff, before he was dropped for a period of two years, not being able to force his way into the side with Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh already reprising the role of the two main spinners. Another opportunity fell in his lap in 2008, but two wickets is all he could manage.
He made yet another return in December 2012, with the selectors falling back on him for a leg-spinning option, but the now 28-year old, who managed to pick up four wickets, wasn’t selected again in the Test whites, although he made sporadic appearances in limited-overs, including being part of the 2011 World Cup winning squad.
#2 Abhinav Mukund (56 Tests)
A talented left-hander who went down the pecking order after making his Test debut in 2011, Mukund, who has been the ‘replacement-guy’ for years now, has been called in as cover whenever a regular opener is injured. He made his debut in the same Test as Virat Kohli, but suffered a completely contrasting journey, not managing a single appearance after five Test matches in 2011. A strong off side player with the ability to find gaps with ease, Mukund couldn’t make a recall after Shikhar Dhawan sealed the other opening spot after scoring a whirlwind 187 in 2013.
A strong domestic season earned him a recall to the Indian Test squad after a period of six years, after the selectors had tried everyone from Shikhar Dhawan to Gautam Gambhir. His comeback didn’t turn out to be as expected in the first innings, falling to a full toss from Mitchell Starc with just 11 runs without opening his account.
#1 Parthiv Patel
As if one big comeback was not long enough, Parthiv made another long awaited return in 2016, a solid eight years after the one-off Test against Sri Lanka at Colombo. Added in the side as a precaution for Wriddhiman Saha, who was carrying a niggle, Patel was included in the playing XI against England at Mohali, where he scored 42 and 67* to make a strong case for himself.
Yet, the comeback didn’t last long. With first choice Saha recovering quick enough, Patel’s joy was short-lived, and the Gujarat captain, who led his side to their first Ranji win, had to resort to playing domestic cricket again.