Help the aged

Eleven players who made ODI appearances after their 40th birthday

Martin Williamson and Andrew McGlashan

July 3, 2008

Text size: A | A

Sanath Jayasuriya recently hit a 55-ball century at the age of 39, but he doesn't come close to being the oldest player to appear in ODIs. Cricinfo looks at 11 players who have appeared in the limited-overs game beyond their 40th year.


John Traicos started with South Africa and ended with Zimbabwe over the course of a long career © Getty Images
Enlarge
 

Nolan Clarke, 47y 257d
Topping the list of the one-day oldies is a man who hails from Netherlands via Barbados. Nolan Clarke was born in West Indies and was good enough to take 158 off Mike Denness' touring England in 1973-74. But it wasn't for another 21 years that Clarke had a chance at international level, and it came in orange rather than maroon. He'd defied the advancing years to help Netherlands qualify for the World Cup in Asia with 121 in the ICC Trophy, but could only manage 50 runs in five innings at the top level. However, he did manage to sign off in his final match, against South Africa, with his top score of 32.

John Traicos, 45y 312d
An international career that spanned three decades and two countries means that Traicos is always the subject of quiz questions and various lists. He made his Test debut for South Africa, against Australia, in Durban during 1970, and played his final ODI in March 1993, for Zimbabwe against India in Pune. Just to add to the quirkiness, Traicos was born in Egypt before he played for South Africa, then switched to Zimbabwe when they were granted Test status in 1992. His final international appearance was an inglorious affair as India romped to an eight-wicket victory, but he did manage a wicket when he removed WV Raman as the last of his 19 ODI scalps.

Norman Gifford, 44y 361d
Gifford just managed an ODI career - two matches in 1985 - but it was still noteworthy as he captained in both games at the age of 44. He led a short tour to Sharjah, both outings against Australia and Pakistan ending in defeat, although the first against Australia was a nail-biter that went down to the final ball in a two-wicket defeat. It was a motley crew of an England team, including the likes of Martyn Moxon, Colin Wells and Pat Pocock alongside their senior captain. Although Gifford's second and final ODI was a 43-run loss to Pakistan, it was a good match for him personally. He claimed 4 for 23 with his teasing left-arm spin, including Saleem Malik and Imran Khan in successive balls. However, his batsmen couldn't knock off 176 and that was that for Gifford.

USA 2004
If ever there was a team worthy of the tag "Dad's Army". it was the USA side that took part in the 2004 Champions Trophy. Five of the squad were over 40, led by Donovan Blake at nearly 43, closely followed by former West Indies opener Clayton Lambert. The help-the-aged selection policy failed miserably as USA fell to crushing defeats against Australia and New Zealand, quickly becoming an embarrassment, especially in the field. They were thrashed by 210 runs at the hands of New Zealand, then were skittled for 65 in 24 overs by Australia. These old 'uns certainly weren't good 'uns.


Fred Titmus made his first-class debut in 1949, but was still around for a quick taste of the one-day game © Getty Images
Enlarge
 

Bob Taylor, 42y 223d
Taylor came from an era where it didn't matter now many runs the wicketkeeper scored, so long as he held all his catches. He also played at a time when ODIs were the exception rather than the norm, so he notched up just 27 appearances over an 11-year stop-start career. His final game came in a defeat against New Zealand at Auckland in 1984 at the age of 42, and the following month he played his final Test against Pakistan. But that wasn't quite the last of him as an international keeper: he famously came out of the hospitality tent at Lord's in 1986 to help England through an injury crisis.

Clive Rice, 42y 114d
In many ways, Rice's three ODI caps were honorary, given he'd missed out on a proper international career because of apartheid. He was handed the captaincy for the one-day matches on the groundbreaking tour of India in 1991-92, but age had caught up with the great allrounder who had lit up the domestic scenes in South Africa and England during isolation. He scored 14 runs in two innings and claimed two wickets, playing his third and final ODI in New Delhi, and just months later he was deemed too old to take South Africa to the 1992 World Cup.

Fred Titmus, 42y 105d
Titmus was a surprise inclusion for the MCC tour of Australia in 1974-75. He was 42 and his career had appeared to be over six years earlier when he lost four toes in an accident in the Caribbean. But he bounced back, and more than held his end up in a torrid series down under. He played his only two ODIs at the end of the New Zealand leg of the tour, a much more low-key part of the trip. This was in the early days of ODIs, where the matches were not taken entirely seriously, and the MCC rested their senior players for what turned out to be two rain-blighted games. Twenty-three years later another Middlesex spinner, Phil Tufnell, also finished his one-day career in New Zealand, with a Man-of-the-Match winning performance. While Titmus' age was against him playing again, Tufnell's fielding and general attitude were to be his downfall.

