Cricket is a very demanding sport and irrespective of all the glitz and glam, behind the scenes, it is just an endless struggle that a cricketer has to put oneself through to remain fit and at the top of his game.
A few cricketers come and go while others hang around for an overwhelming time span, forging an astronomical legacy. One of the longest spanning careers in cricket belongs to Sachin Tendulkar who played for a staggering 24 years to create a dynasty.
On the same note, another long-serving Indian cricketer was MS Dhoni who plied his trade for 15 overwhelming years, ushering India into an era of infallible ascendancy. Since we mentioned Dhoni and Tendulkar, we will also introduce you to five other stars who made their debut before Mahi and are still going strong in the international circuit in some format or the other.
#1 Chris Gayle
Christopher Henry Gayle aka the Universe Boss made his debut in international cricket as a middle-order batsman in 1999 in an ODI against India. Though he failed to impress in his opening essay scoring just 1 run, he evolved with time and those titanic sixes from the titan I the following days augured something monumental for West Indies.
When T20 cricket popped up from the shadows it had a madness engulfing it. Cheer Leaders, blazing display of pyrotechnics, choc-a-bloc stands and raining sixes, the madness had another side to it and it was Chris Gayle. Still going strong at 41 years of age, Gayle will be representing West Indies in the upcoming T20 World Cup.
#2 James Anderson
The man who has left India contorting in agony in the wake of his consecutive destructive spells, Jimmy Anderson has been swinging his way through the austerity of life for a staggering 18 years now. He made his international debut in an ODI against England and it came in a lost cause. Australia hammered the visitors mercilessly and Anderson was smashed for 46 runs from his 6 overs, compelled to be content with a solitary scalp.
However, what started off as a mediocre display has now exploded into a full-fledged dynasty that bore witness to Jimmy surpassing Anil Kumble recently in Test cricket and cementing his place in the pantheon of fast bowlers with 908 international wickets.
#3 Shoaib Malik
One of the most effulgent Pakistani cricketers to have ever embraced this sport, Shoaib Malik is still burning bright at the ripe age of 39 years. He made his international debut in 1999 when he was a part of a formidable Pakistani side that was pitted against the likes of the West Indies. Much to the startling surprise of everyone, he was introduced to the national team as a spinner and not an all-rounder. He returned handsome dividends as he registered figures of 8-1-34-2 against the Caribbean.
Though being reduced to only T20 cricket, Malik has notched up impressive credentials in all formats of the game and will be a big name for Pakistan in the imminent World T20 slated to be convened in UAE and Oman.
#4 Mohammad Hafeez
The second Pakistani cricketer to star in this list, Mohammad Hafeez has aged like fine wine. A man with a variegated arsenal at his disposal, Hafeez has been exceptionally effusive in his stroke-play and exudes an aura of indomitable effervescence even at the age of 40.
The man made his debut in 2003 against Zimbabwe, opening the innings alongside Taufeeq Umar. Despite failing to sustain himself longer on his debut, he has successfully sustained himself in the long run to glory. Though his bat failed to speak on the day of his footfall in international cricket, he notched up impressive figures with the ball as it read 10-0-41-2.
#5 Dwayne Bravo
Quoting a quick line from his song, Dwayne Bravo is indeed a champion, a champion of a heart-warming smile, a champion of relentless brilliance and a champion of cricket. The man who started his career on a rain-dampened day against England didn’t get to bat. However, he impressed with the ball as his medium-pace got the prized scalps of Marcus Trescothick and Andrew Strauss.
Bravo has come a long way since then and most importantly he is MSD’s compatriot in the bedecked Indian Premier League and the dup plies their trade for Chennai Super Kings. He recently announced his farewell from international cricket during the series against Pakistan. His captain, Kieron Pollard said that he will be calling it a day at the end of the T20 World Cup.