Peter Pollock and Shaun Pollock

Father's Day: Fathers and sons in Test cricket

Elevens

Hit For Six!
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A team of Test cricketers whose sons followed in their footsteps and played at the top level.

1. Len Hutton (c)
Hutton broke Wally Hammond’s record for the highest ever Test score in just his sixth Test, hitting 364 against Australia at The Oval in 1938, and the Yorkshireman went on to have an illustrious international career, scoring 19 centuries and captaining England with distinction.

His son Richard, a seam-bowling all-rounder, didn’t have the same impact on international cricket but did play five Test matches for England in 1971, scoring 58 not out on debut against Pakistan. He also represented a World XI side that toured Australia in 1971/72 and finished his career with more than 600 first-class wickets.

Hutton on his way to a world-record Test score of 364 in 1938
Hutton on his way to a world-record Test score of 364 in 1938


Richard’s son, Ben, a left-handed opener, also enjoyed a successful professional career with Middlesex.

2. Hanif Mohammad (wk)

Hanif passed away at the age of 81 in August 2016 and the outpouring of grief in Pakistan showed how much he meant to his country.

Renowned for his powers of concentration and rock-solid technique, Hanif still holds the record for the longest innings in Test history – 337 in 970 minutes against West Indies in 1958. A year later, he scored 499 for Karachi, the highest first-class score until Brian Lara made 501 not out for Warwickshire in 1994.

Three of his brothers – Wazir, Mushtaq and Sadiq – played for Pakistan, while another, Raees, was told the night before a Test match that he would be selected only to be left out the following morning.

The influence of the Mohammad family continued through to the next generation, with Hanif’s son Shoaib playing 45 Tests and scoring seven centuries for Pakistan as they made their mark on the world stage in the 1980s.

Hanif takes the wicket-keeping gloves in our team; something he did regularly at first-class level and on a few occasions in Test cricket.

3. George Headley

The Second World War and West Indies’ sparse fixture list during his career restricted Headley to just 22 Test matches but he demonstrated himself to be one of the finest batsmen ever to have graced the game.

The Panama-born right-hander scored 10 Test centuries, including a spell-binding 270 not out against England in 1935, and his average of 60.83 is only bettered by Don Bradman, Adam Voges and Graeme Pollock among players to have completed their careers.

Headley hits out at The Oval in 1939
Headley hits out at The Oval in 1939


“I recognised quite early that you can’t have two geniuses – father and son – in one family,” said George’s son Ron, a left-handed opening batsman. But Headley Jr nonetheless had a successful first-class career, helping Worcestershire win the English County Championship in 1964 and 1965 before making his Test debut in the twilight of his career, playing two matches against England in 1973.

Ron’s son Dean, a right-arm fast bowler, also played at the highest level, featuring in 15 Tests and 13 ODIs for England between 1996 and 1999 before injury curtailed his career. The Headleys make the record books by virtue of being the only family to have had three generations play Test cricket. 

4. Everton Weekes

Following Headley in our batting order is another West Indian, the thrilling stroke-maker Everton Weekes. Alongside fellow Barbadians, Clyde Walcott and Frank Worrell, Weekes was a leading light in the formidable West Indies side of the 1940s and 50s.

He rose to stardom after hitting five centuries in consecutive Test innings in 1948 – a sequence which hasn’t been repeated – and will be remembered as one of the finest batsmen the Caribbean has ever produced.

His son David Murray, an agile wicket-keeper, also represented the West Indies, playing 19 Tests and 10 ODIs between 1973 and 1982. The personal highlight of Murray’s career came during the 1978/79 tour of India when he scored 66 opening the batting in Kolkata (then Calcutta) to help rescue a draw in testing conditions.

He would have represented West Indies many more times were it not for personal issues and the presence of his namesake Deryck Murray, who was regarded as the world’s premier stumper of his time.

5. Colin Cowdrey

Christened with the initials MCC by his cricket-obsessed father Ernest (who played a solitary first-class game in 1926), Michael Colin Cowdrey went on to become the first cricketer to play 100 Test matches and finished his England career with 22 centuries – a national record until Alastair Cook surpassed it in 2012.

Colin Cowdrey playing cricket with his family in 1970
Colin Cowdrey playing cricket with his family in 1970


In a Test career spanning 21 years, Cowdrey captained England on 27 occasions and his son Chris emulated him, albeit for a considerably shorter period. Having played five Test matches with little success against India in 1984/85, the Kent all-rounder was unexpectedly handed the captaincy in the midst of a series against West Indies which England would go on to lose 4-0.

He lasted just one match in the job before being axed after a 10-wicket thrashing at Headingley and never played for his country again.

Chris’ younger brother Graham enjoyed a long career with Kent, while his son Fabian also represented the county before retiring at the age of 24 to pursue other interests. 

