5 successful cricketers who made their Test debut after the age of 30

Hazare Bats
Vijay Hazare captained India to their first ever Test win
Meit Sampat

Experience comes with age. While some cricketers made it to the national team when they were in their teens, there have been a few cricketers who have blossomed late in their international cricket career.

After grinding hard in the domestic circuit for more than a decade, these cricketers made it to the national team.

Having reached the age of 30, these cricketers wanted to create an impact on the game and make a name for themselves on the international scene. Here is a look at 5 such cricketers who in-spite of making their debut after the age of 30, had a successful international career.

#5. Vijay Hazare:

Vijay Hazare made his debut for India after his 31st birthday in the year 1946. Hazare has the distinction of leading India to its first ever Test win. The feat was achieved against England in the year 1951-1952 at Madras.

Though Hazare made his debut at the age of 31, he played 7 more seasons for India before he called it a day in 1953. Hazare was a techincally sound batsman and scored 2192 runs in 30 Tests in 52 innings at a healthy average of 47.65, with 7 centuries and nine half centuries to his name.

Hazare also has the distinction of becoming the first Indian batsman to score a century in both innings of a Test match. He scored a century in both innings against Australia at Adelaide in the year 1947-1948.

Hazare created a legacy of his own and is a role model for many generations to play the game of cricket.

#4. Ryan Harris:

Australia v India: 3rd Test - Day 3
Ryan Harris picked up 113 wickets in 27 Test matches

Ryan Harris made his Test debut at the age of 31 against New Zealand in 2010. Harris, who announced his retirement from international cricket at the beginning of the 2015 Ashes, was troubled with injuries more often than not in his 5-year international career. An ankle injury, a chronic knee injury, a hamstring injury and a shoulder injury, Harris had seen it all.

In a career of 27 Test matches, Harris bagged 113 wickets at an average of 23.52. Harris had his golden period in the year 2013 when he was the pick of the Australian bowlers in the twin Ashes. In the 2013 Ashes in England, Harris was the Australian player of the series for his 24 wickets at an average of 19.58. He followed it up with another 22 wickets at an almost similar average when Australia regained the Ashes after whitewashing the England 5-0 in the Aussie summer of 2013-2014 in Australia.

Harris was a true fighter and his never-say-die attitude will be an example for future cricketers. If not for he injuries, Harris could have gone down as one of the greatest Australian bowlers of all time.

#3. Chris Rogers:

Australian Cricket Team Ashes Portrait Session
Chris Rogers had a brief but a successful career for Australia

The journey of Chris Rogers has been an incredible one. After grinding hard in the domestic circuit, Rogers made his Test debut against India in the year 2008 at 30 years of age. Rogers had a forgettable outing and could score only 19 runs in the Test.

Thereafter, he was a forgotten name until 2013 and would have considered calling it a day after reaching the age of 35. However, he was recalled to the national team in 2013 and since then he did not look back. In 25 Tests, Rogers scored 2015 runs at an impressive average of 42. 87 with 5 hundreds and 14 half centuries.

Rogers was the main stay for Australia in the 2013 twin Ashes series in England and Australia when he was the highest run scorer in 10 Tests from both the teams. With Ricky Ponting and Simon Katich calling it a day, the presence and the experience of Rogers helped the Australian team and Rogers did create a name for himself in international cricket.

Rogers is both short-sighted and colour blind, but despite this, he had a successful, but brief, career.

#2. Saeed Ajmal:

England v Pakistan: 1st Test - Day Three
Saeed Ajmal was the highest wicket taker in Tests in 2011 with 50 wickets

Saeed Ajmal, after spending years in the domestic arena, finally made his Test debut at the age of 32 and immediately made an impact in international cricket. Ajmal was the highest wicket taker in the 2011 season with 50 Test wickets.

In 35 Tests, Ajmal has bagged 178 wickets at an average of 28.10 with 10 five wicket hauls in an innings and 4 ten wicket hauls in a match.

Ajmal was a match winner in ODIs too for Pakistan. In 113 ODIs, Ajmal bagged 182 wickets at an average of 22. 72. Ajmal, with his variations was a nightmare for most batsmen especially on slow wickets in the sub continent.

He was banned in 2014 for a suspect bowling action which was subsequently cleared. Ajmal was never the same bowler after his modified action, and played his last international match for Pakistan in 2015.

#1. Michael Hussey:

Australia v South Africa - Second Test: Day 1
Michael Hussey was one of the most successful middle order batsman for Australia in recent times

Michael Hussey made his Test debut after his 30th birthday in 2005. Hussey could not make it to the Test squad earlier as the invincible Australian team in the early 2000s left no stone unturned while thrashing their opponents, and as a result there were very few changes to their winning squads.

Hussey, after spending almost a decade on the domestic circuit, immediately moved to the international level and turned out to be one of the best finishers to have played the game of cricket. Hussey mastered the art of batting with the tail and won many matches for Australia from positions where even a die hard cricket fan would have considered it impossible to win.

Hussey played 79 Tests scoring 6235 runs at an impressive average of 51.52 with 19 hundreds. In ODIs, Hussey represented Australia in 185 matches scoring 5442 runs at an impressive average of 48.15.

If only Hussey had played a few more years for Australia, who knows he might have finished as one of the greatest batsmen of all times and bowed down as a legend. Though that did not happen, he created a legacy of his own and is an example for cricketers world over.

Edited by Anuradha Santhanam


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