As Collins Obuya retires after a 22-year career at the highest level, here are the longest careers in men’s international cricket.

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Collins Obuya had played his first ODI in 2001. He finally retired in 2024, after playing official international matches for 22 years 221 days, one of the longest stints in the history of men’s cricket.

Cricketers with the longest careers in men’s internationals:

Wilfred Rhodes (England – 30 years 315 days)

Rhodes was 52 years 165 days when his name was included in the team sheet for one final time, in 1930. He remains the oldest to play Test cricket – a record that is unlikely to be broken. Since he had debuted in 1899, it was the fifth calendar decade of his Test career. His longevity was well-earned: his 4,204 wickets remain a record in first-class cricket.

Brian Close (England – 26 years 356 days)

At 18 years 149 days, Close was the youngest English male Test cricketer for decades until Rehan Ahmed beat his record by 23 days. Nearly 27 years later in 1976, he was still around, being battered and bruised but guarding his wicket against an intimidating Michael Holding.

Frank Woolley (England – 25 years 13 days)

The first non-Yorkshireman on this list, Woolley debuted in 1909 but continued to play for more than a decade after the Great War got over. Like Rhodes, his longevity was a product of his near-absurd first-class numbers: he still has the second-most runs, and is the only cricketer with the 50,000 run-2,000 wicket-1,000 catch treble.

George Headley (West Indies – 24 years 10 days)

The first black man to lead the West Indies – albeit for one Test match – Headley’s greatest days came between the Wars, and by the end-1940s his career was as good as over. But such was his stature that he was recalled for the Jamaica Test match of 1953/54: he remains the oldest West Indies Test cricketer.

Sachin Tendulkar (India – 24 years 1 day)

Among Indians, Tendulkar was the youngest and, for sixty years, the oldest to play men’s Test cricket. As a result, he still holds nearly every possible “most” in batting in both Tests and ODIs – runs, hundreds, fifties, even matches…

John Traicos (South Africa and Zimbabwe – 23 years 48 days)

Greek by origin and born in Egypt, Traicos played Test matches for South Africa in 1969/70 before they were ostracised by the cricketing community. He played for and led Zimbabwe in the World Cup, was part of their first Test XI in 1992/93. He settled in a fifth country – Australia.

Jack Hobbs (England – 22 years 233 days)

Hobbs still has the most first-class runs and hundreds, and held the corresponding records in Test cricket when he retired, in 1930. He still holds every possible aggregate Test batting record after turning 40 – 2,440 runs, eight hundreds…

Collins Obuya (Kenya – 22 years 221 days)

Obuya retired after playing in the Ghana 2023/24 African Games. His career is the longest among anyone to have debuted after 1990; or not hailing from a Full Member nation.


  • Shoaib Malik, an active cricketer, had made his international debut more than 24 years ago, on October 14, 1999.
  • James Anderson has the longest career among active international cricketers. He debuted on December 15, 2002.
  • Not all contests between nations get international status. For example, Alejandro Ferguson of Argentina played a T20I on October 2023, nearly three decades after he played an ICC Trophy match against the UAE in February 1994. None of his pre-2019 games got “international” status. The above list does not include such instances.