Test cricket arguably remains the purest form of the game and has remained so since its advent in 1877. Despite the extravagant nature of the limited-overs cricket, Test cricket has its distinct place in the purists’ hearts and is not likely to vanish anytime soon. Hence, most upcoming cricketers would like to play the longest format and accumulate as many records as possible.
As such, there have been a plethora of players who have come and gone and conquered Test cricket by accomplishing innumerable records. While a considerable number of players get to represent their country in Test cricket, only a few manage to play an enormous amount of Tests.
Such players’ longevity and commitment to red-ball cricket, despite the lucrative nature of white-ball cricket, often act as an example for their fellow teammates to maintain the fitness levels required to stay longer.
We take a look at the List Of Country Wise Active Cricketers With The Most Test Caps:
Zimbabwe – Brendan Taylor – 33:
Former Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor is perhaps the best batsman the country has now. Since his debut in 2004, Zimbabwe has looked up to Brendan Taylor to take their team forward and restore the same competitive spirit. While Taylor has done outstandingly well across formats, the national side continues to struggle.
Amongst active Zimbabwean cricketers, the 35-year old is the most-capped Test cricketer with 33 Tests. In 33 Tests, the right-handed batsman has mustered 2147 runs at 34.63 with six hundreds and a high score of 171. Taylor is also on the brink of 200 ODIs for Zimbabwe, being only one short of it.
West Indies – Kraigg Brathwaite – 69:
West Indies Test captain Kraigg Brathwaite has been a constant fixture in the team’s top-order for quite a few years now. But Kraigg Brathwaite is yet to reach his full potential and remains inconsistent in the format. Nevertheless, Brathwaite, who recently replaced Jason Holder as the skipper, has featured in 69 Tests.
Brathwaite has scored 4135 runs in 69 Tests at 33.08. The 28-year old has mustered nine Test tons and has the best score of 212. The right-handed batsman began his captaincy tenure with a drawn series at home against Sri Lanka, but face a significant challenge to keep the series alive at present against South Africa.
South Africa – Dean Elgar – 68:
South Africa’s newest Test skipper Dean Elgar is one of the best and consistent Test openers today. Dean Elgar succeeded Faf Du Plessis, who retired from Test cricket a few months ago. The 34-year old, who debuted in Tests back in 2012 against Australia, is the most-capped player in the format for the Proteas presently.
The southpaw has so far featured in 68 Tests and scored 4260 runs, with 13 centuries and a best of 199. He began his full-time captaincy tenure by leading South Africa to a crushing win over the West Indies. Also, as a senior player, there is plenty of responsibility on the veteran to lead from the front.
Sri Lanka – Angelo Mathews – 90:
Sri Lanka’s Angelo Mathews had grown into one of the promising all-rounders until recent injuries and form concerns have threatened to derail his career. Angelo Mathews made his Test debut back in Galle against Pakistan in July 2009 and has played 90 matches so far. The right-handed batsman has scored 6236 runs at 44.86 with 11 centuries.
The 33-year old’s best Test score of 200* came against Zimbabwe in January 2020 in Harare. But Mathews’ seam-bowling has only earned him 33 Test wickets at 53.51, with a solitary four-wicket haul. The former Sri Lankan captain’s most recent performances have been appalling as he has not passed 30 in his last four Test innings, but reached three figures in the innings before that.
Azhar Ali – Pakistan – 87:
Azhar Ali has been a constant fixture in Pakistan’s Test line-up since his first appearance at Lord’s against Australia in 2010. At number three, Azhar Ali has often weathered the storm and blunted the new-ball threat, as Pakistan has struggled to find a stable opening partnership. In August 2020 against England, the veteran became the fifth batsman from Pakistan to cross 6000 Test runs.
Overall, the 36-year old has 6579 runs in 87 Tests at 43.28 with 18 centuries. The former Pakistan captain is also amongst the four batsmen from his country to score a triple hundred. With Ali retired from limited-overs cricket, he remotely stays in contention to overtake Younis Khan’s 10099 runs to become Pakistan’s highest run-getter in the whites.
Ross Taylor – New Zealand – 107:
Former New Zealand skipper Ross Taylor makes it to the list, having grown into a highly dependable batsman. Ross Taylor has held New Zealand’s middle-order in Test and ODI cricket together for more than a decade now and crafted several match-winning knocks. In 2020, the 37-year old passed Stephen Fleming’s aggregate of 7172 Test runs to become New Zealand’s highest run-getter.
Overall, Taylor has 7507 runs in 107 Tests, averaging a healthy 45.83 and hammered 19 centuries. The right-handed batsman’s highest score of 290 came against Australia at the WACA in Perth in 2015. The veteran has clarified he does not plan to retire anytime soon and would be seen in action in the next couple of days when New Zealand battles India in the World Test Championship final.
Ishant Sharma – India – 107:
Veteran seam bowler Ishant Sharma is the leader of the pace attack and the most experienced member of India’s Test team amongst active players. In 101 Tests, Ishant Sharma has picked 303 wickets at 32.28 and is amongst the most improved seamers in the last two years.
The 32-year old came into the limelight when he bowled one of the best spells in Tests to Ricky Ponting. Having delivered admirable performances in the intra-squad practice match, the right-arm seamer would be keen to hand the World Test Championship India in the upcoming final against New Zealand in Southampton.
James Anderson – England – 162:
James Anderson is one of the finest seamers to have played in Test cricket and has etched his greatness in the format. James Anderson’s longevity for a fast bowler is remarkable and is the highest wicket-taker by a speedster in Test cricket. He made his debut in 2003 against Zimbabwe and took a fifer in that game.
James Anderson, aged 38, having played a jaw-dropping 162 Tests, became the most-capped player for its nation, surpassing Alastair Cook’s 161. Anderson is also the highest wicket-taker in Test cricket amongst pacemen, taking 617 scalps at 26.67 after debuting 18 years ago. He likely remains destined to play till 40.
Bangladesh – Mushfiqur Rahim – 74:
Though Bangladesh has taken rapid strides in Test cricket in recent times, they are yet to reach their full potential in the format. Bangladesh, who played its first Test in 2000 against India, has secured only 14 Test victories so far and the most they have emerged victorious is against Zimbabwe with seven. As a good measure, Bangladesh has beaten Australia and England once each in the last five years.
Meanwhile, keeper-batsman Mushfiqur Rahim is their most-capped player in Test cricket so far, with 74 Test appearances. The 34-year old has carried the hopes of the Test team for years now via his dogged display, scoring 4685 runs at 37.18, laced with seven centuries. Rahim’s best score of 219 came against Zimbabwe in Dhaka back in November 2018.
Nathan Lyon – 100 – Australia:
Nathan Lyon has been Australia’s first-choice spinner in the longest format for an extended time now. Nathan Lyon was one of the few bowlers to achieve his first wicket off his first ball in Test cricket when he got rid of Kumar Sangakkara in 2011. While his recent Test performances have been a little underwhelming, the veteran surely has a lot to offer.
Nathan Lyon has so far featured in 100 Tests and is only one short of 400 wickets, taking those at 32.12 apiece. The 33-year old has 33 fifers and eight ten-wicket hauls. But Lyon has not found as much success in the limited-overs arena so far. The off-spinner would be next seen in action during the one-off Test against Afghanistan at home, followed by the Ashes.
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