Source: http://www.espncricinfo.com/india/content/story/993291.html

Please look at the following

An encounter with 87-year-old Deepak Shodhan, who played three Tests for India in 1952-53, but had the talent and the record to have played many more."

Is the usage of 'to have played many more' correct here? If yes then please tell what the difference is between the following two sentences in this context

  1. but had the talent to play many more

  2. but had the talent to have played many more

Thank you


to have played merely is the past tense of to play. You can't say to played, so you say to have played, using the perfect tense.

It was lucky to know him.

implies "being lucky" and "knowing him" are at the same point on the timeline. On the other hand if you said,

It was lucky to have known him.

it implies "knowing him" happened before "being lucky".

So if he had the talent to have played many more, then it means with the talent he had, it was possible that he played many more "in the far past".

Hope this helps.

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It is correct.

... but had the talent to play many more.

That means that he had enough talent to be able to play many more games in what was the future at the time. That could include now.

... but had the talent to have played many more.

That means that it wasn't a lack of talent that caused him to play as few games as he did.

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Look at this sentence as a variation of

He could have played many more.

Why use "could have played" here instead of "could play"? There is a subtle difference, nicely explained here. In summary: could denotes ability, could have denotes possibility (and I would add: hypothetical possibility, which did not occur in reality).

Going back to the OP, "had the talent to play" would suggest ability and reality, and would be used if he actually played more years. "Had the talent to have played" suggests an unfulfilled possibility - that "playing more" didn't actually happen.

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