Bob Simpson, 42y 68d
Eight-and-a-half years after retiring, 41-year-old Bob Simpson answered his country's SOS, dusted off his kit and took over the captaincy of a side ravaged by defections to World Series Cricket. He was on a hiding to nothing, but he was not found wanting either with the bat or as a captain. His two ODI outings came at the end of a gruelling series in the Caribbean, and it was his legspin that turned the tide in the second game as West Indies collapsed from 69 for 1 to 139 all out and Australia sneaked home by two wickets. Simpson would have played more but for the Australian board. Though he led a weak side superbly in ten Tests, the ACB refused to guarantee him that he would still be captain when England visited later in the year, and he retired for a second and final time.


Graham Gooch said goodbye to ODIs with a victory against Australia in Melbourne © Getty Images
Enlarge
 

Graham Gooch, 41y 171d
The 1994-95 Ashes tour was one trip too far for Gooch as England paid the price for an elder-friendly selection policy. Gooch retired from international cricket following the final Test in Perth, and his last ODI had come a month earlier during the World Series. It was one of England's more embarrassing one-day efforts: they came fourth in a three-horse race, even finishing behind Australia A. However, those matches weren't full internationals, so Gooch was able to finish his ODI career with a victory over Australia in Melbourne. He played a limited role in the 37-run success, scoring just 2 before being removed by Glenn McGrath, but did bowl his ten overs after Darren Gough limped off with a stress fracture in his foot as he tried to deliver his first ball.

Basil D'Oliveira, 40y 329d
D'Oliveira's four ODI caps came at the dawn of the era one-day international cricket, and by the last of them, in 1972, he was almost 41. Age was always a worry for him. When he came to England in 1964 he had knocked three years off his birth date, reasoning that had he told the truth, county and country might have deemed him too old to take a risk on. He played in all three games against Australia at the end of the 1972 summer, even though he had by then been left out of that winter's touring party, but he did little of note. By his own admission, he acknowledged that his international career was at an end. "The time comes when you know your age is catching up on you," he admitted. "You can't keep going forever."

Anderson Cummins, 40y 319d
Like Lambert and Traicos from this line-up, Cummins started and ended his ODI career with different countries and the predictable diminishing returns. There was a 12-year gap between his final ODI for West Indies in 1995 and his surprise recall for Canada as they aimed to qualify for the 2007 World Cup. By that time he was approaching his 40th year, and his final appearance - against New Zealand in St Lucia - provided a wicketless return. It wasn't a great compliment to say he was one of Canada's better bowlers, and after the tournament he slipped quietly away. For the second time.

Martin Williamson is executive editor of Cricinfo and Andrew McGlashan is a staff writer

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

FeedbackTop
Email Feedback Print
Share
E-mail
Feedback
Print
ESPNcricinfo staffClose

    Dhoni wins the first round in the captaincy battle

Ian Chappell: Both Dhoni and Cook have made some inexplicable blunders, but India's captain pulls ahead slightly

    TV contracts dictate daytime scheduling of Caribbean matches

Tony Cozier: It's unlikely that fans in West Indies will ever get to enjoy five-day cricket in the evening

    Why isn't Ashwin playing?

Martin Crowe: It's hard to understand how India's best spinner is being left out in favour of bits-and-pieces players

    Gower savours life in the last chance saloon

Rewind: David Gower was on the verge of being dropped for good in 1990 when he made a charismatic century against India

The Vincent punishment

Paul Ford: What incentive do other players have of confessing their involvement in fixing if a lifetime ban is all that they can expect?

News | Features Last 7 days

India look for their Indian summer

Billboards are calling the series England's Indian Summer, but it is India who are looking for that period of warmth, redemption after the last whitewash, for they have seen how bleak the winter that can follow is

South Africa face the Kallis question

Accommodation for a great player like Jacques Kallis should be made with careful consideration and South Africa cannot get carried away with sentiment

India's bowling leader conundrum

The present Indian bowling line-up will tackle its first five-Test series without the proven guidance of Zaheer Khan, their bowling captain. India had unravelled without him in 2011. Will they do better this time around?

Five key head-to-heads

From two embattled captains to the challenge for India's openers against the new ball, ESPNcricinfo picks five contests that could determine the series

Packed tours, and Shiv's late stumping

Also, best post-war win/loss record, most runs in two calendar years, most ducks in a Test, and brothers with similar numbers

News | Features Last 7 days

    India look for their Indian summer (87)

    Billboards are calling the series England's Indian Summer, but it is India who are looking for that period of warmth, redemption after the last whitewash, for they have seen how bleak the winter that can follow is

    Why isn't Ashwin playing? (63)

    It's close to inexplicable how India's best spinner is being left out in favour of bits-and-pieces players

    South Africa face the Kallis question (56)

    Accommodation for a great player like Jacques Kallis should be made with careful consideration and South Africa cannot get carried away with sentiment

    India's bowling leader conundrum (44)

    The present Indian bowling line-up will tackle its first five-Test series without the proven guidance of Zaheer Khan, their bowling captain. India had unravelled without him in 2011. Will they do better this time around?

    Five key head-to-heads (33)

    From two embattled captains to the challenge for India's openers against the new ball, ESPNcricinfo picks five contests that could determine the series