Some Test cricketing nations are more ready to throw young talent into the deep end than others, believing that if you’re talented enough, you’re old enough. Although, each of these five had the exceptional natural ability to earn a Test call-up at such a young age, a long and successful career at the highest level was not guaranteed.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) Board has established a minimum age limit for players who want to play international cricket, which states that they must be 15 years old. Here are some youngest players with their age and year of debut:
10. Hansie Cronje [25 September 1969] [Debut in 1992]
Between 1994 and 2000, Hansie Cronje, South Africa’s cricket captain for 53 Tests and 138 one-day internationals, died on June 1, 2002, at 23.The cargo plane he was traveling in crashed on Cradock Peak in the Outeniqua mountain range on its approach to his hometown, George, in the Western Cape. At the age of 32, he passed away. Hansie Cronje’s revelation two years prior that he collected bribes from bookies to supply intelligence and fix matches revealed the scope of a corruption crisis that cricket officials had blatantly ignored.
9. Jonty Rhodes [born 27 July 1969] [Debut 1992]
Jonty Rhodes is a former Test and One Day International cricketer from South Africa who works as a professional cricket commentator. Between 1992 and 2003, he was a member of the South African cricket team. He was the first South African player to take 100 ODI catches and is regarded as one of the best fielders of all time. Rhodes was born in the South African province of Natal. As a right-handed batsman, he was known for his quickness, but he was also known for his defensive fielding, mainly catching, ground fielding, and throwing from his most common position of backward point. He had effected the ninth-highest amount of run outs in ODI cricket of any fieldsman since the 1999 Cricket World Cup, with the third-highest success rate.
8. Nicky Boje [born 20 March 1973] [Debut 1995]
Mother, father, and all three children in the Boje family have all competed in at least one sport at a provincial or international level. Nicky Boje captained South Africa Schools and was selected as a middle-order batsman for three years. He demonstrated his all-around abilities from an early age, opening the bowling for his school and then switching to left-arm spin in the coach’s direction – because no one else could turn the ball. On the rugby field and the tennis court, he was equally important.
7. Shaun Pollock [born 16 July 1973] [Debut 1996]
Pollock came from a family of cricketing superstars, so it’s no wonder that he became one himself. The junior Pollock, the son of respected Peter Pollock and nephew of the great Graeme Pollock, become one of South Africa’s best all-rounders. After Hansie Cronje’s stunning exit when the match rigging bubble broke in early 2000, Pollock was propelled into the captaincy post. Pollock was left to reconstruct a country that had been left demoralized and in disarray due to its previous captain’s shady dealings.
6. Jacques Kallis [born 16 October 1975] [Debut 1996]
Jacques Henry Kallis is a former cricketer and South African cricket coach. He is a mighty all rounder of all time that cricket ever had. He is primarily regarded as one of the greatest cricketers of all time, as well as South Africa’s best batter. As of 2021, he is the only cricketer to have scored 10,000+ runs and taken 250+ wickets in both formats; he also has 100+ ODI catches. In his Test match career, he performs 13,000+ runs, 290+wickets, and 200 catches.
5. Herschelle Gibbs [born 23 February 1974] [Debut 1996]
Herschelle Gibbs is a South African cricket coach and former player who played all formats for fourteen years. Gibbs, a right-handed batsman who generally opened the batting, became the first player in One Day International (ODI) cricket to knock six consecutive sixes in one over when he did it against the Netherlands in the 2007 Cricket World Cup. Until MS Dhoni broke his record for the highest score in a successful run-chase (175*), he held the highest score in a successful run-chase. He also has a history of six sixes in an over.
4. Makhaya Ntin [born 6 July 1977] [Debut 1998]
In 2000, Ntini returned to the South African team for a tournament in Sharjah. As he bowled with more control, it was evident that he had improved. He was the first South African to take ten wickets at Lord’s in 2003. Ntini’s best performance, though, came against the West Indies in Port of Spain on April 12, 2005, when he claimed 13 wickets for 132 runs. This is still the most wickets a South African cricketer has taken in a Test match.
3. David Miller [born 10 June 1989] [Debut 2010]
David Miller, a hard-hitting left-hander who liked to clear the boundary, coined the expression “If it’s in the arc, it’s out of the park.” Miller is a self-described finisher and gun fielder who is strong off the front and back feet and ready to swing the arms. Miller was a vital member of the Kings XI Punjab team during the IPL. So much so that, despite his lack of experience in the post in South Africa, he was named the franchise’s captain in 2016. In the Africa Cup T20, he led Kwa-Zulu Natal.
2. Kagiso Rabada [born 25 May 1995] [Debut 2014]
On November 5, 2014, Rabada made his Twenty20 International debut for South Africa against Australia. On 10 July 2015, Rabada made his One Day International debut for South Africa against Bangladesh, recording his best figures of 6/16. He became the second player in ODI history to score a hat-trick on debut, behind Taijul Islam. On November 5, 2015, he made his Test debut for South Africa against India. He finished with statistics of 13/144 in the fourth Test of England’s 2015–16 tour of South Africa, helping his team win the game. He became the youngest South African to take a ten-wicket haul in a Test match, and his stats were his team’s second-best ever, trailing only Makhaya Ntini’s 13/132.
1. Paul Adams [born January 20, 1977] [Debut 1995]
As an 18-year-old, Paul Adams made a name for himself with his “frog in a blender” stunt, which enraged England on their 1995-96 tour of South Africa. For at least a year, the action contributed to his growing wicket-tally, as batters were helplessly caught in the blinding glare of the unnatural contortion. However, as the element of surprise had worn off, Adams’ performances for South Africa suffered from a lack of variation, and he made fewer appearances.