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George Binoy and Travis Basevi dig into our stats database

The oldest among the elders

The largest gaps between the earliest debutants in a team

Travis Basevi and George Binoy

May 13, 2009

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John Traicos dives to catch David Hookes, Australia v Zimbabwe, Trent Bridge, June 11, 1983
John Traicos made his Test debut 22 years before his first Zimbabwean team-mates did © Wisden Cricket Monthly
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Shivnarine Chanderpaul is the oldest among three 30-year-olds in the West Indies squad in England, and he made his debut in March 1994, six years before the next earliest debutants in the team: Chris Gayle and Ramnaresh Sarwan (March and May 2000). It's by no means the largest of gaps between earliest debutants in a team, so we decided to find out which is.

John Traicos made his Test debut for South Africa in February 1970, 22 years before playing his first match, at the age of 45, for Zimbabwe against India in October 1992, a game in which the rest of his team-mates were all debutants. Two of the them, Grant Flower and Alistair Campbell, hadn't even been born when Traicos played his first Test. Traicos, the 14th double international, broke the record for the longest interval between Test appearances for he had last played a match for South Africa more than 22 years ago.

New Zealand played their first Test in Christchurch in 1930 and their opponents, England, also had six debutants in their XI. Four out of the other five Englishmen were playing their second Test, having made their debuts after 1927. Frank Woolley, however, had been around since 1909 and, at the age 43, had made his debut at least 18 years earlier than all the other players in the match.

Largest gap between the earliest debuts in a team - Tests (qualification: only first occurance for each player/gap listed)
Player Debut Next Player Diff Opposition Ground Date Scorecard
AJ Traicos (SA/Zim) 5 Feb 1970 18 Oct 1992 22y 256d v India Harare 18 Oct 1992 Test 1197
FE Woolley (Eng) 9 Aug 1909 24 Dec 1927 18y 137d v New Zealand Christchurch 10 Jan 1930 Test 186
SE Gregory (Aus) 21 Jul 1890 13 Dec 1907 17y 145d v South Africa Manchester 27 May 1912 Test 121
JB Hobbs (Eng) 1 Jan 1908 14 Jun 1924 16y 165d v Australia Leeds 11 Jul 1930 Test 196
GOB Allen (Eng) 27 Jun 1930 22 Jun 1946 15y 360d v West Indies Port of Spain 11 Feb 1948 Test 296
DB Close (Eng) 23 Jul 1949 17 Jun 1965 15y 329d v West Indies Lord's 17 Jun 1976 Test 778
HW Taylor (SA) 27 May 1912 24 Dec 1927 15y 211d v England Durban 21 Feb 1931 Test 207
RB Simpson (Aus) 23 Dec 1957 29 Dec 1972 15y 6d v India Brisbane 2 Dec 1977 Test 809
FE Woolley (Eng) 9 Aug 1909 14 Jun 1924 14y 310d v Australia The Oval 18 Aug 1934 Test 237
DB Close (Eng) 23 Jul 1949 6 Jun 1963 13y 318d v West Indies Nottingham 3 Jun 1976 Test 777
JB Hobbs (Eng) 1 Jan 1908 28 May 1921 13y 147d v West Indies Manchester 21 Jul 1928 Test 174
GA Gooch (Eng) 10 Jul 1975 4 Aug 1988 13y 25d v Australia The Oval 19 Aug 1993 Test 1231
GA Gooch (Eng) 10 Jul 1975 21 Jul 1988 13y 11d v Australia Nottingham 1 Jul 1993 Test 1225
JB Hobbs (Eng) 1 Jan 1908 17 Dec 1920 12y 351d v West Indies The Oval 11 Aug 1928 Test 175
L Amarnath (India) 15 Dec 1933 22 Jun 1946 12y 189d v Australia Adelaide 23 Jan 1948 Test 294

There hasn't been more than a 10-year gap between earliest debutants in a team in Tests since 2000. The longest is eight years and 279 days between Arjuna Ranatunga, who made his debut in February 1982, and Marvan Atapattu, who played his maiden Test in 1990, in the first Test against South Africa in Galle in 2000. It was the first Test of Ranatunga's last series and it appears in the table because Aravinda de Silva, who made his debut in 1984, did not play.

