December 7, 2011

Who played the most without playing Tendulkar?

Players who never played the most-capped Test cricketers, though their careers overlapped

Which cricketer played the most Tests since Sachin Tendulkar's debut in 1989 without playing against the India batsman? We've found out in this week's column, which is about players who played the most matches during the careers of the most-capped cricketers without playing against them.

Darren Gough, the former England fast bowler, never played a Test against Tendulkar. He didn't play one against Rahul Dravid either. England played India three times during Gough's career (1994-2003) - in 1996, 2001-02 and 2002 - twice at home and once away. Gough was dropped on form for the home series against India in 1996, after a poor tour of South Africa the previous winter, when he struggled with a leg injury. He pulled out of the Tests in India in the winter of 2001-02 because of personal reasons. In 2002, Gough missed the first Test and eventually the entire Test series against India because of a knee injury. So he ended a 58-Test career without playing India at all.

Three players played 43 Tests during Jacques Kallis' career without playing against the South Africa allrounder: former West Indies batsman Sherwin Campbell, former Australia opener Michael Slater, and Sri Lanka wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardene, who made his debut in 2000. Jayawardene could have played Kallis for the first time during Sri Lanka's Tests in South Africa next week, but he was ruled out of the trip because of an injury.

Graham Gooch played 118 Tests between 1975 and 1995. Imran Khan's career spanned 1971-1992 but he played 84 of his 88 Tests during Gooch's career. They didn't play a Test against each other, even though England and Pakistan contested six series during the time their careers overlapped.

Neither played in England's series in Pakistan in 1977-78: Gooch hadn't been recalled after he was dropped following his first two Tests in 1975, and Imran was participating in Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket in Australia. Gooch was part of the home series against Pakistan in the summer of 1978, but Imran did not tour England, again because of his involvement in WSC. Imran did tour England in 1982, but Gooch was banned for having gone on a rebel tour to apartheid South Africa. Gooch was still banned when England went to Pakistan in 1983-84.

In 1987, Gooch was left out of the home series against Pakistan, which Imran played. Gooch did face Imran in a tour game before the Tests began, though, and was bowled for a duck. (He fell for another duck, to Wasim Akram, in the second innings.) When England toured Pakistan later that year, Gooch went, but Imran had retired. He would come out of retirement and lead Pakistan in a drawn Test series in West Indies and to World Cup glory in Australia. Imran was once again retired, this time permanently, when Pakistan toured England in 1992.

VVS Laxman has played 130 Tests. Sanath Jayasuriya played 110, 91 of them after Laxman began his career in 1996. They too never played each other. India and Sri Lanka played four bilateral series during the common period, and one match as part of the Asian Test Championship in 1999.

Jayasuriya played the home and away series against India in 1997. Laxman didn't. He wasn't a regular in India's Test team at the time. Laxman played the Asian Test Championship match in 1999; Jayasuriya had a hand injury. When India toured Sri Lanka in 2001, Laxman was injured but Jayasuriya wasn't. In 2005, Jayasuriya, who had just completed 100 Tests, was left out of the tour of India, while Laxman played the series.

The most-capped Test players and the player who played the most within their career without playing them
Player Span Mat Player Span Mat Overlap Mat
SR Tendulkar (India) 1989-2011 184 D Gough (Eng) 1994-2003 58 1994-2003 58
SR Waugh (Aus) 1985-2004 168 SV Manjrekar (India) 1987-1996 37 1987-1996 37
SR Waugh (Aus) 1985-2004 168 M Prabhakar (India) 1984-1995 39 1989-1995 37
R Dravid (ICC/India) 1996-2011 160 D Gough (Eng) 1994-2003 58 1996-2003 46
RT Ponting (Aus) 1995-2011 157 Mushfiqur Rahim (Ban) 2005-2011 26 2005-2011 26
AR Border (Aus) 1978-1994 156 AD Gaekwad (India) 1974-1985 40 1978-1985 25
JH Kallis (ICC/SA) 1995-2011 147 SL Campbell (WI) 1995-2002 52 1996-2002 43
JH Kallis (ICC/SA) 1995-2011 147 HAPW Jayawardene (SL) 2000-2011 43 2000-2011 43
JH Kallis (ICC/SA) 1995-2011 147 MJ Slater (Aus) 1993-2001 74 1995-2001 43
SK Warne (Aus) 1992-2007 145 D Ganga (WI) 1998-2008 48 1998-2006 41
MV Boucher (ICC/SA) 1997-2011 141 MJ Slater (Aus) 1993-2001 74 1998-2001 40
S Chanderpaul (WI) 1994-2011 137 DR Martyn (Aus) 1992-2006 67 2000-2006 60
S Chanderpaul (WI) 1994-2011 137 HP Tillakaratne (SL) 1989-2004 83 1994-2004 60
M Muralitharan (ICC/SL) 1992-2010 133 JC Adams (WI) 1992-2001 54 1992-2001 53
AJ Stewart (Eng) 1990-2003 133 M Dillon (WI) 1997-2004 38 1997-2003 34
A Kumble (India) 1990-2008 132 DC Boon (Aus) 1984-1996 107 1990-1996 59
CA Walsh (WI) 1984-2001 132 WPUJC Vaas (SL) 1994-2009 111 1994-2001 48
N Kapil Dev (India) 1978-1994 131 GF Lawson (Aus) 1980-1989 46 1980-1989 46
BC Lara (ICC/WI) 1990-2006 131 GW Flower (Zim) 1992-2004 67 1992-2004 67
VVS Laxman (India) 1996-2011 130 ST Jayasuriya (SL) 1991-2007 110 1997-2007 91
ME Waugh (Aus) 1991-2002 128 RC Russell (Eng) 1988-1998 54 1991-1998 34
SM Gavaskar (India) 1971-1987 125 IM Chappell (Aus) 1964-1980 75 1972-1980 38
DPMD Jayawardene (SL) 1997-2011 125 CA Walsh (WI) 1984-2001 132 1997-2001 39
Javed Miandad (Pak) 1976-1993 124 CJ McDermott (Aus) 1984-1996 71 1984-1993 52
GD McGrath (Aus) 1993-2007 124 SV Carlisle (Zim) 1995-2005 37 1995-2005 37
IVA Richards (WI) 1974-1991 121 RW Taylor (Eng) 1971-1984 57 1977-1984 56
Inzamam-ul-Haq (ICC/Pak) 1992-2007 120 MA Butcher (Eng) 1997-2004 71 1997-2004 71
IA Healy (Aus) 1988-1999 119 DJ Nash (NZ) 1992-2001 32 1992-1999 26
GA Gooch (Eng) 1975-1995 118 Imran Khan (Pak) 1971-1992 88 1976-1992 84
DI Gower (Eng) 1978-1992 117 DK Morrison (NZ) 1987-1997 48 1987-1992 25
DL Haynes (WI) 1978-1994 116 RW Taylor (Eng) 1971-1984 57 1978-1984 51
DB Vengsarkar (India) 1976-1992 116 GF Lawson (Aus) 1980-1989 46 1980-1989 46
MA Atherton (Eng) 1989-2001 115 RS Kaluwitharana (SL) 1992-2004 49 1992-2001 40
MA Atherton (Eng) 1989-2001 115 GP Wickramasinghe (SL) 1991-2001 40 1991-2001 40
MC Cowdrey (Eng) 1954-1975 114 FM Engineer (India) 1961-1975 46 1961-1975 46