6. Nawab of Pataudi Sr

The Nawab of Pataudi – Iftikhar Ali Khan Pataudi – is the only cricketer to have played at Test level for England and India.

Born in the Punjab and educated in Oxford, he scored 102 on debut for England in Sydney in 1932 but left the tour after two Tests due to a dispute with captain Douglas Jardine over his controversial ‘bodyline’ tactics, whereby Australia’s batsmen were peppered with short-pitched bowling at their body.

Pataudi played one more Test for England in 1934 before switching his allegiance to the country of his birth, later captaining India with little success on the 1946 tour of England.

His son Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi enjoyed a more distinguished Test career for India, taking over the national captaincy at the tender age of 21 and driving them on to unprecedented levels of success.

Despite being involved in a car crash that impaired his sight throughout his career, Pataudi scored six Test centuries, including a career-best 203 not out against England in Delhi in 1934. 

7. Lala Amarnath

A centurion on debut against England in 1933 in India’s first home Test match, Lala Amarnath’s career statistics don’t do justice to his immense talent.

Were it not for disagreements with captains and the Indian board he would have played many more than 24 Tests but he is nonetheless regarded as his country’s first great batsman. Amarnath was also a skilled medium-pacer, taking eight wickets versus England at Old Trafford in 1946.

Three of his sons played at first-class level, with two of those representing India. Left-hand batsman Surinder played 10 Tests – scoring a century on debut to emulate his father – and three ODIs between 1976 and 1978, while Mohinder represented his country on more than 150 occasions and was an influential figure in India’s 1983 ICC Cricket World Cup-winning campaign.

8. Lance Cairns

A hard-hitting lower-order batsman and unorthodox seamer with a booming inswinger, Lance Cairns was known for his unusual ‘Excalibur’ bat with which he clubbed Australia for a 21-ball fifty in 1983 – at the time the fastest half-century in ODI history.

Lance and Chris Cairns on New Zealand TV show 'This Is Your Life' in 1999
Lance and Chris Cairns on New Zealand TV show 'This Is Your Life' in 1999


Cairns played 43 Tests and 78 ODIs and took 10 wickets in New Zealand’s first ever Test win on English soil, at Headingley in 1983.

His son Chris, a fast-bowling all-rounder, was also known for clearing the boundary ropes. In his 62-Test career he struck 87 sixes – a Test record when he retired in 2004. At the time of writing, his 218 Test wickets put him fourth on New Zealand’s all-time list behind Sir Richard Hadlee, Daniel Vettori and Chris Martin.

9. Peter Pollock

Alongside his younger brother Graeme, Peter Pollock was one of the leading lights in an exceptionally talented South African side who had their careers at the top level cut short by their country’s ban from international cricket. 

Pollock, a rapid bowler and useful lower-order batsman, took 116 wickets in 28 Tests including a 10-wicket match haul in a famous victory over England at Trent Bridge in 1965, with his brother also starring with a superb first-innings century.

Peter’s son Shaun, a seam-bowling all-rounder like his father, played 108 Tests and 303 ODIs for South Africa between 1995 and 2008 and captained his country from 2000 to 2003. He retired with 421 Test wickets – a South African record at the time of writing.

10. Fred Tate

A medium-paced off-spinner, Tate had an inauspicious Test career, playing just one match against Australia in 1902 and dropping a crucial catch in a three-run defeat at Old Trafford.

However, in the domestic game he was regarded as one of the most skilled bowlers of his time, taking 1331 first-class wickets for Sussex between 1887 and 1902.

Fred Tate's solitary Test match was memorable for all the wrong reasons
Fred Tate's solitary Test match was memorable for all the wrong reasons


Fred later said that his greatest ambition was that his son should play for England and make up for his fielding blunder and Maurice did that in some style, taking 155 wickets in 39 Tests between 1924 and 1935.

On the 1924/25 tour of Australia, Tate Jr took 38 wickets, beating Arthur Mailey’s previous record of 36 in a Test series, and was one of the most popular figures in the game until his death in 1956.

11. Jeff Jones

A left-arm fast bowler who took 44 wickets in 15 Tests for England, Jones took a career-best 6/118 against Australia in 1966 but will perhaps be better remembered for blocking out the final over of the 1967/68 tour of the West Indies which gave his country a famous series win.

The Glamorgan seamer took 511 first-class wickets and would have claimed many more but for an elbow injury which ended his career at the age of 27.

His son Simon, a right-arm paceman, also struggled with a succession of injury problems which restricted him to 18 Tests between 2002 and 2005. He was an integral member of England’s four-pronged pace attack in the 2005 Ashes, taking 18 wickets at 21 in an unforgettable series.

Sadly, the fourth match of that series at Trent Bridge was Jones’ last appearance in an England shirt.

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