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The oldest Test debutants

Omar Henry is the only player in the top 10 to have made his debut after 1990 Former India captain Sourav Ganguly has always maintained: ?Ag ...

Omar Henry is the only player in the top 10 to have made his debut after 1990

Former India captain Sourav Ganguly has always maintained: “Age does not matter, it’s class that matters.” But at the age of 35 or more in today’s world, a cricketer has to  think of hanging up his boots, else he will be forced to do so. Such is the intensity and pressure in modern-day cricket, that seniors find it a bit difficult to cope up with them. Also, fielding is one the main points of scrutiny and sloppy fielding of the fielding of the seniors is sure to invite strong words from the critics.

But let us revisit those days when cricket was in its blossoming stage. And today’s youth is, certainly, going to get a heart-attack by the fact that as many as 13 players had made their Test debut after the age of 40! Here is a list of top ten oldest players to make their debut in Tests.

Player

Age

Team

Against

Venue

Date

J Southerton 49y 119d England Australia Melbourne 15 Mar 1877
Miran Bakhsh 47y 284d Pakistan India Lahore 29 Jan 1955
DD Blackie 46y 253d Australia England Sydney 14 Dec 1928
H Ironmonger 46y 237d Australia England Brisbane 30 Nov 1928
N Betancourt 42y 242d W Indies England Port of Spain 1 Feb 1930
ER Wilson 41y 337d England Australia Sydney 25 Feb 1921
RJD Jamshedji 41y 27d India England Mumbai 15 Dec 1933
CA Wiles 40y 345d W Indies England Manchester 22 Jul 1933
O Henry 40y 295d S Africa India Durban 13 Nov 1992
SP Kinneir 40y 216d England Australia Sydney 15 Dec 1911

James Southerton – He played his first Test match 3 years before he died, thus registering his name as the oldest cricketer to debut in Test matches. He played only 2 matches scoring only 7 runs in 3 innings. He was mainly a batsman but also tried his hand at slow left-arm bowling. He picked up 7 wickets in his short career with the best of  4/46.

Malik Miran Bakhsh – The second oldest debutant in Test history was a right-arm batsman. He proved to be a major disappointment as he scored only one run and bagged only 2 wickets in two Tests.

Donald Dearness Blackie - The oldest man to represent his country headed the Test averages with fourteen wickets in three Test appearances at a cost of 31.71 runs each, six for 94 in the first innings of the third game at Melbourne being his best analysis.

Herbert Ironmonger -  A slow-medium left-arm spin bowler, who played 14 Tests for Australia and achieved some remarkable performances during his brief Test career, chief among them being that in 1931-32 when he earned a match analysis of 11 wickets for 24 runs on an awkward pitch at Melbourne and was mainly responsible for the dismissal of South Africa for totals of 36 and 45.

Nelson Betancourt – A right-hand batsman and wicket-keeper, Betancourt played his only match against England in 1930 scoring 52 runs with the highest of 39.

Evelyn Rockley Wilson - He also played only one Test scoring 5 runs in each innings against Australia in 1921. However, he had a large amount of first-class experience in his favour playing as many as 136 matches.

Rustomji Jamshedji Dorabji Jamshedji - Rustomji Jamshedji made his Test debut at the age of 41 years, 27 days and is still the oldest Indian to play his first Test. But he made his presence felt in what turned out to be his only Test, against England. He took 3 wickets for 137 runs but could not help his side win the match.

Charles Archibald Wiles – He was a fine batsman from Trinidad having vast first-class experience but he disappointed in his Test debut at almost 41 years scoring 0 and 2 off the two innings in the only match he played.

Omar Henry – A fine left-hander, Henry was the first non-white to play for South Africa as he played 3 Test matches and 3 ODIs. He was past his best when he debuted for the national side but he proved his worth in his brief international career.

Septimus Paul Kinneir – In spite of having played 312 first-class matches, Kinneir had to wait till the dusk of his career for his international debut. He played only 1 Test and scored 52 runs with the highest of 30. He was named the Wisden Cricketer of the Year 1912.


Most of these cricketers are little known primarily because of their short careers, but still they will be remembered by the cricketing world as some of the bravest men who left their career to their ancient bones. Some of them were fine batsmen but age did not help them pursue their career. Still, we salute them for their toughness and grit to play for their country even though age did not permit them!

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