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Youngest or oldest for longest in ODIs

Which players have been the youngest or oldest in their team for the most games? And how have they performed in them? We did Tests last week, so it's ODIs this time

Travis Basevi and George Binoy

October 6, 2010

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Sachin Tendulkar walks off
Sachin Tendulkar played 159 ODIs as the youngest player in the team, and now has 32 as the oldest © Mid Day
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In last week's List, we dug up players who were the youngest or oldest in their team for the most Tests. This week we've done the same for one-day internationals. While Sachin Tendulkar, who played 48 Tests as the baby of the team, also played the most ODIs as the youngest, it isn't Alec Stewart, with 85 Test caps as England's oldest, who holds pride of place in one-dayers. Sanath Jayasuriya does, and he could still add to his 208 matches as the oldest player in the Sri Lankan team.

Tendulkar's run in Tests as India's youngest cricketer continued until 1999, nearly 10 years after his debut. In ODIs, though, it ended in 1997, when he was 24. During that time Tendulkar played 159 one-dayers and scored 5540 runs at an average of 39.29, which is among the 10 best averages for a team's youngest player.

It's hard to predict who might play more than Tendulkar's 159 games, and perhaps no one will, given that India played an absurdly high number of ODIs in the 1990s. None of the players in the table below are their team's youngest anymore, and among the emerging crop, the closest to Tendulkar is Ravindra Jadeja, who has played a mere 32 games. He's not a permanent fixture in India's one-day team, though, but there's no one younger pushing for selection at the moment. Virat Kohli is older than Jadeja by 31 days. Tim Southee, 21, has been New Zealand's youngest player for 31 matches but he won't be for much longer with the emergence of 20-year-old Kane Williamson, who didn't play against Bangladesh on Tuesday but is certainly part of New Zealand's future plans. The likelier candidates are Wayne Parnell, if he can play another 148 ODIs before South Africa select someone younger, and 18-year-old Mohammad Amir, whose future is uncertain after 15 matches. George Dockrell, an 18-year-old left-arm spinner, has an outside chance if England decide they want a second Irishman in their set-up.

Most ODIs as the youngest player in the team (excluding multi-nation XIs)
Player Span Mat Runs HS Bat Av 100 Wkts BBI Bowl Av 5 Career %
SR Tendulkar (India) 1989-1997 159 5540 137 39.29 12 49 4/34 57.87 0 442 36.0
SR Waugh (Aus) 1986-1991 98 2037 83* 33.95 0 90 4/33 31.61 0 325 30.2
Aaqib Javed (Pak) 1988-1996 93 78 17 8.66 0 101 3/21 31.87 0 163 57.1
Shahid Afridi (Pak) 1996-2003 91 1898 109 22.06 2 70 5/40 41.55 1 296 30.7
BB McCullum (NZ) 2002-2007 88 1170 52* 21.66 0 0 - - 0 171 51.5
RT Ponting (Aus) 1995-2001 80 2719 145 37.24 4 1 1/41 62.00 0 350 22.9
Yuvraj Singh (India) 2000-2005 77 1494 98* 25.32 0 27 4/6 35.22 0 251 30.7
WJ Cronje (SA) 1992-1996 71 2063 112 36.83 2 43 5/32 37.41 1 188 37.8
DL Vettori (NZ) 1997-2002 63 304 25* 10.85 0 52 4/24 39.59 0 251 25.1
SP Fleming (NZ) 1994-1997 60 1712 106* 31.70 1 1 1/8 28.00 0 279 21.5
Tamim Iqbal (Ban) 2007-2009 58 1735 154 29.91 2 0 - - 0 85 68.2
BC Lara (WI) 1990-1994 58 2244 153 42.33 4 2 2/5 2.50 0 295 19.7
MJ Clarke (Aus) 2003-2008 57 1477 97 39.91 0 20 5/35 37.90 1 178 32.0
WPUJC Vaas (SL) 1994-1999 57 273 33 13.00 0 60 4/22 27.96 0 321 17.8
C Sharma (India) 1983-1989 55 411 101* 27.40 1 62 3/22 32.90 0 65 84.6
CK Kapugedera (SL) 2006-2009 55 995 95 22.11 0 2 1/24 96.00 0 82 67.1
WU Tharanga (SL) 2005-2007 49 1427 110 29.72 4 0 - - 0 105 46.7
MD Crowe (NZ) 1982-1988 48 1428 105* 34.00 1 20 2/9 29.90 0 143 33.6
B Lee (Aus) 2000-2003 48 198 51* 15.23 0 95 5/27 20.10 3 186 25.8
SCJ Broad (Eng) 2006-2009 47 295 45* 17.35 0 70 5/23 27.48 1 73 64.4