Largest gap between the earliest debuts in a team - Tests (qualification: matches since 2000)
Player Debut Next Player Diff Opposition Ground Date Scorecard
A Ranatunga (SL) 17 Feb 1982 23 Nov 1990 8y 279d v South Africa Galle 20 Jul 2000 Test 1504
S Chanderpaul (WI) 17 Mar 1994 21 Jun 2002 8y 96d v Sri Lanka Colombo (SSC) 13 Jul 2005 Test 1755
BC Lara (WI) 6 Dec 1990 26 Nov 1998 7y 355d v Sri Lanka Kingston 27 Jun 2003 Test 1649
HH Streak (Zim) 1 Dec 1993 19 Apr 2001 7y 139d v South Africa Cape Town 4 Mar 2005 Test 1737
DL Vettori (ICC/NZ) 6 Feb 1997 10 Mar 2004 7y 33d v Bangladesh Dhaka (SBNS) 25 Oct 2008 Test 1890
SR Waugh (Aus) 26 Dec 1985 23 Jan 1993 7y 28d v West Indies Georgetown 10 Apr 2003 Test 1638
SR Waugh (Aus) 26 Dec 1985 27 Nov 1992 6y 337d v England Melbourne 26 Dec 2002 Test 1634
SR Tendulkar (India) 15 Nov 1989 20 Jun 1996 6y 218d v Australia Chennai 18 Mar 2001 Test 1539
Inzamam-ul-Haq (Pak) 4 Jun 1992 22 Oct 1998 6y 140d v West Indies Kingston 3 Jun 2005 Test 1754
BC Lara (WI) 6 Dec 1990 14 Mar 1997 6y 98d v Australia Port of Spain 19 Apr 2003 Test 1639
CL Hooper (WI) 11 Dec 1987 17 Mar 1994 6y 96d v Zimbabwe Bulawayo 19 Jul 2001 Test 1551
PA de Silva (SL) 23 Aug 1984 23 Nov 1990 6y 92d v Pakistan Peshawar 5 Mar 2000 Test 1487
S Chanderpaul (WI) 17 Mar 1994 18 May 2000 6y 62d v Australia Kingston 22 May 2008 Test 1875
SR Waugh (Aus) 26 Dec 1985 2 Jan 1992 6y 7d v England Brisbane 7 Nov 2002 Test 1623
S Chanderpaul (WI) 17 Mar 1994 16 Mar 2000 5y 365d v Sri Lanka Providence 22 Mar 2008 Test 1869

The largest gap between two most recent debutants in a Test XI is the four-year and 336-day gap between Michael Clarke, who debuted in 2004, and Adam Gilchrist, who burst on to the international circuit in 1999. Due to Simon Katich (debut in 2001) playing in all of the series against India in 2004, it wasn't until Clarke's fifth Test that this large span appeared. The gap between the debutant immediately before Clarke, Andrew Symonds, and Gilchrist is third in the table below, illustrating just how stable the Australian team was in the early part of this decade.

