Australia has had some famous cricket-playing brothers over the years and undoubtedly the Waughs have been the most feared of those sibling combinations to have represented their country. Records speak for themselves and statistics are born out of performances. It is also true that an element of luck can be in play, even when representing your country at the highest level of any sport.
As in day-to-day life and across many sporting codes, one sub-par performance can lead to a life in the sporting wilderness for a player who may have otherwise have achieved “greatness” given further opportunity. Cricket is no exception to this.
The following is our analysis of brothers to have played cricket for Australia in the modern era encompassing Tests, One-Day, & T20 Internationals.
Steve Waugh and Mark Waugh
With a combined 35,000+ international cricket runs and 431 cricket wickets, there is no doubt that the Waugh Twins were the paramount sibling combination to have ever played for their country.
From their humble cricketing beginnings, Steve became one of Australia’s most stoic and successful cricket captains. With a batting style akin to a bulldog standing its ground, Steve was quoted as saying “It doesn’t matter how pretty you look, its how many runs you get”.
Mark, in contrast, was regarded as a far more elegant and gifted stroke player who made his collection of runs look like they were compiled with laid-back ease. So much so, he was occasionally derided for being a 'lazy batsman' who often succumbed to what was noted as 'soft dismissals'.
Despite the obvious differences in their playing styles, their statistics spoke for themselves and they held their positions in the Australian Cricket Team through 108 Test Matches and 214 ODI's.
Both are members of the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame and whilst both have pursued successful business ventures since retirement both have also stayed very close to cricket with Mark taking on various commentary roles and Steve regularly providing the Australia team with cricket mentoring.
Richie Benaud and John Benaud
20-years between Test Debuts for the Benaud brothers stands as the longest for cricket siblings.
Richie Benaud, later to be the “voice of cricket”, was one of the great cricket personalities of all time. Richie was highly regarded for his playing abilities, leadership, and demeanour along with his researching, writing, and advising of the game.
Richie captained Australia in 28 Tests and during his time as a team leader, thanks to his clear, tactical confidence, and exuberant leadership, Australia never lost a series and became the dominant side in world cricket. In 1963 Richie was the first player to achieve 200 wickets and 2000 runs for his country and in 1964 retired from international cricket duties to pursue an extremely successful media career.
Brother John Benaud played first-class cricket for New South Wales for six years eventually captaining the state before his call up to international duty in the summer of 1972 in a Test against Pakistan but he made little contribution to the team in his first outing.
In his 2nd Test Match over New Year in Melbourne, John scored a remarkable 142 in the second innings already knowing he’d been dropped for the upcoming third Test in the series. John Benaud’s third and final test was in the West Indies in April 1973 after which he, like his brother, also went on to become a respected sports journalist and later, a national selector for the Australian cricket team.
Michael Hussey and David Hussey
Affectionately known as “Mr. Cricket” (a nickname he never warmed to), Mike Hussey, whilst being a latecomer to both Australian national cricket teams, managed a highly successful career in both the Test and One Day International arenas. Compiling an impressive 6235 runs in tests & 5442 runs in ODI’s Mike was noted as being a rock in Australia’s middle order often forging out long partnerships with tail-enders.
In the 2006 test series in Bangladesh, Mike famously with Jason Gillespie as nightwatchman, built an incredible partnership of 320. During Hussey’s ODI career, he achieved recognition as Australia’s One-Day Player of the Year in 2006 and would hold many partnership records for the sixth and seventh wickets at the time.
David Hussey, despite an exemplary first-class career in domestic cricket, never achieved a Test call up for Australia. To this day, David Hussey has the highest first-class batting average of any player to have never played a test match and many widely argue he should have, at least at some point, have donned the famous baggy green.
David still managed a very impressive ODI and T20 Career for Australia playing many matches along-side his brother and often selected over Mike in the shorter formats of the game. In the 4th edition of the Indian Premier League, David Hussey became the second most expensive overseas IPL cricketer to have played at USD$1.4 million!
Brett Lee and Shane Lee
Brett Lee played over 300 Internationals and is remembered as one of the fastest bowlers to ever represent Australia; his quickest delivery 161.1 kph. He began his international career with a bang becoming the first Australian bowler since Dennis Lillee to take 5 wickets on debut and an impressive 42 wickets in just his first three-test series.
An athletic fieldsman and staunch lower-order batsmen, Brett was integral to Australia’s success after the retirements of bowling stalwarts Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne and is still Australia’s highest ODI wicket-taker (equal with McGrath). As the toll on his body became more pronounced, Lee’s career was prolonged by his decision to retire from Test Cricket in 2008 but played on for Australia in the shorter formats until 2012.
Shane Lee never played Test cricket but played 45 One-Day Internationals for Australia between 1995 and 2001. Known as an all-rounder Shane had more international success with the ball taking 48 wickets at 25.93. Conversely, Shane’s First-Class career reveals his prowess with the bat where he scored more than 5000 runs at an average of 39.91. Shane retired due to various injuries at just 29 years of age.
Ian Chappell and Greg Chappell
Dual Australian cricket captains, eldest brother Ian captained Australia between 1971 and 1975 in 30 Test matches giving way to brother Greg who captained 48 Tests between 1975 and 1983. With over 15000 international runs for Australia to their names, the 'Chappell’s' were a formidable force in world cricket through the ’70s and early ’80s.
Ian had a blunt and confrontational personality. As an Australian cricketer his playing style was based more on defence than attack, yet still compiled over 5000 runs by the time he retired. He was noted by cricket commentator John Arlott, as “A cricketer of effect rather than grace”. Ian was instrumental in assisting Kerry Packer and his Australian Channel Nine TV Network, with the creation of World Series Cricket (one-day cricket) and was the drive for cricket becoming the professional game it is today.
Greg, was renowned as being an exceptional all-round player and elegant stroke maker who ended his career as Australia’s highest ever run-scorer. Greg scored more runs against the great West Indian fast bowlers of the 1970s than any other player and his statistics, whilst not proclaiming him as the best of his era, place him ahead of other comparable greats such as Viv Richards, Sunil Gavaskar and Javed Miandad.
Since their respective retirements, Ian has been a high-profile sports journalist and Greg a coach, Australian selector and sometime commentator.
Let's not forget younger brother Trevor Chappell who played 3 Tests and 20 ODI's during a very unremarkable career. He will only be remembered for his infamous underarm delivery, which he was instructed to bowl by brother Greg against New Zealand's Brian McKechnie, the last ball of an ODI at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in 1981. 40 years later, it's no wonder he is 'sick of hearing about it'!
Shaun Marsh and Mitchell Marsh
Speaking of unremarkable, at the time of writing, the most recent of Australia’s cricket-playing brothers, the Marsh boys, are still playing for their country. The sons of former Australian opening batsman Geoff Marsh, the two boys from Western Australia both excelled at cricket from a young age. With their fathers guiding hand and helped greatly by having a cricket net in their backyard growing up, the boys learnt the base for their craft early in life.
Shaun, the elder, has played 38 Tests and 73 ODI’s since 2008 as a left-handed opening batsman who scored an incredible 142 on Test debut against Sri Lanka in 2011. Mitchell has played 32 Tests and 57 ODI’s since his 2011 debut for Australia as an ODI bowling all-rounder. Shaun is close to retirement though Mitchell, with form on his side, could play for many years to come at the highest level.
Mark ‘Transport’ Minehan Is A Cricket Lover, World Traveller and Doting Father