No “Department of Youth” Here: A Real-life Dad’s Army

In the list of youngest-ever test cricketers, the first 17 in the sequence all come from South Asia (Pakistan, leading the cohort, India & Bangladesh). By contrast, English Test selectors, conservative by nature, have rarely ever plumped for youth (DB Close, 18 years, 149 days the one, very notable exception to this policy).

The following English XI fielded in the Nottingham Test versus Australia, June 1972, whilst I’m not 100% certain, would come very close to being their oldest-ever Test team (only two players on the right side of 30!). Quite appropriately, the extremely popular English TV Series, Dad’s Army, was still in production at the time.

(Name in batting order & age at the time)
Luckhurst, 33
Edrich, 35
Parfitt, 35
Smith (Mike), 39
D’Oliveira, 40
Gifford, 32
Greig, 25
Knott, 26
Illingworth, 40
Snow, 30
Lever, 31

Aggregate age: 366 Ave: 33.27 yrs.

This “high score” shades the English side of the 1st Test (Nott.) v West Indies 1976: 353/32.10 (with, ironically, a 45y-o Brian Close), and the English side of the 3rd Test (Melb.) v Aust. 1974-75: 349/31.72 (with quadragenarians Titmus & Cowdrey).



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About Pagan Maven

Outside left for Gorky Park Cadres U12s; Kremlin Gremlins U14s - Stalinovskiy Vodka Juvenile League. Ricky Lenin B & F medal winner 1966-67. Mascot for Felchester Rovers senior side in the Q-League. Bolshevikskaya Primary School cadet sports journalist covering the USSR V Australia international amateur boxing tournament "From Russia With Glove" (Melbourne 1963). Emeritus Left Winger, Trotskiy Collectivisation Colts.


  1. Thesaurus Rex says

    True enough … the selectors in England historically have encouraged some players to carry on past the “retirement age”! Wilf Rhodes was 52 when he hung up his test boots, WG Grace was rising 51, as was George Gunn. And they’re were quite a few that kept playing for England until well into their mid to late 40s.

    So Misbah ul-Haq (42 next May) has got quite some way to go still if he wants to catch those guys!

  2. Peter Warrington says

    Presume b Wood was significantly younger? P parfitt them were the days. I think knotty and p lever both made it thru to 35 as well. Whereas our champs were going broke and generally pulling the plug in their early 30s, or even late 20s eg Cowper.

    It does underline the performance of the Chappells Marsh Stacky Lillee and Massie, with an r Edwards cameo, in drawing away against such a credentialed team.

  3. Mick Jeffrey says

    I reckon the Australian teams for the first 2 Ashes tests in 2006/2007 would have to go close.

    M.J.Clarke (only bat under 30)
    B.Lee (nudging 30)

  4. Dave Brown says

    By my count there’s 9 blokes the right side of 30 in that English team

  5. You’re right Mick … very close indeed! That ‘senior’ 2006-7 Aust XI with almost all 30-somethings had a aggregate age of 362 yrs & an ave of 32.91, just shy of the ’72 English team’s 366/33.27

  6. and if they’d kept Hodgey instead of Pup, they would have just a bout cracked it I reckon (he was almost 32.)

  7. and even Symonds, who was the refresher new blood, was 31. the end of times, really, very silly selection policy in my view, then and now, cost us years, just to “avenge” a series loss. Logan’s Run etc

  8. Didn’t B Wood make his debut at the Oval in that series? I;m sure he was aged 28. He scored 90 on his debut; pretty certain he never made a test ton.


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