Steve Waugh and Mark Waugh

Twins in cricket: Beyond the Waugh brothers

Feature

There are a number of occasions when twins – some identical, some not – have played together in top-flight cricket.

It was back on 5 April 1991 that Mark Waugh joined Steve Waugh, already established in the Australian team, in the playing XI for the Barbados Test on the tour of the Caribbean.

It wasn’t Mark Waugh’s debut, though. He had started out in one-day international cricket in 1988 and, ironically, made his Test debut at his brother’s expense earlier in 1991 in the Adelaide Test against England. But the two had never played together before this.


For the record, Mark scored 20* and 3 while Steve managed 2 and 4* in a 343-run defeat for the tourists.

They eventually played 108 Tests and 214 one-day internationals by each other’s side, were a part of the Test side that won 16 matches in a row between 1999 and 2001 and won the 1999 World Cup together. Overall, they scored 35,025 runs in international cricket between them and picked up 431 wickets.

Here’s a look at a few other prominent cricketing twins.

Eric (L) and Alec Bedser of England
Eric (L) and Alec Bedser of England


Alec and Eric Bedser

Before the Waughs, the Bedsers were probably the best-known twins in the men’s game. The story, perhaps apocryphal, goes that when the two boys were growing up and playing a lot of cricket, they tossed a coin to decide who would bowl fast and who would bowl spin. So Alec became a pacer and Eric a spinner.

Born on 4 July in Reading, the two Bedsers played together for Surrey from 1939, Alec playing first-class cricket till 1960 while Eric continued for two more seasons. Eric, however, never did well enough with his off-spinners to play for England while Alec went on to become one of the legends of the game, playing 51 Tests and picking up 236 wickets with his in-swingers and leg-cutters.

Eric played 457 first-class games and picked up 833 wickets. A good record, certainly, but not when compared to his brother, whose 485 first-class appearances resulted in 1,924 wickets.

Fernie and Rene Shevill

It was the inaugural Test match for women back in December 1934 in Brisbane, and Australia had in their ranks Fernie Blade, the right-arm pacer, and Essie Shevill, the batter. They were sisters – Fernie had changed her surname after marriage.

There were no twins in that game, however, but the very next match saw Rene Shevill, Fernie’s twin, keep wicket for Australia. They were born on 20 August 1910.

Alex (L) and Kate Blackwell of Australia
Alex (L) and Kate Blackwell of Australia


Alex and Kate Blackwell

The Blackwells were not just twins but identical twins and made history when they played for Australia together in an ODI in 2004. The two, born 31 August 1983, went on to win the ICC Women’s World Cup 2005 together. Both were middle-order batters.

Kate was subsequently dropped from the squad in 2008 and has since focused on her career as a physiotherapist. She played four Tests, 41 ODIs and six Twenty20 Internationals, scoring 774 runs overall.

Alex, however, went on to become a legend in Australian women’s cricket, turning out in 12 Tests, 144 ODIs and 95 T20Is, aggregating 5,250 runs. She led Australia to ICC Women’s World T20 glory in 2010 and was a part of the sides that won the 2012 and 2014 World T20s and the World Cup in 2013.

James (L) and Hamish Marshall of New Zealand
James (L) and Hamish Marshall of New Zealand


Hamish and James Marshall

The curly-haired Marshall brothers, born 15 February 1979, become the first identical twins to play Test cricket among men. They played together for New Zealand against Australia at Eden Park in Auckland in 2005.

Hamish went on to play 13 Tests, 66 ODIs and three T20Is between 2000 and 2007, while James, who debuted in that Auckland Test, played seven Tests, 10 ODIs and three T20Is. He last appeared in the New Zealand colours in 2008.

Elizabeth and Rose Signal

The Signal sisters, born 4 May 1962, actually became the first twins to feature in a Test match together, predating the Waughs’ appearance in 1991 by seven years.

This was on New Zealand Women’s tour of England, when the two all-rounders turned out in the first Test at Headingley. Rose didn’t have too good a time, scoring 0 and 8* and failing to pick up a wicket in nine overs. She never played another Test but turned out in six ODIs with modest returns.

Elizabeth also didn’t have a debut to remember. She did not get a chance to bat in the the first innings, scored one run in the second and did not pick up any wickets. However, she went on to play five more Tests and 19 ODIs.

Kyshona and Kycia Knight

West Indies' Knights in shining armour, Kyshona and Kycia are identical in almost every way, apart from the fact that Kyshona is slightly taller. They are the first pair of twins to represent West Indies - Kyshona has played 30 ODIs and 32 T20Is to date, while Kycia currently has 54 ODIs and 42 T20Is to her name – though Anisa and Alisa Mohammed got close – the former is the leading wicket-taker for West Indies Women in international cricket, but the other never progressed beyond playing for Trinidad and Tobago.

The only thing that could have stopped the Knights from playing cricket for West Indies together was the allure of some other sport, with both having also represented Barbados in track and field events and football, but having both been part of the squad that won the ICC Women’s World T20 2016, they are surely pretty happy with their decisions to pick bat and ball over hurdles and studs.

Cecelia and Isobel Joyce

The only twins among a quintet of siblings who have played for Ireland. Brother Ed can lay claim to being the Emerald Isle’s greatest ever batsman and is likely to take part in Ireland Men’s first-ever Test match against Pakistan in May, but he’ll be in the ear of Isobel who already has experience of the longest format, having played against Pakistan all the way back in July 2000 in what remains Ireland’s only Test match. She took 6/21 in an innings victory, claiming the Player of the Match award for her efforts.

Video cwc19 10 Feb 17
Twin celebration for the Joyce Sisters
Watch that moment where your twin sister takes a catch for you to claim a wicket in the ICC Women's World Cup Qualifier, 2017 as Cecelia Joyce takes the catch in the deep off her twin sister Isobel's bowling for Ireland.


Besides that solitary Test, 'Izzy' played 78 ODIs and 42 T20Is, also captaining her country for a time, while Cecelia represent Ireland 56 times in ODIs and 32 in T20Is.

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