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When being too old, or young, didn't matter - Part 2

The oldest, and youngest, players top-scoring or taking most wickets in an ODI series

Travis Basevi and George Binoy

July 1, 2009

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Shivnarine Chanderpaul plays a sweep during his unbeaten 116, England v West Indies, 2nd ODI, Edgbaston, July 4, 2007
Shivnarine Chanderpaul is the only batsman to score the most runs in a series while being the youngest, and the oldest, player involved © Getty Images
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Have you ever felt too old on a cricket field especially when your team-mates and opponents are younger and sprightlier than you are? Or have you felt out of your depth because everyone else was older, bigger and stronger? In this week's column, though, we've looked at players for whom age didn't matter for they topped the runs and wickets lists in ODI series and tournaments despite being either the oldest or youngest player involved. We did the Test version a few weeks ago.

Geoff Boycott is the oldest player to score the most runs in a series. He was a few weeks away from his 40th birthday when he made 99 and 78 in two ODIs against Australia in August 1980. His aggregate of 177 was the best in the series, ahead of Kim Hughes who scored 171. Boycott carried his good form into the Centenary Test at Lord's later that month and scored 190 runs, though this time he was beaten by Hughes, who made 201 in the match.

The only other 39-year old to top-score in an ODI series is Sanath Jayasuriya, who hammered 378 runs with an average of 75.60 and strike-rate of 126 during the 2008 Asia Cup in Pakistan. He had just turned 39 at the time. Jayasuriya celebrated his 40th birthday yesterday and now has the opportunity to become the only 40-year old to top-score in a series.

Herschelle Gibbs is the most recent player to have the highest series aggregate despite being the oldest. He made 253 runs - seven more than AB de Villiers in second place - at an average of 50.60 in five innings against Australia in April this year.

Oldest player in an ODI series or tournament scoring the most runs
Player Mat Inns Runs HS Ave 100 50 Age Series Season
JH Edrich (Eng) 2 2 109 90 54.50 0 1 37y 25d v India 1974
G Boycott (Eng) 2 2 177 99 88.50 0 2 39y 306d v Australia 1980
Zaheer Abbas (Pak) 4 4 346 118 86.50 3 0 35y 181d v India 1982/83
Zaheer Abbas (Pak) 4 4 153 73 38.25 0 1 37y 136d v New Zealand 1984/85
IVA Richards (WI) 5 5 260 80* 86.66 0 3 33y 274d v Pakistan 1985/86
SM Gavaskar (India) 3 3 163 92 54.33 0 2 36y 282d Austral-Asia Cup 1985/86
SM Gavaskar (India) 5 5 202 70* 50.50 0 2 37y 191d v Sri Lanka 1986/87
M Amarnath (India) 5 5 262 100* 65.50 1 2 37y 123d v West Indies 1987/88
DL Haynes (WI) 4 4 268 115 67.00 1 2 38y 18d v England 1993/94
Saleem Malik (Pak) 5 4 223 93* 111.50 0 3 31y 130d v Sri Lanka 1994
GA Hick (Eng) 3 3 180 87* 90.00 0 2 33y 273d v Zimbabwe 1999/00
AJ Stewart (Eng) 7 7 408 101 81.59 2 2 37y 105d NatWest Series 2000
SR Waugh (Aus) 3 3 161 114* 80.50 1 0 35y 79d v South Africa 2000
ME Waugh (Aus) 9 7 542 173 108.40 3 2 35y 252d Carlton Series 2000/01
ST Jayasuriya (SL) 1 1 46 46* - 0 0 34y 141d v England 2003/04
Inzamam-ul-Haq (Pak) 5 5 340 123 68.00 2 0 34y 21d v India 2003/04
NJ Astle (NZ) 5 5 295 118* 73.75 1 2 34y 170d v West Indies 2005/06
Inzamam-ul-Haq (Pak) 2 2 119 79 59.50 0 1 36y 47d v India 2005/06
S Chanderpaul (WI) 3 3 202 116* 202.00 1 1 32y 325d v England 2007
ST Jayasuriya (SL) 5 5 378 130 75.59 2 1 39y 6d Asia Cup 2008
HH Gibbs (SA) 5 5 253 110 50.60 1 1 35y 53d v Australia 2008/09

It hasn't been as easy for the youngest player to be the series' highest-scorer because only three batsmen have done it, out of which two were contemporaries for New Zealand. Martin Crowe's effort, though, was in a one-off contest and not in a series. He was 20 years old and had scored only 10 runs in three ODIs before top-scoring with 66 against Australia in a bushfire appeal match in Sydney in March 1983.

A few years later, Ken Rutherford, also 20 but a few days younger than Crowe was in 1983, top-scored against Australia during a four-ODI series in New Zealand. It was only his second series and Rutherford made 178 with two half-centuries while Bruce Edgar, almost nine years his senior, was in second place.

Shivnarine Chanderpaul is the only player to have top-scored while being the oldest and the youngest player in the series. He was only 22 when he made 209 - no one else came close to 200 - in four innings against India in March 1997. Chanderpaul was 10 years older, and the only remaining West Indian player from the squad that travelled to India, when he made 202 in three innings in England in May 2007. Once again no one else made more than 200.

Youngest player in an ODI series or tournament scoring the most runs
Player Mat Inns Runs HS Ave 100 50 Age Series Season
MD Crowe (NZ) 1 1 66 66 66.00 0 1 20y 176d v Australia 1982/83
KR Rutherford (NZ) 4 4 178 79 44.50 0 2 20y 144d v Australia 1985/86
S Chanderpaul (WI) 4 4 209 109* 69.66 1 1 22y 253d v India 1996/97

Not content with merely scoring the most runs while being the oldest, Jayasuriya took his opportunities to top the wickets list too. It probably helped that Muttiah Muralitharan and Chaminda Vaas didn't play the home series against Bangladesh in 2007, but Jayasuriya, a shade over 38 at the time, still beat the likes of Lasith Malinga and Dilhara Fernando to finish first with nine wickets in three matches at 7.55 apiece.