Largest gap between the most recent debuts in a team - Tests (qualification: only first occurance for each player/gap listed)
Player Debut Next Player Diff Opposition Ground Date Scorecard
MJ Clarke (Aus) 6 Oct 2004 5 Nov 1999 4y 336d v New Zealand Brisbane 18 Nov 2004 Test 1721
CH Lloyd (WI) 13 Dec 1966 16 Feb 1962 4y 300d v India Kolkata 31 Dec 1966 Test 612
A Symonds (Aus) 8 Mar 2004 5 Nov 1999 4y 124d v Sri Lanka Galle 8 Mar 2004 Test 1685
DAJ Holford (WI) 2 Jun 1966 16 Feb 1962 4y 106d v England Nottingham 30 Jun 1966 Test 607
Yasir Arafat (Pak) 8 Dec 2007 3 Sep 2003 4y 96d v India Bangalore 8 Dec 2007 Test 1852
Sohail Tanvir (Pak) 22 Nov 2007 3 Sep 2003 4y 80d v India Delhi 22 Nov 2007 Test 1849
DAJ Holford (WI) 2 Jun 1966 23 Mar 1962 4y 71d v England Manchester 2 Jun 1966 Test 605
Shadab Kabir (Pak) 25 Jul 1996 4 Jun 1992 4y 51d v England Leeds 8 Aug 1996 Test 1331
Saleem Malik (Pak) 5 Mar 1982 18 Jan 1978 4y 46d v India Hyderabad (Sind) 14 Jan 1983 Test 946
Ijaz Faqih (Pak) 22 Dec 1980 24 Dec 1976 3y 364d v West Indies Karachi 22 Dec 1980 Test 890
BSM Warnapura (SL) 25 Jun 2007 27 Jun 2003 3y 363d v West Indies Providence 22 Mar 2008 Test 1869
Shadab Kabir (Pak) 25 Jul 1996 6 Aug 1992 3y 354d v England Lord's 25 Jul 1996 Test 1330
Haroon Rasheed (Pak) 14 Jan 1977 2 Feb 1973 3y 347d v West Indies Georgetown 18 Mar 1977 Test 801
PJL Dujon (WI) 26 Dec 1981 31 Mar 1978 3y 270d v Australia Sydney 2 Jan 1982 Test 917
PJL Dujon (WI) 26 Dec 1981 15 Apr 1978 3y 255d v Australia Melbourne 26 Dec 1981 Test 915

The largest difference in years of debut between players in an ODI team is 14 years and 179 days between Clayton Lambert and the rest of his USA team-mates when they took on New Zealand in the Champions Trophy in September 2004. Lambert, who was from Guyana, made his ODI debut in 1990 for West Indies against England but played only 11 games for them over nine years. He played his first and only ODI for the USA at the age of 42 and, incidentally, Lambert had made his ODI debut before all of his opponents as well.

Former Australian left-arm spinner, Ray Bright, made his ODI debut the earliest (March 1974) among those players who took part in the match against Pakistan in Sharjah in 1986. Apart from Bright, the only other 1970s debutants in the match were Pakistan's Mohsin Khan, Javed Miandad and Mudassar Nazar. However despite playing ODIs eight and a half years before his team-mates, Bright had the second least experience in the team. The match was his 11th and only Tim Zoehrer had played fewer (it was his third). The game was also the only time Bright captained Australia.

Largest gap between the earliest debuts in a team - ODIs (qualification: only first occurance for each player/gap listed)
Player Debut Next Player Diff Opposition Ground Date Scorecard
CB Lambert (USA/WI) 15 Mar 1990 10 Sep 2004 14y 179d v New Zealand The Oval 10 Sep 2004 ODI 2169
GA Gooch (Eng) 26 Aug 1976 4 Sep 1988 12y 9d v New Zealand Birmingham 19 May 1994 ODI 913
AC Cummins (Can/WI) 20 Nov 1991 11 Feb 2003 11y 83d v Scotland Mombasa 18 Jan 2007 ODI 2477
SR Tendulkar (India) 18 Dec 1989 3 Oct 2000 10y 290d v Sri Lanka Dambulla 28 Jan 2009 ODI 2806
GA Gooch (Eng) 26 Aug 1976 2 Apr 1987 10y 219d v Australia Lord's 23 May 1993 ODI 832
GA Gooch (Eng) 26 Aug 1976 1 Jan 1987 10y 128d v India Gwalior 4 Mar 1993 ODI 813
Javed Miandad (Pak) 11 Jun 1975 23 Nov 1984 9y 165d v Australia Adelaide 13 Dec 1992 ODI 777
SR Tendulkar (India) 18 Dec 1989 1 Apr 1999 9y 104d v Pakistan Jaipur 18 Nov 2007 ODI 2647
CL Cairns (NZ) 13 Feb 1991 26 Feb 2000 9y 13d v Pakistan Rawalpindi 7 Dec 2003 ODI 2074
CL Hooper (WI) 18 Mar 1987 26 Mar 1996 9y 8d v Zimbabwe Kandy 16 Dec 2001 ODI 1781
BC Lara (ICC/WI) 9 Nov 1990 11 Sep 1999 8y 306d v Zimbabwe Gros Islet 10 May 2006 ODI 2371
KC Wessels (Aus/SA) 9 Jan 1983 10 Nov 1991 8y 305d v India Kolkata 10 Nov 1991 ODI 686
BC Lara (ICC/WI) 9 Nov 1990 5 Sep 1999 8y 300d v India Port of Spain 26 May 2006 ODI 2381
DL Houghton (Zim) 9 Jun 1983 23 Feb 1992 8y 259d v Sri Lanka Harare 6 Nov 1994 ODI 948
IP Butchart (Zim) 9 Jun 1983 23 Feb 1992 8y 259d v England Brisbane 7 Jan 1995 ODI 968
AH Omarshah (Zim) 9 Jun 1983 23 Feb 1992 8y 259d v India Colombo (SSC) 1 Sep 1996 ODI 1110
RJ Bright (Aus) 30 Mar 1974 8 Oct 1982 8y 192d v Pakistan Sharjah 11 Apr 1986 ODI 382

