We have reached an era wherein international cricketing careers are becoming short. The likes of AB de Villiers and Brendon McCullum retired when they were at their prime. The workload is one of the factors behind this. However, there are a few players who still have not retired, although they made their debut many years ago. On that note, in this article, we take a look at five players who made their debut before 2003 but are still playing international cricket.
1) Chris Gayle
International Debut: Sep 1999 || Opposition: India || Venue: Toronto || Format: ODI
Only eleven months after he had made his first-class debut, Chris Gayle played his first game for West Indies at the senior level. A rookie tall left-hander, Gayle is now the highest ODI run-getter for West Indies. In his first encounter, Gayle batted at No.4 and got out after scoring only two runs.
41-years-old now, the Jamaican cricketer is yet to retire from international cricket. That said, Gayle represents West Indies mostly in T20Is now. A couple of months ago, he even said that fans should not be surprised if he plays until he is 45. Hence, he is one of the players who made their debut before 2003 but are still playing international cricket.
2) Shoaib Malik
International Debut: Oct 1999 || Opposition: West Indies || Venue: Sharjah || Format: ODI
In fact, it was for his off-break bowling that Shoaib Malik was known at the start of his career. Later, after having proved his batting skills across multiple positions, Malik got a place in the top-order. Since then, the player has accumulated over 11000 international runs for his country.
Talking about Malik’s international debut, it happened against West Indies in 1999. While he did not get a chance to bat, with the ball, he collected two wickets from eight overs. After the 2019 World Cup, he retired from ODIs but is currently active in the T20I format.
3) James Anderson
International Debut: Dec 2002 || Opposition: Australia || Venue: Melbourne || Format: ODI
Incidentally, James Anderson made his international debut even before he had earned a County cap. He was selected to tour Australia in 2002 for a three-team series that also included Sri Lanka. In his first game, the highest wicket-taking Test pacer opened the bowling for his country and took a wicket in six overs. Adam Gilchrist is the first victim of Anderson in international cricket.
One of the premier pacers in the game, Anderson is yet to take a call on his retirement. That said, the legendary English cricketer only plays the five-day format now. This is despite him being England’s highest wicket-taker in ODI cricket.
4) Mohammad Hafeez
International Debut: Apr 2003 || Opposition: Zimbabwe || Venue: Sharjah || Format: ODI
After Pakistan performed poorly in the 2003 World Cup, the management decided to try few new faces in the subsequent tournaments. Mohammad Hafeez was one such cricketer who got his chance as part of this transition period.
Although he made his ODI debut in 2003, in which he scored 12 runs and collected two wickets, it was not until 2011 that he became a permanent member of the squad. Since then, he has scored more than 11000 international runs for his country. Despite being 40-years-old, he was the leading run-scorer in T20I cricket in the world in 2020. He has retired from Tests and is likely to hang up his boots after the World T20 this year. In January 2020, Hafeez had said he would retire from limited-overs cricket after World T20, but the tournament was pushed to this year.
5) Fidel Edwards
International Debut: June 2003 || Opposition: Sri Lanka || Venue: Sharjah || Format: Test
Unlike other cricketers, it was in the red-ball format that Fidel Edwards made his debut. He got this chance after impressing Brian Lara at the nets. Hence, despite not having any experience in domestic cricket, Fidel made his debut against Sri Lanka in 2003. The pacer got a five-wicket haul in the very first innings of his international career.
In 2016, he had announced his retirement due to contract issues with the board. However, he recently made his comeback for West Indies in the T20 format when he was picked for the series against Sri Lanka in 2021. Hence, he is also one of the players who made their debut before 2003 but are still playing international cricket.