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Brothers in teams, with bat and ball


Brothers_Cricket_PlayersI watched the brothers Hope bat at Kingston in the 5th ODI against India, the older one falling short of what would have been a very well-deserved half-century, and the younger one scoring a sedate 51. They notched up close to 100 runs, accounting for a little under 50% of the team’s score. The Scorpio brothers, if I could call them so – Kyle and Shai, both November-born. The younger of the two, Shai, debuted in Test cricket first, before playing his first ODI. The older, on the other hand, has just forayed into the national team, starting off with the ODI series against India.

You would at once recall Irfan Pathan (younger) and Yusuf Pathan (older), who mirror the Hopes in this regard. The Pathans though are half-brothers like the Bravos – Dwayne and Darren, the former an ODI/T20 specialist and the latter a Test batsman in the mould of his illustrious uncle, Brian Charles Lara.
When we talk of brothers in arms, we would refer to those who played together in Tests and/or ODIs and/or T20s or even those who were never part of the same playing XI. However, digging into all the details will be beyond the scope of this piece. For the sake of brevity and reader-interest retention, there will be omissions which many readers may spot easily.

Right on top, for two reasons, we have the ‘Wah-wah’ Waughs. Reason number one – Steve scored 10,000 plus runs in Test cricket, while Mark scored 8000-plus. Reason number two – they are not just brothers in arms, but also twins in arms. Mark started and Steve followed. ‘The good news is that Mark made it and the bad news is that I did not,’ attributed to Steve Waugh is cricketing folklore.

Back in the 1970s, one Mr. Surinder Amarnath scored a century on debut for India against New Zealand. In the playing eleven there was another Amarnath who was playing his second Test match – Mohinder, the younger brother. Mohinder went on to play more Tests and ODIs, while the older brother got a raw deal. Mohinder too, as we know, had to keep making comebacks in his career, which he did with admirable and inspiring grit. A third brother, Rajinder, could not make it big. 

The Chappells of Australia mirror the Amarnaths of India. Mohinder’s father Lala Amarnath played Test cricket for India, whereas Vic Richardson, who played for the Aussies way back in the beginning of the 20th century, was the grandfather of Ian, Greg and Trevor Chappell. All three brothers played for Australia, but almost similar to the Amarnaths, the middle brother Greg stood out, while Trevor the youngest (notorious for the underarm bowling he once tried) did not make it as big as his two elder brothers.

Geoff Marsh’s sons Mitchell and Shaun have played together, while Shane Lee and his brother Brett Lee have played 17 ODIs together for Australia. Harking back to the first-ever Test match (15th of March 1877) played between Australia and England, brothers Ned and Dave Gregory were part of the Aussie XI. Charles Bannerman – the Aussie who scored the very first run and the very first century in Test cricket – would later play alongside his brother Alexander in what was Charles’ last Test match and Alexander’s first.

Another famous pair of brothers who would perhaps have done more than what the Waughs later did, if Apartheid had not played spoilsport, were the Pollocks – Peter the older and Graeme the younger, of South Africa. Peter’s son Shaun later went on to captain the Proteas. More recently, the Proteas had the Kirstens (Peter and Gary) and the Morkels (Morne and Albie).

Among the Pakistani brothers whose careers overlapped, we can think of Hanif, Mushtaq and Sadiq (Mohammed), Wasim and Rameez (Raja), and Kamran, Adnan and Umar (Akmal). Hanif’s last Test was Sadiq’s first. The end of elder brother Wasim Raja’s career almost coincided with the beginning of Rameez’s. Whenever both were part of the playing XI, they followed one another in the batting order. 

Moving over to New Zealand, Dayle and Richard Hadlee come to mind, and perhaps before them, Jeff and Martin Crowe. And more recently, the McCullums graced the scene – keeper-captain-batsman Brendon and all-rounder Nathan.

Three brothers with the initials WG, EM and GF played in the same match for England against Australia in 1880. Their surname – Grace. Then, there were the Holliokes – Adam and Ben – who debuted in Test cricket for England in the same match, as the Gregorys had done for Australia in 1877. The Irish have the O’Brien brothers – Kevin and Niall, who have been playing alongside each other in ODIs and T20s…and perhaps soon also Test cricket? 

If Dave and Ned Gregory’s debuts coincided with Australia’s debut in Test cricket, brothers Wazir and Nazir Ali were part of the Indian XI in the Test match which kicked off on the 25th of June 1932. CS Nayudu made his debut in 1934 under the captaincy of his older brother CK Nayudu, who was 19 years his senior.

Back to where we started, with the Hopes and the hope that they would be playing a part in the resurgence of West Indian cricket. When Kyle got out and the Windies could not capitalize on the good start, Shai must have thought to himself, ‘O brother, where art thou?’ 

Before I end, here is a non-trivial trivium – Three pairs of brothers played in the same Test for the same team in 1997. Who were they and which country did they represent? Give your answers below.


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G Venkatesh (born 1972) is a senior lecturer in Energy and Environment, at Karlstad University in S...

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