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England v Pakistan

The long wait: Players with the biggest intervals between Test appearances

by Wisden Staff 4-minute read

Fawad Alam, part of the 20-strong Pakistan squad for the Test series in England, can become the player with the second-longest interval between Test appearances in the 21st century if he features in any of the three matches.

Alam’s last Test appearance came on November 28, 2009, and with his inclusion in the Pakistan XI for the second Test, this would be his first Test appearance after 10 years and 259 days, slotting him into the second spot on this list.

We look at the others in this unique club.

Dinesh Karthik (Jan 21, 2010 to Jun 14, 2018 – 8 years, 144 days)

A 19-year-old Dinesh Karthik debuted for India in November 2004 against Australia, but what started as a promising career was soon limited to sporadic appearances after MS Dhoni’s rise in international cricket.

After playing his 23rd Test for India in January 2010, Karthik’s waited eight years and 144 days to make his 24th Test appearance. It eventually came when Afghanistan toured India for a one-off Test in 2018, the first in their history.

Karthik went on to feature in two more Tests on India’s 2018 tour of England, but hasn’t played in the whites for India since.

Tinashe Panyangara (Jan 18, 2005 to Sep 3, 2013 – 8 years, 228 days)

Panyangara made his Zimbabwe Test debut alongside Prosper Utseya – who features next – in May 2004 against Sri Lanka. The fast bowler lost his place after two Tests, and the country’s six-year exile from Test cricket between 2005 and 2011 contributed hugely to his wait.

Eventually, after eight years and 228 days, he played his fourth Test in September 2013 and followed it up with five more.

The last of his nine Test appearances came in Bangladesh in November 2014.

Prosper Utseya (May 8, 2004 to Mar 20, 2013 – 8 years, 316 days)

The second of the three Zimbabweans in this club, Utseya appeared in 164 ODIs for the country, but played in only four Tests. The off-spinner’s Test debut came in May 2004 against Sri Lanka, but he had to wait for another eight years and 316 days for his second Test match – against West Indies in March 2013.

He featured in both the matches of Pakistan’s tour of Zimbabwe in September later that year, but never played a Test again.

Mark Vermeulen (May 17, 2004 to Aug 9, 2014 – 10 years, 84 days)

The Zimbabwe top-order batsman made his Test debut as a 23-year-old against Pakistan in Bulawayo in 2002, and toured England, Australia, West Indies and Sri Lanka with the team in the next year and a half.

After 2004, however, he was ousted from both the ODI and the Test teams. He returned to the 50-over setup after almost five years in 2009, but his wait for a Test spot extended another five years.

He eventually made his comeback in the one-off Test against South Africa in 2014, after a wait of 10 years and 384 days. It turned out to be his last international appearance for Zimbabwe.

Vermeulen struggled with disciplinary issues throughout his career. He was acquitted of charges of arson on psychiatric grounds after he admitted to burning down a cricket academy in 2006, and was banned by Zimbabwe Cricket in 2015 for making a racist remark on social media.

Gareth Batty (Jun 5, 2005 to Oct 20, 2016 – 11 years 137 days)

Batty started his England Test career in 2003 against Bangladesh, and played in three more Tests that year, all against Sri Lanka, before he was sidelined. Then, a Test appearance in 2004 against West Indies was followed by appearances in both the matches of Bangladesh’s 2005 tour of England.

Thereafter, it was a long wait of 11 years and 137 days before a 39-year-old Batty appeared in the whites for England again, against Bangladesh in October 2016.

It made him the player with the longest interval between two Test appearances this century, and the 17th overall.

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