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George Binoy and Travis Basevi dig into our stats database

Rahul's recall, and other elderly comebacks

The longest gaps between Tests and ODIs for players on the wrong side of 35

Travis Basevi and George Binoy

August 10, 2011

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Rahul Dravid steers behind point, India v Pakistan, Champions Trophy, Group A, Centurion, September 26, 2009
Rahul Dravid's previous ODI appearance was in September 2009 © Getty Images

If Rahul Dravid is selected for the first one-day international against England on September 3, he will be the second-oldest Indian - after Mohinder Amarnath - to play an ODI. That he be given an opportunity to add to his 339 matches and 10,765 runs after nearly two years out of the ODI team was a surprise, to him and to most other people. In this week's column we've dug up lists of players on the wrong side of 35 who made comebacks after long absences from their teams.

Amarnath, like Dravid, had also spent nearly two years out of the Indian ODI side and missed a World Cup at home. He was 35 when he played Australia at the MCG in February 1986, in the second of the best-of-three World Series Cup finals. During Australia's seven-wicket victory, Amarnath became the first batsman to be given out handled ball in an ODI. He was a regular in the Test side after that but his next one-dayer was in December 1987, against West Indies in Guwahati, when he was 37. He continued playing one-day cricket until he was 39.

The longest gap between ODIs for a player over 35 belongs to Clayton Lambert, the former West Indies batsman. He was 28 when he made his debut in 1990, but played only five matches before he was dropped in October 1991. He made a comeback in 1998, and played six games, the last of which was the Wills International Cup final against South Africa in Dhaka. Lambert was nearly 37 at the time. He never played for West Indies again but almost six years later, when he was 42, he represented USA in the 2004 ICC Champions Trophy. He scored 39 off 84 balls in a 210-run defeat against New Zealand and that was the end of his international career.

Longest gap between ODIs when aged 35 and over
Player Mat End Age Scorecard Next Age Scorecard Diff
CB Lambert (WI) 11 1 Nov 1998 36y 264d ODI 1364 10 Sep 2004 42y 213d ODI 2169 5y 314d
AJ Traicos (Zim) 12 30 Oct 1987 40y 166d ODI 471 23 Feb 1992 44y 282d ODI 716 4y 116d
AJ Traicos (Zim) 6 20 Jun 1983 36y 34d ODI 220 10 Oct 1987 40y 146d ODI 454 4y 112d
B Wood (Eng) 11 26 May 1978 35y 151d ODI 51 2 Jun 1982 39y 158d ODI 152 4y 7d
AY Karim (Kenya) 30 30 May 1999 35y 166d ODI 1469 12 Feb 2003 39y 59d ODI 1947 3y 258d
JE Emburey (Eng) 58 29 May 1989 36y 282d ODI 568 18 Jan 1993 40y 151d ODI 794 3y 234d
TBM de Leede (Neth) 13 3 Mar 2003 35y 37d ODI 1978 4 Jul 2006 38y 160d ODI 2390 3y 123d
DR Chumney (Can) 5 27 Feb 2003 35y 50d ODI 1971 16 May 2006 38y 128d ODI 2374 3y 78d
Abdul Qadir (Pak) 102 13 Nov 1990 35y 59d ODI 641 1 Nov 1993 38y 47d ODI 842 2y 353d
MP Jarvis (Zim) 10 18 Mar 1992 36y 103d ODI 748 22 Feb 1995 39y 78d ODI 980 2y 341d
DS de Silva (SL) 5 18 Jun 1979 37y 7d ODI 68 13 Feb 1982 39y 247d ODI 145 2y 240d
RW Taylor (Eng) 16 23 Jun 1979 37y 341d ODI 74 27 Jan 1982 40y 194d ODI 143 2y 218d
R Illingworth (Eng) 1 5 Jan 1971 38y 211d ODI 1 18 Jul 1973 41y 40d ODI 6 2y 194d
BE Congdon (NZ) 9 22 Feb 1976 38y 11d ODI 36 15 Jul 1978 40y 154d ODI 52 2y 143d
Javed Miandad (Pak) 228 27 Dec 1993 36y 198d ODI 869 24 Feb 1996 38y 257d ODI 1059 2y 59d
JM Davison (Can) 25 22 Mar 2007 36y 317d ODI 2548 6 Apr 2009 38y 332d ODI 2836 2y 15d

The longest gap between Tests for a player over 35 belongs to England's Teddy Wynyard, whose three matches were spread over nearly 10 years. Wynyard made his debut against Australia at The Oval in 1896, when he was 35. His next Test was in Johannesburg in 1906, when he was almost 45. He played only one more match on that tour of South Africa, which was his last appearance for England. He toured South Africa with the MCC once again, in 1909, but didn't play a Test.

England's Wilfred Rhodes owns a record that will never be broken. He's the oldest cricketer to have played a Test: he was 52 years old when he played West Indies at Sabina Park in 1930. Rhodes' 58-Test career spanned 31 years and there were three large gaps between matches after he turned 35. He had played 47 Tests by the age of 36 when World War One interrupted his career in 1914. And when Test cricket resumed in 1920, Rhodes played the first match, against Australia at the SCG, at the age of 43. There was another long gap - five years and 76 days - between Rhodes' 53rd and 54th Tests, in 1921 and 1926, following which, after another gap of three years, Rhodes, now almost 50, was recalled to tour the Caribbean in 1930. It was his final series for England.

