Brotherly love sets the 2011 World Cup alight

Kersi Meher-Homji Columnist

By Kersi Meher-Homji, Kersi Meher-Homji is a Roar Expert

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    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!

    Kersi Meher-Homji
    Kersi Meher-Homji

    Kersi is an author of 13 cricket books including The Waugh Twins, Cricket's Great All-rounders,Six Appeal and Nervous Nineties. He writes regularly for Inside Cricket and other publications. He has recently finished his new book on Cricket's Conflicts and Controversies, with a foreword by Greg Chappell.

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    The Crowd Says (32)

    • March 9th 2011 @ 8:26am
      sheek said | March 9th 2011 @ 8:26am | ! Report

      Hi Kersi,

      Of course back in 1975, the Windies had first cousins Clive Lloyd & Lance Gibbs. And had there been a world cup in 1971 or 1972, the Windies might also have had another pair of first cousins in Gary Sobers & David Holford.

      Pakistan had first cousins Majid Khan & Imran Khan, while India had brothers-in-law Sunil Gavaskar & Gunduppa Viswanath. Their children would have been first cousins.

      Actually Kersi, that’s perhaps another topic for you – cousins in cricket.

      Trust you are well…..

    • March 9th 2011 @ 8:27am
      Rob McLean said | March 9th 2011 @ 8:27am | ! Report

      Thanks Kersi, I’d wondered about the number of brothers in this World Cup.
      Now with Mr Cricket, there’s enough for a team!

    • March 9th 2011 @ 8:46am
      Brett McKay said | March 9th 2011 @ 8:46am | ! Report

      Kersi, I don’t imagine Kamran Akmal’s detractors have got any quieter after last night, either…

      It’s an interesting topic for us, brothers playing at the top level, but their respective families must be doing backflips of pride!!

      • March 9th 2011 @ 8:03pm
        Jason said | March 9th 2011 @ 8:03pm | ! Report

        Except maybe Mr and Mrs Akmal after last night.

    • March 9th 2011 @ 11:47am
      Kersi Meher-Homji said | March 9th 2011 @ 11:47am | ! Report

      Thanks for your additional info, Sheek, Rob and Brett.
      The 1975 World Cup also included Mohinder Amarnath and Anshuman Gaekwad whose fathers Lala Amarnath and Dattaji Gaekwad had captained India in Tests decades ago.
      The Pakistan team included Majid Khan, the son of Dr Jahangir Khan who had played Tests for India in 1930s. Majid’s cousin Imran Khan represented and skippered Pak with distinction later on including leading them to their only WC win in 1992. Asif Iqbal was the nephew of Indian captain and off-spinner Ghulam Ahmed.

      Forget brotherhood in Test and ODI cricket. What a brotherhood we have in the Roar team! Vinay’s sad and sudden death brought it out with over 80 Roarers expressing their genuine grief at the loss of a ‘brother’.

    • March 9th 2011 @ 3:29pm
      sheek said | March 9th 2011 @ 3:29pm | ! Report


      There is a family in Australian rugby union that produced 3 generations of Wallabies. The patriarch Doug McLean played several tests 1903-05. He produced 4 sons – Doug, Bill, Jack & Bob.

      Doug was a winger like his father in the 1930s. Bill was a backrower in the post WW2 1940s. Jack was a centre who toured NZ in 1946 without playing a test. Bob, another centre, was said to be the most talented brother but injury curtailed his career.

      Ironically, it was Bob who produced two third generation Wallabies in winger Jeff (1971-74) & flyhalf/fullback Paul (1974-82). Also Bill’s son & lock Peter played for the Wallabies 1978-82.

      In cricket, SA have produced father & sons in Dave & Dudley Nourse & Peter & Shaun Pollock. In Pakistan, Hanif Mohammed’s son Shoaib followed him. in NZ, Walter Hadlee was followed by Dayle & Richard. In India, the two great all-rounders Lala Amarnath & Vinoo Mankad both spawned test playing sons. There are of course many other examples.

      But I can’t think of any 3 continuous generations off the top of my head. Do you think there have been any 3 consecutive generations from any country in cricket?

    • March 9th 2011 @ 7:48pm
      Rob McLean said | March 9th 2011 @ 7:48pm | ! Report

      There is definitely a book in the cricketing family tree. Starting with the Graces, moving through to the Gregorys, Harveys, Chappells, Butchers and Waughs, to name a few.
      If I had the time it’s something I’d love to research further.

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