Home > Features >

Ian Bell and other England cricketers to play 100th Test by the age of 32

Ian Bell © Getty Images
Ian Bell © Getty Images

Ian Bell became the fourth England player to complete the landmark of playing 100 Tests at or before 32, when he took field in the second Test against Sri Lanka at Headingley. Bharath Ramaraj looks at the other three cricketers who played 100 Tests by the age of 32, and how England have been reluctant to give a chance to cricketers when they are young.

When Ian Bell walks to the middle to take strike in the first innings of the second Test match, he will be batting in his 100th Test. After spending gallons of sweat and toil, Bell will be a satisfied man. He has made runs all over the cricketing world, and with loads of skill he has shown his ability to succeed in times of crisis.

Interestingly, at 32, Bell is only the fourth Englishman of that age to play 100 Tests.  It tells you that England don’t give Test caps to teenagers (unless it is Brian Close). Ben Hollioake too made his Test debut at a young age. Bell, from a tender age, was acknowledged as a precociously talented batsman and that led to selectors showing immense faith in him and giving him a chance to wear the white flannels when he was 22, against the West Indies at the Oval in 2004.

The others in the list are Michael Atherton, David Gower and the present England captain, Alastair Cook. Among the lot, Atherton was the youngest to reach the mark. The veteran batsman went onto play 115 Test for England. Atherton played at a time when it seemed like England found themselves in a long trench of heavy defeats. However, Atherton on many occasions, especially against the West Indies and South Africa, shouldered the responsibility of being the key batsman in the setup. He wasn’t exactly a magisterial magician with the bat, but was a gutsy batsman on the back-foot.

Gower, the elegant southpaw, reached the coveted landmark of playing 100 Tests against the rampaging West Indies at Leeds in 1988. The left-hander could play strokes of surreal beauty. Gower was arguably at his best when England toured Australia in 1986-87. With uncanny timing and placement, he notched up two hundreds, including one at WACA to take them to a series triumph.

Cook, England’s current captain made his Test debut at Nagpur in 2006 and straightaway scored a century. Cook has many splendid achievements to his name; including leading England to a memorable series win in India. The annus mirabilis continued for Cook, as England also retained the Ashes in 2013. But he has struggled for form in recent times and the 5-0 whitewash Down Under would have hurt him big time.

It is also interesting to note that Gower, Atherton and Cook under the weight of expectations didn’t exactly touch tall peaks in their 100th Test. Maybe Bell will break that jinx with an innings of timeless beauty.

(Bharath Ramaraj, an MBA in marketing, eats, drinks and sleeps cricket. He has played at school and college-level, and now channelises his passion for the game by writing about it)

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 22, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Dambulla

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 23, 2014 (08:50 IST)   at Sydney

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 23, 2014 (12:00 IST)   at Chittagong

India tour of Australia 2014, Practice matches

Nov 24, 2014 (05:29 IST)   at Glenelg, Adelaide

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Nov 26, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Sharjah


Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 21, 2014  at Dambulla

Match abandoned without a ball being bowled

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 21, 2014  at Chittagong

Bangladesh won by 87 runs

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 21, 2014  at Melbourne

Australia won by 3 wkts

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 20, 2014  at Dambulla

Match abandoned without a ball being bowled(Match rescheduled to 21/11/2014)

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 19, 2014  at Dambulla

Match abandoned without a ball being bowled


Australia vs South Africa, 3rd ODI at Canberra


SL vs Eng: Buttler practices wicketkeeping in nets

PCB’s biggest challenge is to bring back international cricket to Pakistan: Subhan Ahmad

Tim Southee’s 50 Test sixes and related records

India vs Australia 2014: India may have heavy dose of pace in store in 1st Test

Ross Taylor’s crucial knock against Pakistan will boost his sub-par subcontinent record

Stuart Binny — can the all-rounder be a trump card for India in ODIs?

Australia Australia vs South Africa Australia vs South Africa 2014 India New Zealand New Zealand tour of UAE 2014 New Zealand vs Pakistan New Zealand vs Pakistan 2014 Pakistan Pakistan vs New Zealand Pakistan vs New Zealand 2014 South Africa South Africa tour of Australia 2014 South Africa vs Australia South Africa vs Australia 2014

Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe, 2nd ODI at Chittagong Preview: Hosts look to build on winning start

Colin Ingram joins Glamorgan under Kolpak ruling

Assad Fudadin replaces Darren Bravo in West Indies Test squad for South Africa tour

George Bailey does not expect Test recall for series against India

Kumar Sangakkara asked to review retirement plans: Reports

Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe 2014: Sabbir Rahman fires explosive 44 on debut

World Cup 1979: Mike Hendrick blows Pakistan away

Shakib Al Hasan becomes 12th player to hit ODI century and take four wickets in same match

Narendra Modi and Tony Abbott take cricket diplomacy to a new level

Pakistan vs New Zealand 2014: Highest chases against New Zealand in Test matches

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

681 Posts | 6 Fans

Video Highlights: Virat Kohli vs Australian cricketers

8 reasons to add rosemary to your diet

Kumkum Bhagya: Pragya walks out of the house after proving her innocence

WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Snapchat among the most unsecured mobile messaging apps out there

The Importance of Food Labels

Shahzil Amin: Inspiring Entrepreneurs one Venture at a Time

Here’s how Gautam Rode injured himself on the sets of Mahakumbh – Watch video!

How many calories do bananas have?

Microsoft Lumia 535 likely to launch in India on November 26

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here