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Ten veterans in a league of their own in a young man’s game

Wisden India logo Wisden India 09-09-2016

When the Twenty20 version of cricket was introduced, it was speculated that the format was made for youngsters. The frenetic pace of cricket’s youngest child was initially considered too much for the older lot, but over the years, the veterans have proved not only that they can compete, but also that they can excel in the format. Wisden India looks at some of the oldest cricketers who are active in various T20 competitions around the world. And no, the Cricket All-Stars isn’t included.

1. Brad Hogg

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Hogg is perhaps cricket’s version of Benjamin Button. The evergreen chinaman bowler is still going strong in the T20 circuit and will be 44 years and 318 days old when he steps on the field for Perth Scorchers in their first Big Bash League match of the season against the Adelaide Strikers on December 21.

He was also an integral part of the Kolkata Knight Riders squad in the Indian Premier League earlier this year. Overall, Hogg has taken 115 wickets from 111 T20 matches at an economy of 6.70.

2. Pravin Tambe

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Tambe had not played first-class cricket but was drafted into the Rajasthan Royals squad out of the blue in IPL 2013. Over the next three seasons, he gradually turned into their first-choice spinner with startling performances and also earned a first-class debut.

The legspinner was 43 years and 212 days old when he last turned out in a professional T20 match, for Rajasthan against Chennai Super Kings in IPL 2015. He has picked up 44 wickets from 39 T20s at an economy of 6.86.

3. Mohammad Tauqir

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One of the faces of United Arab Emirates cricket, Tauqir has been a feature of their team since 1996 and replaced Khurram Khan as their captain ahead of the 2015 World Cup. He was more than 43 years old then. Tauqir continued to lead UAE, albeit unsuccessfully, in the World T20 qualifier. During his most recent T20 match, Tauqir was 43 years and 182 days old.

4. Misbah-ul-Haq

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He’s famously called ‘Tuk Tuk’ and hasn’t played Twenty20 Internationals since 2012, but that didn’t stop Misbah from signing up for the Bangladesh Premier League last month in a bid to keep himself match-fit for Pakistan’s Test assignments next year. He started with a match-winning knock of 61 for Rangpur Riders against Chittagong Vikings. By the time the season ended, he was 41 years and 189 days old.

5. Brad Hodge

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Hodge will turn 41 on December 29, but is among the big names in the ongoing BBL where he is leading Adelaide Strikers. Age is clearly not affecting his abilities, as proved when he hammered an unbeaten 41-ball 56 in his side’s tournament opener against Melbourne Stars on Friday (December 18).

A veteran in the format, Hodge has played 244 T20s and made 6717 runs at a strike rate of almost 132. He is clearly not finished as his contract with Adelaide extends for the next season as well.

6. Michael Hussey

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Michael Hussey has worked with South Africa as a consultant and has recently been appointed by Cricket Australia in a similar role ahead of the World T20 2016. But that didn’t stop the left-handed legend from stepping on the field for Sydney Thunder in their BBL opener against Sydney Sixers at the age of 40 years and 204 days.

Well, he didn’t just step out, but also smashed an unbeaten 80 off 59 balls to help Thunder to their first ever win over the Sixers. In all, Hussey has 4178 T20 runs from 142 games at a strike rate of above 125.

7. Azhar Mahmood

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Another cricketer above 40, Mahmood wasn’t picked by any franchise in BPL but continues to play T20 for Surrey. Prior to the NatWest T20 Blast, he featured in the Kolkata side during IPL 2015. He was 40 years and 200 days old in his last T20 appearance.

8. Jacques Kallis

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Kallis played in the Cricket All-Stars tournament, attracted the highest bid in the Masters Champions League player auctions, and was also named Kolkata Knight Riders’ head coach over the last two months. Is he done with his playing career then? Absolutely not, as he is a part of Sydney Thunder for this BBL season. During the opening game against Sixers, Kallis was 40 years and 62 days old, but still sent down three overs for just 16 runs, including a wicket, apart from scoring 15 runs as an opener.

9. Tillakaratne Dilshan

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Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene have retired over the last two seasons, but another big player from Sri Lanka continues to ply his trade in the shorter formats. Dilshan is going strong in One-Day Internationals and T20Is and was also a part of Chittagong Vikings in the BPL earlier this month. He was 39 years and 56 days old during his last T20 game, and the way he’s going, one can expect him to play well into his 40s. Why, the man himself has expressed his desire to go on till the 2019 World Cup!

10. Rafatullah Mohmand

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At 39 years and 20 days, Rafatullah became the oldest player from a Test playing country to make his T20I debut during Pakistan’s first T20I against England last month. Overall, he is the sixth oldest player to make an international debut in the format.

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