It usually takes a player a while to be considered good enough to be included in a World XI but Kevin Pietersen's career was only 10 months old when he was selected to play the Super Series against Australia in 2005. The rest of his team-mates had been around for at least five years and the gap between Pietersen, who debuted in November 2004, and the next most recent debutant in the team, Kumar Sangakkara (July 2000), is the third largest in ODIs.

Largest gap between the most recent debuts in a team - ODIs (qualification: only first occurance for each player/gap listed)
Player Debut Next Player Diff Opposition Ground Date Scorecard
SR Watson (Aus) 24 Mar 2002 5 Jan 1997 5y 78d v Pakistan Melbourne (Dock) 12 Jun 2002 ODI 1842
MJ Clarke (Aus) 19 Jan 2003 4 Dec 1997 5y 46d v Zimbabwe Harare 27 May 2004 ODI 2132
KP Pietersen (Eng/ICC) 28 Nov 2004 5 Jul 2000 4y 146d v Australia Melbourne (Dock) 5 Oct 2005 ODI 2282
SR Watson (Aus) 24 Mar 2002 4 Dec 1997 4y 110d v South Africa Port Elizabeth 6 Apr 2002 ODI 1824
NM Hauritz (Aus) 22 Mar 2002 4 Dec 1997 4y 108d v South Africa Johannesburg 22 Mar 2002 ODI 1819
NW Bracken (Aus) 11 Jan 2001 25 Oct 1996 4y 78d v India Visakhapatnam 3 Apr 2001 ODI 1700
TT Samaraweera (SL) 6 Nov 1998 24 Aug 1994 4y 74d v Zimbabwe Sharjah 10 Nov 1998 ODI 1372
MJ Clarke (Aus) 19 Jan 2003 10 Nov 1998 4y 70d v Sri Lanka Colombo (RPS) 25 Feb 2004 ODI 2105
SR Watson (Aus) 24 Mar 2002 14 Jan 1998 4y 69d v Pakistan Nairobi (Gym) 30 Aug 2002 ODI 1868
MN Waller (Zim) 19 Jan 2009 25 Feb 2005 3y 329d v Bangladesh Dhaka (SBNS) 21 Jan 2009 ODI 2799
ME Trescothick (Eng) 8 Jul 2000 29 Aug 1996 3y 314d v West Indies Lord's 9 Jul 2000 ODI 1609
MRCN Bandaratilleke (SL) 21 Jun 1998 24 Aug 1994 3y 301d v New Zealand Colombo (RPS) 21 Jun 1998 ODI 1339
ASA Perera (SL) 19 Jun 1998 24 Aug 1994 3y 299d v England Lord's 20 Aug 1998 ODI 1348
MF Maharoof (SL) 25 Apr 2004 5 Jul 2000 3y 295d v Pakistan Colombo (RPS) 21 Jul 2004 ODI 2150
DPMD Jayawardene (SL) 24 Jan 1998 14 Apr 1994 3y 285d v Australia Sydney 13 Jan 1999 ODI 1382

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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