The world’s oldest (and oldest living) Test cricketers

First we look at the longest-lived Test cricketers:

From Wikipedia:

Longest lived Test players

Only one Test cricketer crossed a century here, South Africa’s Norman Gordon (1911-2014). He played in 5 Tests against England in 1938-39. He is also 4th on the list of the longest-lived first-class cricketers.

Then there is this list from Cricinfo’s records section (not Statsguru):

https://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/records/283740.html

Screenshot of this on 24 Mar 2020:

Longest lived Test players-2

If you consider “famous” players who played in 25 or more Tests, the oldest would be Wilfred Rhodes (95/252) followed by Syd Barnes (94/251) and Bob Wyatt (93/353).

The oldest Test player from India is MJ Gopalan (94/198) followed by (the strange case of) C Ramaswami  (93?) and MK Mantri.

Next we look at the oldest living Test cricketers today:

From Wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lists_of_oldest_cricketers#Oldest_living_Test_cricketers

As on 24 March 2020:

Oldest living Test crickters

Again, this includes some lesser-known players. For a better idea we go to Cricinfo again:

https://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/records/283742.html

Screenshot of this  on 24 Mar 2020:

Oldest living Test cricketers-2

Taking a minimum of 25 Tests, the oldest well-known player is the last of the 3 Ws (Everton Weekes) at 95+ followed by John Reid at 91+, Neil Harvey at 91+ and Colin Macdonald also 91+ . The last two played in Laker’s Test in 1956.

The oldest from India are Datta Gaekwad (91+), CD Gopinath (90+) and CT Patankar (89+).

However, I know that there are errors in Cricinfo as there are at least two players who are shown as still living whereas their deaths have been reported. These are CK Singh (WI) and Rajinder Pal (Ind).

 

India’s oldest living first-class cricketer

Vasant Raiji, who played in first-class cricket for Bombay and Baroda in 1938-50, celebrates his 100th birthday on Republic Day, 2020:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/india/content/player/33480.html

A news item from 26 Jan 2020:

https://www.hindustantimes.com/cricket/india-s-oldest-living-first-class-cricketer-vasant-raiji-hits-a-century/story-1IsG9ZUFj83Vk2uoXYtj8K.html

Among other things, he wrote some cricket-related books including a biography of one-Test player LP Jai.

At this stage, it is worth looking at the oldest first-class cricketers from all countries. This is one of the subjects where Wikipedia is more useful than Cricinfo:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lists_of_oldest_cricketers#Longest-lived_first-class_cricketers

From this, we can see that Mr Raiji is the 24th first-class cricketer to cross 100.

The only other player from India is the better known DB Deodhar, who lived to be 101+.

The only Test player to cross 100 was the South African bowler N Gordon, 103+ :

http://www.espncricinfo.com/southafrica/content/player/45239.html

All of his 5 Tests were in the 1938-39 SA v Eng series, including the famous timeless Test:

https://www.espncricinfo.com/series/17542/scorecard/62657/south-africa-vs-england-5th-test-england-tour-of-south-africa-1938-39

Meanwhile, we look at other long-lived Test players.

The longest-lived Test players of all time:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lists_of_oldest_cricketers#Longest-lived_Test_cricketers

New Zealand’s Eric Tindill is the only other Test player to cross 99. India’s representative is MJ Gopalan at 94+.

In case you are thinking of the strange case of C Ramaswami, it is now generally accepted that he died in Jan 1990 at 93+ :

http://www.espncricinfo.com/india/content/player/33059.html

Interestingly, Wisden carried his obituary in the 2015 edition only in the “supplementary obituaries” section. This included the obituaries of some who were killed in the Great War and had somehow not been covered by Wisden until then. Better late (by 100 years) than never.

C Ramaswami obit

The oldest living Test cricketers are here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lists_of_oldest_cricketers#Oldest_living_Test_cricketers

This is led by South Africa’s John Watkins (96+) while India’s representative is DK Gaekwad (91+), captain of the 1959 team and father of AD Gaekwad.

Some of these lists are also in Cricinfo but they are not updated frequently. For instance, the list of oldest-lived Test players

http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/records/283742.html

includes at least two (CK Singh of WI and Rajinder Pal of India) whose deaths have been reported elsewhere.

Also see:http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/records/283740.html

Another long-lived Indian FC player was BK Garudachar, who celebrated his 99th birthday soon before he died in 2016:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/india/content/player/29090.html