Cricketers-with-longest-Test-careers
(clockwise from top left) Garry Sobers played for 20 years 6 days, Imran Khan for 20 years 218 days, Sachin Tendulkar 24 years 1 day, and Shivnarine Chanderpaul is still going strong after 20 years 83 days © Getty Images

 

Shivnarine Chanderpaul’s Test career will go past the 20-year mark immediately after one of Denesh Ramdin and Brendon McCullum announces who will bat first. Abhishek Mukherjee looks at the longest Test careers.

 

Shivnarine Chanderpaul has already gone past the 20-year mark in Test cricket on March 17 earlier this year. He is technically still not there, since he has not played a Test since that day, but he will get there the moment the toss results are announced (provided he does not have to pull out of the Test).

 

Twenty-year long Test careers were not rare in the earlier days of the sport for multiple reasons. George Headley, for example, had played 19 Tests till 1939; two more in 1948; and another in 1954. John Traicos’ 22-year gap had a lot to do with South Africa’s ban; Jack Hobbs had pulled off a superhuman effort in his post-40 days; while Brian Close’s performances did not allow him to go past 22 Tests in a 26-year Test career.

 

Let us look at the longest Test careers, then. Do note the stark difference between in days per Test for the batsmen of the yesteryears and the more recent ones.

 

Player Debut Last Test Span Tests Days / Test
Wilfred Rhodes

Jun 1, 1899

Apr 12, 1930

30y 315d

58

194

Brian Close

Jul 23, 1949

Jul 13, 1976

26y 356d

22

448

Frank Woolley

Aug 9, 1909

Aug 22, 1934

25y 13d

64

143

George Headley

Jan 11, 1930

Jan 21, 1954

24y 10d

22

399

Sachin Tendulkar

Nov 15, 1989

Nov 16, 2013

24y 1d

200

44

John Traicos

Feb 5, 1970

Mar 17, 1993

23y 40d

7

1206

Jack Hobbs

Jan 1, 1908

Aug 22, 1930

22y 233d

61

136

George Gunn

Dec 13, 1907

Apr 12, 1930

22y 120d

15

544

Syd Gregory

Jul 21, 1890

Aug 22, 1912

22y 32d

58

139

Freddie Brown

Jul 29, 1931

Jun 30, 1953

21y 336d

22

364

Dave Nourse

Oct 11, 1902

Aug 19, 1924

21y 313d

45

177

Imran Khan

Jun 3, 1971

Jan 7, 1992

20y 218d

88

85

Bobby Simpson

Dec 23, 1957

May 3, 1978

20y 131d

62

120

Shivnarine Chanderpaul*

Mar 17, 1994

Jun 8, 2014

20y 83d

154

48

Colin Cowdrey

Nov 26, 1954

Feb 13, 1975

20y 79d

114

65

Garry Sobers

Mar 30, 1954

Apr 5, 1974

20y 6d

93

79

Mushtaq Mohammad

Mar 26, 1959

Mar 29, 1979

20y 3d

57

128

Shivnarine Chanderpaul**

Mar 17, 1994

Dec 22, 2013

19y 280d

153

47

* If Chanderpaul plays at Sabina Park

** Currently

 

(Abhishek Mukherjee is the Deputy Editor and Cricket Historian at CricketCountry. He blogs at http://ovshake.blogspot.in and can be followed on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ovshake42)