10 family connections in cricket you probably didn't know about
- An exclusive look at the familial ties between some of the most famous cricketers of all-time.
- Did you know that Ajay Jadeja hails from a royal family with incredible cricketing heritage?
One of the most common adages in the game is 'Cricket runs in the family'. While the simultaneous presence of popular brothers and father-son duos have been documented extensively across the globe, there are also numerous other types of relationships between plenty of accomplished cricketers.
Those bonds have not quite gained the same attention as the public relations.
Here are ten such familial connections between some of the most famous cricketers to grace the game.
#10 Sunil Gavaskar and Gundappa Viswanath
During the 70s, the ubiquitous debate in Indian cricket circles surrounded Sunil Gavaskar and Gundappa Viswanath. Opinions at the time were always divided as to who was the better batsman. While many felt that the former was technically peerless, some pointed to the latter's contributions in matches won.
Aside from being the two batting stalwarts of Indian cricket for a lengthy period, there is also another bond which connects the two icons. Viswanath is married to Gavaskar's sister Kavita. The Mumbaikar's respect for his former teammate can be discerned from the fact that he named his son Rohan Jaivishwa Gavaskar.
While the Rohan part was Sunil's homage to the iconic Rohan Kanhai, the legendary batsman paid tribute to ML Jaisimha and Viswanath as well.
#9 Brian Lara and Darren Bravo
When Darren Bravo burst on to the international arena during an ODI against India at Kingston in 2009, he made the onlookers sit up and take notice. From the high backlift to the graceful cuts, the left-hander appeared to be a carbon-copy of the seemingly perfect Brian Lara.
Maybe the astonishing similarity in the two left-handers' style of batting arose from their familial ties. Apart from being the half-brother of all-rounder and fellow West Indies teammate Dwayne Bravo, Darren is also the first cousin of Lara.
#8 Babar Azam and Akmal Family
In recent times, the Akmal clan has to be one of the most recognisable families in the cricket community. Kamran, Adnan and Umar have all represented Pakistan in countless games across all three formats. Remarkably, a fourth international cricketer has emerged from the same family.
Babar Azam, Pakistan's biggest batting hope in decades, is the cousin of the three Akmal brothers. Even though he does not possess comparable wicket-keeping skills, the 22-year old holds an impressive batting average of 53.88 from 31 ODIs. Back in their formative years, it must have been some cricket game in the Akmal backyard. It is also worth noting that Umar is the son-in-law of former Pakistani leg-spinner Abdul Qadir.
#7 Alec Stewart and Mark Butcher
In what was one of the most sordid and much-publicised tales in English cricket, Mark Butcher's personal life was quite eventful. The left-handed batsman married Judy, sister of his Surrey and England teammate Alec Stewart as well as daughter of erstwhile Test opener Micky. Things seemed to be progressing smoothly for Butcher until his extramarital affair took his marriage to breaking point.
During the same period, Butcher also found himself enduring a tumultuous time on the field. Down and out, he picked himself up and worked his way back into form. His unbeaten 173 in the 2001 Headingley Test against Ashes rivals Australia was a testament to his unyielding will. In a way, it was poetic that Judy expressed ecstasy in her husband's monumental innings.
#6 Ajay Jadeja and Nawanagar Royal Family
Not many would know that Ajay Jadeja's birth name was Ajaysinhji Jadeja. Hailing from the royal family of Nawanagar whose exploits in cricket left a far-reaching impression, the right-hander represented India in 15 Tests, and 196 ODIs. With his versatile batting, he was a vital cog in India's ODI team during the 90s.
He is related to the likes of KS Ranjitsinhji and KS Duleepsinhji, who have prestigious Indian tournaments named in their honour. While Ranji is widely credited as the inventor of leg-glance, Duleep's late-cut has stood the test of time.
#5 Mahendra Nagamootoo and Rohan Kanhai/Alvin Kallicharan
Born into a Tamil-origin family in Guyana, Mahendra Nagamootoo was a serviceable leg-spinner for West Indies during the early 2000s. Unlike his more illustrious uncles Rohan Kanhai and Alvin Kallicharan, he played predominantly as a bowler.
Nagamootoo's leg-spin fetched him 12 wickets from 5 Tests, and 18 scalps from 24 ODIs. His brother Vishal also played first-class cricket for Guyana.
#4 Yashpal Sharma and Chetan Sharma
There was undoubtedly more to Chetan Sharma's career than the ignominious last-ball six by Javed Miandad. While his splendid hat trick against New Zealand in 1987 was the first such effort in World Cup history, the right-armer's prodigious swing bowling also played a crucial part in India's memorable 2-0 victory in the 1986 Test series on English soil.
Chetan's big-match temperament could have come from familial ties as his uncle Yashpal played an instrumental role in India's game-changing 1983 World Cup triumph by scoring a crucial 61 against a potent England attack in the semi-final.
#3 Darren Lehmann and Craig White
Even though they shared a personal connection, Darren Lehmann and Craig White often found themselves on opposite camps. The Australian all-rounder married White's sister Andrea upon gaining acquaintance during his County stint with Yorkshire.
The duo crossed paths six times at international level, and Lehmann's intimidating Australian outfit trumped White's England team on every one of those occasions. However, White can draw some comfort from the fact that he dismissed his brother-in-law thrice.
#2 Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah
While it is often said that there are neither friends nor enemies upon entering the field, captaining a side containing a family member can prove to be a tricky experience. Bangladesh skipper Mushfiqur Rahim has experienced such a feeling as teammate Mahmudullah is also his brother-in-law.
Following Mahmudullah's poor sequence of scores in Tests, there were nagging rumours that he was in the side due to his link with the Bangladesh captain. On the other hand, the spin all-rounder's exploits in the limited-overs formats stand as vindication of his white-ball prowess.
#1 Mitchell Starc and Alyssa/Ian Healy
When Alyssa Healy got hitched to fast bowler Mitchell Starc, the ensuing headline was inevitable. "Healy is a keeper" screamed several news outlets even as Australian cricket's star couple walked down the aisle. It was metaphorical on multiple levels.
Alyssa, who is the niece of veteran gloveman Ian Healy, keeps wickets for Australian women's team. Aside from her performances for the Southern Stars, she has also made guest appearances in the commentary box during the Big Bash League. One wonders if cricket features prominently during dinner in the Healy-Starc household.Published 23 Sep 2017, 14:45 IST