Cricket is supposed to be becoming a young man’s game. The punishing endeavours of a day in the dirt; hours spent in the gym trying to achieve peak condition; and the adaptability needed to perform to the modern requirements with both bat and ball in theory should make it harder for those nearing the end of their playing careers.
Yet the opening weeks of the season have proved that notion to be untrue, as age is defied and the calls from creaking body parts are resisted. With the leading run-scorer in the top division of the Specsavers County Championship and wicket-taker in Division Two around 40-years-old, we take a look at those golden oldies that are still delivering the goods on the domestic scene.
Considering all his achievements, the move to spend the final few years of his career playing four-day cricket in England came as a surprise to many. But we’re fortunate he did make that choice. For The King has brought the glamour of a silver screen star to the shires. If his suave, debonair character doesn’t draw you in, the cover drives surely prevent you from looking anywhere else. And there have been a lot of them to see so far this summer. No one has scored more runs in Division One, or centuries. His four back-to-back Championship hundreds were the first such achievement for Surrey since 2002. He announced he will retire from first-class cricket in September, so don’t miss out. Go watch one of the all-time greats at a county ground near you.
It speaks highly of Darren Stevens that opposition fans relish his dismissal more than almost any other. So destructive and irritating his performances often prove to be for those that come up against Kent, that seeing the second-oldest player in England trudge off brings supporters from other counties a moment of solace. That feeling of relief has been more meaningful than ever this season, with Stevens hitting almost 400 runs at a strike-rate of 88.19 in the Championship. He’s also claimed 24 wickets – the most in Division Two. Oh, and he hit his one-day career-best (147) this summer. Good luck to the clubs facing Kent in the coming months.
When Marcus Trescothick made his first-class debut for Somerset, four members of the team he played with last week against Warwickshire weren’t even born, including captain Tom Abell. Those youngsters watched on though, as Trescothick leapt around the field like a young gazelle and helped lead the side to a draw. He scored over 150 runs in the match, breaking Somerset’s all-time century record and scoring his 25,000th run first-class in the process. Here’s to many more years of the same.
Brigadier Block? Not a chance. Durham’s talisman has still got it and is belting the ball around with the best of them. His epic innings against Notts Outlaws to ensure Durham a thrilling last-over win, where he scored 73 off 47 balls, exemplified his tenacity and desire. More in demonstrated his experience to marshal a youthful side to victory in difficult circumstances. They were after all 2-8 inside three overs.
They say you become more stubborn as you get older, as your outlook becomes entrenched. But for Shivnarine Chanderpaul, he has always viewed his time at the crease through an obdurate prism. Three Championship matches. Three hundred and three runs. Eight hundred and twenty one minutes. As day turns to night, somerwhere in the world Chanderpual grinds out runs. At the moment, and to the a grateful Red Rose crowd, he's doing so for Lancashire. And his performances could have a big say on where they finish in the County Championship this season.