5 players with the longest gap between Test matches

Jaydev Unadkat made a comeback to the Indian Test playing Xi after 12 years and 2 days

Team India’s left-arm seamer Jaydev Unadkat made a memorable return to the Test team on Thursday. He replaced left-arm spinner, Kuldeep Yadav, in the playing XI for the second Test of the two-match series against Bangladesh at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka.

The 31-year-old made the first breakthrough for the visitors in the Test match, dismissing Bangladesh opener Zakir Hasan (15) in the slips off a delivery that bounced a little too much.

Unadkat continued to trouble the batters and was rewarded with a second wicket when he dismissed Mushfiqur Rahim (26) via caught behind with a delivery that angled in from around the wicket and straightened to take the edge.

After taking a single wicket in the hosts’ second innings, Unadkat gave a vital contribution with the bat as India chased the target down winning the match by 3 wickets.

The Saurashtra pacer, who made his Test debut against South Africa in December 2010, returned to the squad after a 12-year and two-day absence. However, some players have returned to Tests after a much longer absence.

This list discusses the top five players with the greatest gap between Test appearances –

#5 Don Cleverley – New Zealand (14 years and 28 days)

Don Cleverley, a right-arm pacer from New Zealand, made his Test debut against South Africa on February 27, 1932, in Christchurch. He bowled 22 overs without a wicket as the Proteas won the Test by an innings and 12 runs.

He did not play another Test match until March 1946, when he appeared in a one-off match in Wellington against Australia. Cleverley was once again wicketless in 15 overs as Australia won by an innings and 103 runs. As a result, he finished his Test career without a bowling average.

#4 Mick Commaille – South Africa (14 years and 92 days)

Mick Commaille, a former South African batter, appeared in 12 Tests, scoring 355 runs with a best of 47. In his debut Test against England in Johannesburg in January 1910, he scored eight and 19 runs in the first and the second innings respectively.

He played a few more Tests that year, the most recent of which was in March. Commaille’s next appearance for South Africa was against England in Birmingham in June 1924, more than 14 years later. He scored an unbeaten one and 29 runs across the two innings of that Test match. 

Commaille’s final Test was against England in Cape Town in December 1927. His career-high score of 47 came in his final Test innings.

#3 Younis Ahmed – Pakistan (17 years and 111 days)

Younis Ahmed of Pakistan played only four Tests in his career, two of which were more than 17 years apart. Ahmed, a left-handed batter, made his Test debut in October 1969 against the New Zealanders in Karachi. He scored eight and 62 before going on to play the next Test in Lahore, where he scored 0 and 19.

Ahmed’s next Test appearance came in February 1987, against India in Jaipur. He had 14 runs in his only inning of action in that game. Ahmed scored 40 and an unbeaten 34 runs against the same opponents in March in Ahmedabad. It proved to be his final Test appearance.

#2 George Gunn – England (17 years and 316 days)

George Gunn, a domestic legend, amassed 35208 runs in 643 first-class matches. He played in 15 Test matches for England on both sides of the First World War.

In December 1907, Gunn made a memorable Test debut against Australia in Sydney, scoring 119 and 74. In February 1908, he also scored an unbeaten 122 and 0 at the same venue.

After scoring 52 and 61 against Australia in February 1912, his next Test appearance for England was against the West Indies in Bridgetown in January 1930.

In April 1930, he finished his Test career with 85 and 47 in Kingston. Gunn finished his career with 1120 runs at an average of 40, including two centuries and seven fifties.

#1 John Traicos – South Africa & Zimbabwe (22 years and 222 days)

John Traicos had a gap of 22 years between two tests

John Traicos had a gap of 22 years between two tests

The case of John Traicos is one-of-a-kind. In February 1970, he made his Test debut for South Africa against Australia in Durban. His international career was cut short due to South Africa’s apartheid policy, which forced the country into sporting isolation.

He returned to Test cricket in 1992, 22 years and 222 days after his final red-ball appearance for South Africa. After Zimbabwe was granted Test status, the off-spinner made his debut for the African nation at the age of 45.

Traicos claimed 5/86 in 50 overs in Zimbabwe’s debut Test in Harare, capping off a remarkable comeback. The former off-spinner went on to play three more Tests for Zimbabwe, the last of which was in March 1993 against India in Delhi. He finished his career with seven Tests and 27 One-Day Internationals, totalling 37 international scalps.