Ramnaresh Sarwan is the only one with an average of more than 50 while being the team's youngest player. He made his debut in 2000, at the age of 20, and was West Indies' youngest in 12 ODIs, scoring 362 runs at 51.71 and remaining unbeaten five times. Brian Lara had a high average as well in the 58 games in which he was the baby of the team, scoring 2244 runs at 42.33 between 1990 and 1994. He averaged only 34 in 61 games in which he was West Indies' oldest.

Three of the top four bowling averages for youngest players in a team belong to Australians; the other is Ian Bishop's 18.40 in 29 ODIs for West Indies between 1988 and 1991. Carl Rackemann was 23 when he made his debut, and in 11 matches as Australia's youngest player he took 25 wickets at 17.60 apiece. Since then, Brett Lee (2000-03) and Shaun Tait (2007) have also had sub-20 averages for matches in which they were the youngest in the XI.

Jayasuriya was only 29 when he played his first ODI as the oldest player in the Sri Lankan team in 1998. What a sprightly XI that must have been. Taking over from Arjuna Ranatunga and Aravinda de Silva, Jayasuriya played 207 more games as Sri Lanka's oldest over the next 11 years, scoring 6748 runs and taking 129 wickets. The only other presently active player in the table below is Paul Collingwood, who has been England's oldest for 72 out of his 189 matches.

Most ODIs as the oldest player in the team (excluding multi-nation XIs)
Player Span Mat Runs HS Bat Av 100 Wkts BBI Bowl Av 5 Career %
ST Jayasuriya (SL) 1998-2009 208 6748 189 34.42 16 129 5/17 38.16 2 440 47.3
A Ranatunga (SL) 1992-1999 162 4624 131* 37.59 4 20 2/21 50.20 0 269 60.2
M Azharuddin (India) 1993-2000 161 4784 153* 38.27 4 0 - - 0 334 48.2
AR Border (Aus) 1986-1994 153 3551 91* 29.84 0 53 3/20 25.54 0 273 56.0
A Flower (Zim) 1997-2003 129 4292 145 36.68 3 0 - - 0 213 60.6
Wasim Akram (Pak) 1995-2003 129 1603 79 20.29 0 180 5/28 24.38 1 356 36.2
Imran Khan (Pak) 1985-1992 118 2709 84* 33.44 0 128 6/14 27.94 1 175 67.4
AJ Stewart (Eng) 1994-2003 112 3239 116 32.71 3 0 - - 0 170 65.9
ME Waugh (Aus) 1997-2002 110 3961 173 40.41 8 14 2/38 59.28 0 244 45.1
SR Waugh (Aus) 1997-2002 105 2568 120* 35.17 2 23 4/40 38.43 0 325 32.3
Mohammad Rafique (Ban) 2001-2007 93 805 72 12.98 0 93 5/47 36.79 1 123 75.6
Inzamam-ul-Haq (Pak) 1999-2007 90 2950 123 44.02 2 0 - - 0 375 24.0
SM Gavaskar (India) 1981-1987 83 2525 103* 38.84 1 0 - - 0 108 76.9
PD Collingwood (Eng) 2006-2010 72 2058 105* 36.10 1 41 4/15 40.85 0 189 38.1
CZ Harris (NZ) 1998-2004 71 1142 63* 22.84 0 44 3/23 41.75 0 250 28.4
N Kapil Dev (India) 1989-1994 69 737 48* 17.13 0 69 4/31 29.39 0 225 30.7
SM Pollock (SA) 2003-2008 69 716 90 23.86 0 77 5/23 25.72 1 294 23.5
CG Greenidge (WI) 1984-1991 66 2452 133* 41.55 5 0 - - 0 128 51.6
SC Ganguly (India) 2002-2007 66 1885 98 30.90 0 15 3/41 55.06 0 308 21.4
Saleem Malik (Pak) 1993-1999 64 1490 93* 33.11 0 44 4/36 27.93 0 283 22.6