Kapil Goyal, a reader, sent in the question that led to the idea for this column.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Abhishek on December 8, 2011, 10:48 GMT

    The most surprising names are Imran- Gooch along with Laxman- Jayasuriya. It's really difficult to believe that these players, all legends in their own right, never played against each other in tests!

  • Dummy4 on December 8, 2011, 7:37 GMT

    What sort of useless article is this?

  • Mike on December 8, 2011, 7:31 GMT

    I had a look at the link from the first test in 1877 to teh present day, using just Enaland players and the shortest link I can find is 10 players: George Ulyett Test 1 to 33 W.G Grace Test 33 to 60 Wilf Rhodes Test 60 to 193 Bill Voce Test 193 to 281 Godfrey Evans Test 281 to 475 Colin Cowdrey Test 475 to 755 Chris Old Test 755 to 906 Graham Gooch Test 906 to 1287 Graham Thorpe Test 1287 to 1753 Andrew Strauss Test 1753 to present day. Obvioulsy to link to test number 1 it has to cover England or Australia - I wonder how Australia compares? Mike Rolls

  • Vikas on December 8, 2011, 7:18 GMT

    @ Andrew Ward. Look at the last column of the table. It states that Walsh played 39 of his tests during Mahela's career. For every pair, you need to look at the last column to find the number of tests that overlapped.

  • Dummy4 on December 8, 2011, 6:25 GMT

    This article is a classic example of finding work for yourself...

  • Vishnu on December 8, 2011, 0:31 GMT

    Very nice article. The aurthor chose Sachin in the title as he was the most capped player. Please leave SRT alone !!!!!!!!!!!! He is once in a generation player. If some people have an issue about this, please take your arguments elsewhere.

  • Viper on December 7, 2011, 23:34 GMT

    What kind of a meaningless article is this? If you have a database of cricket, anyone can come up with various permutations such as these that make no real statistical. How about - how many left arm bowlers who've played against the WI having 2 seamers and one left handed batsman that's never bowled consecutive no balls after the lunch interval on day 2 of a test?

    I'm getting tired of the one's that are out there just because it can be and not for any meaningful reading. I'd like the author to also let the readers know why this article is worth reading.

  • josh on December 7, 2011, 20:24 GMT

    In my opinion this kind of statistics analysis doesn't make any sense whatsoever ! player like tendulkar has been around for 22 years ! its quite obvious he played with many players! We expect cricinfo will write more interesting stuff.

  • victoria on December 7, 2011, 19:11 GMT

    Jaycee71, Thanks for the correction. However, the point I want to make is that NO MATCH THAT INVOLVES A TEAM OF INTERNATIONAL PLAYERS COMBINED, AGAINST A FULL NATIONAL SQUAD SHOULD BE GIVEN TEST MATCH STATUS. Othewise all similar matches in the past and of the future should be treated similarly. The players in that 2005 match did not know it was an official test. That was later decided. We are talking about international sports and international standards, not the feeling of a handful of priveleged guys who decide to do things that just suite 'their' whims and fancies. The whole psyche of players in internationally combined teams playing a test match (to fulfill whose pride?) is very much disoriented, wrongfully conceptualised and completely different from a match where the natural sentiments of the players are attached to playing 'FOR THEIR OWN COUNTRY'. I really don't know how so called intelligent people can keep on addressing world related matters in this rather haphazard manner!

  • Hrithik on December 7, 2011, 18:08 GMT

    @dms1972, I like the stats you show, and agree with your sentiment, in general. But you are the one bringing up sachin here, even though you conveniently forgot to add that ponting did not play the great australian attack (not even once, trust me) in accumulating those run mountains. When you demean the bowling prowess of zim and BD players, you forget that no team in the world had bowlers like Aus did for the majority of sachin's playing years.

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