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 obviously speak for themselves and statistics are born out of performances, but it’s also true that an element of luck can be in play, even when representing your country at the highest level of any sport.
As is the case in day-to-day life, and across many different sporting codes, one sub-par performance can easily lead to a life in the sporting wilderness for a player who may have otherwise been able to achieve “greatness” given further opportunity and cricket is no exception to this.
The following is our analysis of brothers to have played cricket for Australia in the modern cricketing era encompassing Tests, One-Day, and T20 Internationals.
Steve Waugh and Mark Waugh
With a combined total of over 35,000 international cricket runs and 431 cricket wickets, there can be 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 once 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, that 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 One-Day Internationals.
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
The 20-year gap between Test cricket debuts for the Benaud brothers stands as the longest for cricketing siblings.
Richie Benaud, later in life to become the “voice of cricket”, was regarded as one of the great cricket personalities of all time and was highly regarded for his playing abilities, leadership, and demeanour as well as for his researching, writing, authoring and advising in regards to the game.
Richie captained Australia on 28 occasions and during his time as a team leader, thanks to his clear, tactical confidence, and exuberant leadership style, Australia never lost a series and became the dominant side in world cricket. In 1963 Richie was the first player to achieve the milestone of 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 Match against Pakistan but he made little contribution to the team in his first outing.
In his second Test Match over the 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 of 1973 after which he was dropped and, 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 tally of 6235 runs in tests and 5442 runs in ODI’s Hussey 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, Hussey famously, along 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 has the highest first-class batting average of any player to have never played a test match and many widely argue he should’ve, at least at some point, have donned the famous baggy green.
Sadly, it was not to be. David still managed a very impressive ODI and T20 Career for Australia playing many matches along-side his brother and often actually selected over Mike in the shorter formats of the game. David in the fourth season of the Indian Premier League, at USD$1.4 million, became the second most expensive overseas IPL cricketer to have played.
Brett Lee and Shane Lee
Brett Lee played over 300 Internationals for Australia and is well remembered as being one of the fastest bowlers to ever represent his country with his quickest delivery measured at 161.1km/h. He began his international career with a bang becoming the first Australian bowler since Dennis Lillee to take 5 wickets on debut and a very 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 Glen 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 represented Australia in 45 One-Day Internationals 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, the oldest of the brothers Ian captained Australia between 1971 and 1975 through 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 manner and confrontational personality and 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 graces”. Ian was pivotal in assisting Kerry Packer and his Australian Channel Nine television station, with the creation of World Series Cricket (and one-day cricket) and was the driving force behind cricket becoming the professional game it is today.
Greg, however, 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 bowling attacks in the 1970s than any other player and his statistics, whilst not being able to proclaim him as the best of his era, stand the test of time putting 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 their younger brother Trevor who played 3 Tests and 20 ODI's during a very unremarkable career that will only be remembered for his infamous underarm delivery, which he was instructed to bowl by his brother Greg against New Zealand's Brian McKechnie, the last ball of an ODI at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in 1981. Near 40 years later, it's no wonder he is 'sick of hearing about it'!
Shaun Marsh and Mitchell Marsh
Now speaking of unremarkable, at the time of writing this article, the most recent of Australia’s cricket-playing brothers, the Marsh boys, are still playing for their country today. The sons of former Australian opening batsman Geoff Marsh, the two boys from Western Australia both excelled at cricket from a very young age. With their fathers guiding hand and helped greatly by the fact that they had an actual training 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, and who scored an incredible 142 on Test debut against Sri Lanka in 2011, whereas Mitchell has 32 Tests and 57 ODI’s to his name since his 2011 debut for Australia as an ODI bowling all-rounder. Whilst Shaun is close to retirement 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