The three highest averages by the oldest player in a team belong to current batsmen. Shivnarine Chanderpaul has played 45 matches as West Indies' oldest batsman and averaged 63.23 in them. Virender Sehwag is India's oldest when Sachin Tendulkar does not play and he averages 55.50 in 15 such games. Tendulkar himself has been in sparkling form as India's oldest player. He took on that mantle after Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly stopped playing one-dayers, and he has scored 1466 runs in 32 innings at an average of 52.35.

Among bowlers who were the oldest players in their teams, only Bob Willis has an average of less than 20. He was England's oldest in 12 ODIs, in which he took 19 wickets at 19.47. Glenn McGrath is next best, with an average of 22.07 in 57 matches as Australia's eldest.

The table below contains players who've played the most matches as either their team's youngest or oldest player.

Most ODIs as the oldest or youngest player in the team (excluding multi-nation XIs)
Player Total Young Mat Runs Wkts Old Mat Runs Wkts
ST Jayasuriya (SL) 221 1989-1991 13 108 1 1998-2009 208 6748 129
SR Waugh (Aus) 203 1986-1991 98 2037 90 1997-2002 105 2568 23
SR Tendulkar (India) 191 1989-1997 159 5540 49 2005-2010 32 1466 0
A Ranatunga (SL) 168 1982-1984 6 84 2 1992-1999 162 4624 20
M Azharuddin (India) 162 1985-1985 1 47 0 1993-2000 161 4784 0
AR Border (Aus) 160 1979-1980 7 155 4 1986-1994 153 3551 53
Wasim Akram (Pak) 160 1984-1987 31 75 42 1995-2003 129 1603 180
A Flower (Zim) 133 1992-1992 4 147 0 1997-2003 129 4292 0
ME Waugh (Aus) 132 1988-1991 22 463 20 1997-2002 110 3961 14
RT Ponting (Aus) 132 1995-2001 80 2719 1 2008-2010 52 1993 0
Imran Khan (Pak) 121 1974-1975 3 9 4 1985-1992 118 2709 128
BC Lara (WI) 119 1990-1994 58 2244 2 2003-2007 61 1746 0
AJ Stewart (Eng) 112 - 0 0 0 1994-2003 112 3239 0
Mohammad Rafique (Ban) 93 - 0 0 0 2001-2007 93 805 93
Aaqib Javed (Pak) 93 1988-1996 93 78 101 - 0 0 0
S Chanderpaul (WI) 91 1994-1999 46 1244 9 2005-2010 45 1897 0
Shahid Afridi (Pak) 91 1996-2003 91 1898 70 - 0 0 0
Inzamam-ul-Haq (Pak) 90 - 0 0 0 1999-2007 90 2950 0
BB McCullum (NZ) 88 2002-2007 88 1170 0 - 0 0 0
N Kapil Dev (India) 87 1978-1981 18 279 20 1989-1994 69 737 69
CZ Harris (NZ) 87 1990-1993 16 167 17 1998-2004 71 1142 44

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

Travis Basevi is a cricket statistician and UK Senior Programmer for Cricinfo and other ESPN sports websites. George Binoy is an Assistant Editor at ESPNcricinfo

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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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