5 Cricketers Who Started Late But Performed Very Well: Boards often look at youngsters as potential superstars of the future and have at times tended to ignore the ones who are considered experienced in domestic cricket but older to make their debuts in international cricket.
A preference for younger players is justified in its own ways, but picking them while leaving out aged players with domestic form just because of their age is unfair.
There have been few cricketers who have forced themselves into the national team despite nearing 30 and some even being on what is considered as the ‘wrong side of 30’ to make their international debuts.
Here we look at 5 such players who made a late entry to the international arena but took it by storm:
Michael Hussey is always the first name on the lips when talking about late entrants, and is an inspiration for those toling hard in domestic cricket but unable to make it to their national side. Making his Australia debut at the age of 30, Hussey went on to become a legend of the game and earned the moniker of Mr. Cricket.
He featured in 79 Tests, 185 ODIs and 38 T20Is, amassing over 12000 runs, being the backbone of the Australian middle-order and part of some of their most famous wins. He also made his mark in the IPL, batting for CSK Hussey won the Orange Cap in 2013.
Suryakumar Yadav was being ignored for a long time by the national selectors despite being a consistent performer at domestic levels and in the IPL. It took three dominating seasons in the IPL in 2018, 2019, and 2020 plus the mountain of runs for Mumbai in domestic cricket and SKY broke the door down on the selectors.
He’s now a first-choice batsman in India’s T20I team and is making a strong contention for a place in the ODI eleven too. In 14 T20I, Suryakumar averages 39 and has struck at a brilliant strike rate of 165.
At his best, Saeed Ajmal was almost unplayable off the pitch, his variations indecipherable from the hand. Looking at his immediate success for Pakistan, it felt a surprise that he hadn’t made his international debut until age 31.
He played a crucial role in Pakistan’s 2009 T20 World Cup victory and soon owned the Test arena. Ajmal enjoyed success for most of his career- between 2008 and 2015, the snapped up 178 Tests wickets at an average of 28 and 184 ODI wickets at 22. However, his career saw a sudden dip when he was reported for illegal action in 2014 and found it difficult to maintain his dominance.
Ryan Harris wasn’t as quick as some of the other fast bowlers of his generation, but he was enviably accurate with his lines and lengths. Nicknamed ‘Rhino’, he was a late entrant to international cricket, debuting at the age of 29 in 2009.
His debut Test series in New Zealand in 2010 brought nine wickets and later that year he claimed nine in the Perth Ashes Test. However, injuries hurt him and took Test matches out of his career. He still managed to bowl superbly in the 2013 Ashes and finished with 24 wickets at 19.58. A knee injury ended his career in 2015, finishing with 113 Test scalps at 23.
Chris Rogers was another of those many batsmen who found it almost impossible to get into a stable, star-studded Australian team. But, Rogers did – and he made a splash at the start of his career.
Making his debut at the age of 31 in 2008, but didn’t get to play another Test until 2013. The 36-year-old then hammered England, first away from home and then at home. His average slowly picked up from the twenties to thirties and the into the forties as he aggregated runs against South Africa, Pakistan, and India and finished against England in 2015 at an average of 42 after 25 Tests.