The game of Test cricket is one of the most important and oldest formats in the game of cricket, which still holds a place in our hearts. This is after all the oldest format of the game that goes on for 5 days and requires the players to be on the field for long hours. There is a very rich history to this format which back in the day was all about surviving more than scoring quick runs on the board and hitting big sixes. There are a lot of great Test players who we recognise as one of the best in the world. The likes of Sunil Gavaskar, Rahul Dravid and Alastair Cook are still considered one of the best players to grace the field and are remembered as legends.
Due to the gruelling hours spent in a Test match, it gets tougher and tougher for the players to have a long Test career in international cricket. Sachin Tendulkar is still the man who has played the most Test matches for any international cricketer and has featured in 200 games. No Test cricketer has breached that record yet and it looks unlikely that anyone will ever manage to do it. Jimmy Anderson has played the greatest number of Tests for any bowler having 184 games to his name as well. What is also important is that these players managed to get their recognition at an early age as well.
The age factor does play a role in the player's future in the game since it requires a lot of stamina as well. The oldest Test cricketer to ever represent India is Amir Elahi who was 39 years old and could only play 6 Tests for his country. However, some players have still managed to break the 40+ barrier in the history of the game and have still had memorable careers. These cricketers may not be remembered nowadays, but this time we are going right into the past to talk about these great veterans who never gave up on the sport even after reaching a point where most people would have already hung up their boots.
Let us take a look at 5 oldest cricketers who still represent their nation at really old age:
5. James Southerton ( 49 years and 139 days)
James Southerton is in the history books of being the oldest cricketer to make his debut in Test Cricket at the age of 49. Despite an incredible first-class record of over 1500 wickets from 286 matches, it took a long time for him to finally make his debut for the national side. He finally only played two Test matches for his team where he took 7 wickets in the two innings. He might have not had a long career in the game, but he has still shown the spirit and determination of a real sportsman on the field.
4. George Gunn ( 50 years and 303 days)
George Gunn made his Test debut at the age of 28 after a wonderful first-class career where he has scored over 35000 runs with an average of over 35 in his career. Even though there were not a lot of matches in those days happening during the early 1900s due to the World War also taking place in that period, Gunn still had a respectable record where he scored 1120 runs in his 15 matches at an average of 40.0. he went on still play the game even during the tough times and played his last Test match at the age of 50 years and 303 days being the first few cricketers of that era to play a Test match in his 50’s.
3. W.G. Grace ( 50 years and 320 days)
Before Gunn, it was W.G. Grace who managed to break records in the 19th century when he played his last game at the age of 50 years and 320 days. Grace is considered one of the first complete sportsmen in the game of cricket for England who started his career at the age of 32 in the year 1880. With over 54000 runs and 2500+ wickets in first-class cricket, he was already a legend in the making. He showed his class in his Test career as well where he scored 1098 runs from his 22 games and took 9 wickets as well. With this record, there is no doubt why the cricketing world holds him in high regard.
2. Bert Ironmonger( 50 years and 327 days)
The man to beat the record of Grace is an Aussie cricketer who just beat the great man in this record by just 7 days as he played his last Test match for Australia at 50 years and 327 days. He is one of those players who got his final break late in his career. After 96 first-class games and 464 wickets, the talented left-arm spinner finally made his test debut in his late 40’s. He still had an incredible career with 74 wickets in his 14 Test matches and managed to do that without a forefinger in his left hand. He is regarded as one of the best spinners for Australia in his time.
1. Wilfred Rhodes ( 52 years and 165 days)
Finally, the oldest cricketer to ever grace the field was one of the best all-rounders in England cricket, none other than Wilfred Rhodes. Out of all these cricketers, Wilfred started his career at the early age of 22 and had one of the best careers for any England cricketer of his time. He has also played the most first-class games as well where he has played over 1000 games where he has scored over 39000 runs and taken more than 4000 wickets in his career. His Test record was equally impressive, where in his 58 games he has scored over 2000 runs and taken over 100 wickets. He became the oldest player to play a Test match at the age of 52 years and 165 days and has a career spanning almost 30 years, making him one of the greatest cricketers in the 20th century who ever graced the field.