The current World Cup shares one striking similarity with the inaugural World Cup in 1975. Both busted with the brotherhood of cricket. In the 1975 World Cup in England, three pairs and a trio of brothers represented their countries.
They were Ian and Greg Chappell from Australia, Mushtaq and Sadiq Mohammad from Pakistan, Hedley and Geoff Howard from New Zealand and Barry, Dayle and Richard Hadlee also from New Zealand.
With the selection of Mike Hussey as a replacement for Doug Bollinger in the Australian Cup squad, there are six sets of brothers in the ongoing World Cup.
They are David and Mike Hussey from Australia, Nathan and Brendon McCullum from New Zealand, Kamran and Umar Akmal from Pakistan, Niall and Kevin O’Brien from Ireland, Collins and David Obuya from Kenya and James and Shem Ngoche, also from Kenya.
The most talked about personality of the World Cup so far is Ireland’s dashing all-rounder Kevin O’Brien.
When England amassed 327 against minnows Ireland last Wednesday, there remained only three certainties in life: death, taxation and a huge win for England.
But Kevin O, O, O, O’Brien had not read the script.
He came to bat with the score at 5-111, with Ireland needing 217 more runs for an impossible win against the Ashes’ holders.
Throwing caution to the wind, he hit 113 runs off 63 balls (strike-rate 179.36) belting 13 fours and 6 sixes, reaching his ton in 50 balls – the fastest century in World Cup. And Ireland won by 3 wickets with 5 balls to spare.
Kevin told Indian journalist Bipin Dani: “Yes, the innings was a bit of a surprise to me because it’s not every day you hit 100 off 50 balls. There aren’t too many bars in Bangalore that stay open past 11, but the hotel was very kind when we got back to our rooms. We had a few beers and a few glasses of champagne to celebrate.”
Nicknamed ‘Paddy’, he played for Kent and Nottinghamshire in the English county championship. His father Brendan was also a first- class cricketer.
Strongly-built Kevin celebrated his birthday on Friday.
Niall, Kevin’s elder brother, is a left-handed wicket-keeper batsman. In their next match against India on Sunday, Niall scored 46 and added 113 runs with skipper William Porterfield for the third wicket after Ireland was 2-9.
About his future plans Kevin says: “Niall and I are open to offers from English county teams even though England is considered the oldest enemy of the Irish!”
Pakistani brothers Kamran and Umar Akmal and New Zealanders Brendon and Nathan McCullum are familiar names to Australians.
Butter-fingered and controversial wicket-keeper batsman Kamran was accused of deliberately dropping catches in the January 2010 Sydney Test. Much is expected from younger brother Umar.
Brendon McCullum is a dashing wicket-keeper batsman who shot to fame with a blistering unbeaten 158 (off 73 balls with 13 sixes and 10 fours) in the first ever IPL match in 2008 for the Kolkata Knight Riders.
The elder brother Nathan is lesser known.
Now to the other brothers of the 2011 World Cup.
The Obuya brothers, Collins and David, have been playing for Kenya in World Cups since 2003. As a leg-spinning all-rounder, Collins Obuya did well in the 2003 World Cup.
He gained a contract with Warwickshire, but soon after his game fell apart
The Ngoche brothers – James and Shem – are also in the Kenya squad to add to the Obuya brotherhood.
Considered a promising off spinner, James Ngoche is on a learning trip in the World Cup. Younger brother Shem is known for his economy rate. Other brothers, Nehemiah and Lameck, and sisters Margaret and Mary, have also represented Kenya.
Mike Hussey joining younger brother David adds stability to the Australian batting line-up.
With so many kiths and kins in the 2011 World Cup all we can say is, oh brother!