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The over 40s... and almost

Brad Hogg celebrates a wicket for Kolkata Knight Riders BCCI

Brad Hogg, 45 years
21 matches from 2012-2016

Having retired from cricket in 2008, Brad Hogg was actually hired as a commentator for the 2011 season of the IPL. A few months later, he decided he'd rather have grass back beneath his shoes than carpeting and made a comeback in the Big Bash League. After a season, he found he was "feeling 21 again". A call-up to the Australia Twenty20 squad followed and then a contract with Rajasthan Royals in the IPL. He picked up 10 wickets in 9 games and went at just over seven runs an over in his first season with them. Three seasons later, he was still going, this time as a Kolkata Knight Riders player. His nine wickets in the 2015 IPL came at just 16 a piece, and his economy rate was below seven. After a mediocre season last year, he was released by Knight Riders and went unsold in this year's auction.

Pravin Tambe, 44 years
33 matches from 2013 to now

For every denouncement of the IPL as a soulless commercial enterprise destined to destroy cricket, the tournament responds with a heartwarming boondocks-to-spotlight tale. None of these stories is more powerful than that of legspinner Pravin Tambe. In early 2013, he was already 41 and had never played a first-class game. For five years he had been working as a liaison officer at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai, approaching IPL players nervously for autographs, afraid one would hurt him by refusing. Then, after scouts spotted him during an invitational T20 tournament, he was given a contract with Rajasthan Royals. The next thing he knew, he was one of their key bowlers, leading the wicket charts in the 2013 Champions League T20 and taking 15 scalps in the 2014 IPL. He has since played for Gujarat Lions, in 2016, and will feature for Sunrisers Hyderabad this year.

Muttiah Muralitharan, 42 years
66 matches from 2008-2014

In the early years of the IPL, a clique of experienced, accomplished Test cricketers were guilty of feeding countless clich├ęs that celebrated the triumph of timeless skills in a daunting new format. Muttiah Muralitharan was among the chief culprits. His economy-rate of 5.22 in the 2009 edition, when he was with Chennai Super Kings, was the best for anyone who had bowled more than five overs in the season. In 2011, he was signed by Kochi Tuskers Kerala, and he kept going past 40, finishing off his career with three years at Royal Challengers Bangalore.

Shane Warne, 41 years
55 matches from 2008-2011

The IPL couldn't have had a more apt first winning captain than Shane Warne. He came to the tournament with international popularity, a hair transplant, a facelift and a reputation for never saying no to a good time. On the pitch, he led underdogs Rajasthan Royals to victory in 2008 and continued to be one of the tournament's most dangerous bowlers for the next three years, ending his IPL career when well past 40, with 57 wickets from 55 games and an economy-rate of just over seven. Off the pitch, he generated headlines, whether for kissing his celebrity girlfriend or fighting officials.

Adam Gilchrist, 41 years
80 matches from 2008-2013

A year after his Australia team-mate had won the IPL with an underdog team, Adam Gilchrist repeated the trick, leading Deccan Chargers, who had finished last in the inaugural season, to the title in 2009. His 85 off 35 balls in the semi-final is one of the all-time great IPL knocks. Gilchrist defied age; months before his 40th birthday, he scored his second IPL hundred. By then, he was playing for Kings XI Punjab and he continued to be a key player in their side till 2013.

Azhar Mahmood, 40 years
23 matches from 2012-2015

No Pakistan player has featured in the IPL since its inaugural season. But Azhar Mahmood, who played 164 international matches for Pakistan, had gained UK citizenship by the mid-2000s and was bought by Kings XI Punjab in 2012. He made decent contributions in his two seasons with them, taking 29 wickets and scoring 382 runs. He missed out on the 2014 edition, but made a comeback as a 40-year-old when Kolkata Knight Riders bought him in 2015. That stint did not prove successful, though - he played just one game in the season and was released after it.

Rahul Dravid, 40 years
89 matches from 2008-2013

If the cheerleaders and advertising blimp hadn't already done it, watching the classical technique of Rahul Dravid distort itself in an attempt to strike at more than a run a ball made the purists declare war on the IPL. But to the surprise of many, Dravid's IPL career was not a short experiment. He played six full seasons of the tournament, the first three at Royal Challengers Bangalore and the last at Rajasthan Royals. He had turned 40 before the 2013 edition, which turned out to be one of his most successful ones - he scored 471 runs at 29.43.

Sanath Jayasuriya, 40 years
30 matches from 2008-2010

For anyone who watched limited-overs cricket in the 1990s, an opening partnership of Sachin Tendulkar and Sanath Jayasuirya would have constituted a fantasy. That is what Mumbai Indians had in the first three seasons of the IPL. Jayasuriya had a stunning first season, averaging over 40 and smashing a hundred and two fifties. By the time he was 40, however, his reflexes were on the wane, and he scored just 33 runs in four games in his last IPL season.

Sachin Tendulkar, 40 years
78 matches from 2008-2013

If a list celebrating longevity in cricket did not feature Sachin Tendulkar, it would not be worth making. He spent his 40th birthday, on April 24, 2013, playing for Mumbai Indians, though Kolkata Knight Riders spinner Sunil Narine displayed a dire lack of a sense of occasion and bowled him for just 2. That was in Tendulkar's sixth and final IPL season. He was injured before the knockout rounds and missed Mumbai Indians' first title win. Performances in the IPL don't even make the footnotes in books about Tendulkar, but he did enjoy two prolific seasons. He was the leading run-getter in 2010 and was third on the list the year after, when he scored his first and only IPL century.

Michael Hussey, 39 years and 362 days
59 matches from 2008-2015

As if deliberately trying to scupper this list, Michael Hussey played his last IPL game on 24 May 2015, three days short of his 40th birthday. By then he was in his second stint with Chennai Super Kings, having spent the previous season with Mumbai Indians. Hussey's most successful period in the IPL was his first stint with Super Kings. Between 2010 and 2013, his team won two titles and reached two more finals. He was vital to the successful 2011 campaign, scoring 492 runs, including a half-century in the final. Then, in 2013, he topped the run-scoring charts, with 733 runs at 52.35.