Oldest player in an ODI series or tournament taking the most wickets
Player Mat Balls Runs Wkts BBI Ave 5 Age Series Season
Intikhab Alam (Pak) 1 56 36 2 2/36 18.00 0 34y 293d v New Zealand 1976/77
JE Emburey (Eng) 1 60 53 2 2/53 26.50 0 35y 168d v Australia 1987/88
JE Emburey (Eng) 3 198 139 6 3/31 23.16 0 36y 282d v Australia 1989
Imran Khan (Pak) 3 54 28 5 3/18 5.59 0 37y 27d v India 1989/90
N Kapil Dev (India) 3 158 96 9 4/31 10.66 0 31y 363d Asia Cup 1990/91
Wasim Akram (Pak) 4 192 116 6 4/22 19.33 0 36y 181d v Zimbabwe 2002/03
J Srinath (India) 7 398 201 18 4/23 11.16 0 33y 136d v New Zealand 2002/03
D Gough (Eng) 3 162 120 7 4/50 17.14 0 33y 353d v India 2004
D Gough (Eng) 3 141 92 7 4/34 13.14 0 34y 78d v Zimbabwe 2004/05
Mohammad Rafique (Ban) 4 240 166 10 5/47 16.60 1 35y 201d v Kenya 2005/06
PJC Hoffmann (Scot) 1 60 22 3 3/22 7.33 0 36y 164d v Pakistan 2006
GD McGrath (Aus) 7 408 305 13 3/24 23.46 0 37y 2d Commonwealth Bank Series 2006/07
ST Jayasuriya (SL) 3 107 68 9 4/14 7.55 0 38y 25d v Bangladesh 2007
S Dhaniram (Can) 3 168 86 8 5/32 10.75 1 39y 258d v Bermuda 2008

Unlike instances of the youngest batsmen top-scoring in a series, which are rare, there have been plenty of series in which the youngest bowler finished on top of the wickets list. In fact there have been three such instances in the last year. Stuart Broad tied with Daniel Vettori with eight wickets during England's five-ODI series in New Zealand in 2007-08. Tim Southee, 19 at the time, returned the favour when New Zealand toured England in the summer of 2008, taking 13 wickets in five matches at 18.23 each.

The most recent bowler to take the most wickets despite being the youngest player is Keiron Pollard. He took nine wickets at 17.66 apiece - James Anderson also took nine but at 21.11 - in five matches when England toured West Indies earlier this year.

Youngest player in an ODI series or tournament taking the most wickets
Player Mat Balls Runs Wkts BBI Ave 5 Age Series Season
Javed Miandad (Pak) 1 48 31 2 2/31 15.50 0 19y 126d v New Zealand 1976/77
Sikander Bakht (Pak) 2 132 109 4 3/56 27.25 0 20y 272d v England 1978
GF Lawson (Aus) 3 186 127 5 3/42 25.39 0 23y 179d v England 1981
CJ McDermott (Aus) 3 192 153 7 3/46 21.85 0 20y 46d v England 1985
C Sharma (India) 3 116 110 5 3/50 22.00 0 19y 234d v Sri Lanka 1985
PAJ DeFreitas (Eng) 10 557 292 17 4/35 17.17 0 20y 333d World Series Cup 1986/87
ND Hirwani (India) 3 180 129 10 4/43 12.90 0 19y 159d Sharjah Cup 1987/88
CC Lewis (Eng) 2 132 105 4 3/54 26.25 0 22y 98d v New Zealand 1990
DG Cork (Eng) 2 132 95 4 3/49 23.75 0 23y 18d v South Africa 1994
DG Cork (Eng) 3 186 131 6 3/27 21.83 0 23y 290d v West Indies 1995
HH Streak (Zim) 1 53 32 5 5/32 6.40 1 22y 336d v India 1996/97
DS Mohanty (India) 2 114 89 6 3/31 14.83 0 21y 155d v Sri Lanka 1997/98
AB Agarkar (India) 5 249 232 10 4/46 23.19 0 20y 118d Pepsi Triangular Series 1997/98
DL Vettori (NZ) 5 216 170 6 2/37 28.33 0 20y 282d v India 1999/00
DL Vettori (NZ) 5 288 165 9 4/24 18.33 0 20y 340d v West Indies 1999/00
PP Chawla (India) 1 60 29 3 3/29 9.66 0 18y 181d v Ireland 2007
VD Philander (SA) 1 35 12 4 4/12 3.00 0 22y 0d v Ireland 2007
PP Chawla (India) 1 60 42 2 2/42 21.00 0 18y 235d v Scotland 2007
SCJ Broad (Eng) 5 228 206 8 3/26 25.75 0 21y 230d v New Zealand 2007/08
TG Southee (NZ) 5 264 237 13 4/38 18.23 0 19y 187d v England 2008
KA Pollard (WI) 5 182 159 9 2/16 17.66 0 21y 312d v England 2008/09

If there's a particular List that you would like to see, email us with your comments and suggestions.

George Binoy is a senior sub-editor at Cricinfo

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George Binoy Assistant Editor After a major in Economics and nine months in a financial research firm, George realised that equity, capital and the like were not for him. He decided that he wanted to be one of those lucky few who did what they love at work. Alas, his prodigious talent was never spotted and he had to reconcile himself to the fact that he would never earn his money playing cricket for his country, state or even district. He jumped at the opportunity to work for ESPNcricinfo and is now confident of mastering the art of office cricket
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