Longest gap between Tests when aged 35 and over
Player Mat End Age Scorecard Next Age Scorecard Diff
EG Wynyard (Eng) 1 12 Aug 1896 35y 133d Test 52 2 Jan 1906 44y 276d Test 88 9y 143d
DB Close (Eng) 19 28 Aug 1967 36y 185d Test 623 3 Jun 1976 45y 100d Test 777 8y 280d
AW Nourse (SA) 32 3 Mar 1914 35y 37d Test 134 5 Nov 1921 42y 284d Test 145 7y 247d
WR Hammond (Eng) 77 22 Aug 1939 36y 64d Test 274 22 Jun 1946 43y 3d Test 276 6y 304d
FJ Titmus (Eng) 49 14 Feb 1968 35y 82d Test 629 13 Dec 1974 42y 19d Test 748 6y 302d
W Rhodes (Eng) 47 3 Mar 1914 36y 125d Test 134 17 Dec 1920 43y 49d Test 135 6y 289d
B Sutcliffe (NZ) 34 18 Mar 1959 35y 121d Test 472 27 Feb 1965 41y 102d Test 579 5y 346d
R Abel (Eng) 11 12 Aug 1896 38y 256d Test 52 3 Jul 1902 44y 215d Test 72 5y 325d
CP Mead (Eng) 16 22 Feb 1923 35y 350d Test 152 30 Nov 1928 41y 266d Test 176 5y 282d
WW Whysall (Eng) 3 4 Mar 1925 37y 124d Test 162 16 Aug 1930 42y 289d Test 198 5y 165d
H Elliott (Eng) 2 24 Jul 1928 36y 265d Test 174 15 Dec 1933 42y 43d Test 230 5y 144d
C Washbrook (Eng) 34 21 Mar 1951 36y 105d Test 332 12 Jul 1956 41y 219d Test 427 5y 113d
W Rhodes (Eng) 53 30 May 1921 43y 213d Test 140 14 Aug 1926 48y 289d Test 167 5y 76d
GA Headley (WI) 21 14 Nov 1948 39y 168d Test 304 15 Jan 1954 44y 230d Test 380 5y 62d
Amir Elahi (India) 1 18 Dec 1947 39y 108d Test 291 16 Oct 1952 44y 45d Test 355 4y 303d
CG Macartney (Aus) 30 29 Nov 1921 35y 155d Test 147 12 Jun 1926 39y 350d Test 163 4y 195d
P Holmes (Eng) 6 8 Feb 1928 41y 75d Test 172 25 Jun 1932 45y 213d Test 219 4y 138d
JC Alabaster (NZ) 19 12 Mar 1968 37y 245d Test 634 16 Feb 1972 41y 220d Test 693 3y 341d
G Geary (Eng) 12 15 Jul 1930 37y 6d Test 196 8 Jun 1934 40y 334d Test 233 3y 328d
FJ Laver (Aus) 11 16 Aug 1905 35y 252d Test 87 14 Jun 1909 39y 189d Test 102 3y 302d
C Kelleway (Aus) 25 4 Mar 1925 38y 313d Test 162 30 Nov 1928 42y 219d Test 176 3y 271d
JE Emburey (Eng) 60 1 Aug 1989 36y 346d Test 1124 19 Feb 1993 40y 183d Test 1214 3y 202d
MC Cowdrey (Eng) 109 8 Jun 1971 38y 166d Test 687 13 Dec 1974 41y 354d Test 748 3y 188d
W Rhodes (Eng) 54 18 Aug 1926 48y 293d Test 167 11 Jan 1930 52y 74d Test 187 3y 146d
JMM Commaille (SA) 10 19 Aug 1924 41y 180d Test 157 24 Dec 1927 44y 306d Test 168 3y 127d
HW Taylor (SA) 24 19 Aug 1924 35y 106d Test 157 24 Dec 1927 38y 233d Test 168 3y 127d
TW Graveney (Eng) 55 20 Feb 1963 35y 249d Test 539 16 Jun 1966 39y 0d Test 606 3y 116d
EH Hendren (Eng) 43 25 Feb 1931 42y 20d Test 207 8 Jun 1934 45y 123d Test 233 3y 103d
S Haigh (Eng) 9 2 Apr 1906 35y 14d Test 92 14 Jun 1909 38y 87d Test 102 3y 73d
H Strudwick (Eng) 17 14 Jun 1921 41y 137d Test 141 16 Aug 1924 44y 201d Test 157 3y 63d

  • The longest gap between Tests for a player below 20 belongs to New Zealand's Martin Donnelly. He was 19 when he played his third Test, in August 1937, but played his fourth only after World War Two - nearly 12 years later. When he toured England in 1949, Donnelly scored 462 runs in six innings at an average of 77.

  • The longest gap between ODIs for a player below 20 also belongs to a New Zealander. Jeff Wilson played four ODIs against Australia in 1992-93 before embarking on a long and successful rugby career as an All Black. Almost 12 years later, though, Wilson received a shock recall to the team for two ODIs against Australia in 2005. He was only 31 at the time.

  • 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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