Nor is the pattern restricted to England. The other cricketing countries are similarly replete with test dynasties. The names ring through cricket history. The Mohammads and the Khans, the Manjrekars and the Roys, the Hadlees, Headleys, Chappels, and Pollocks. And that’s just a selection of the families with three or more test players. The ones with two run into the hundreds.
What is going on here? Are these clans all blessed with some special cricketing gene? Or is it that you need the right family background to learn top-level cricketing skills? . . .
An expanded version of the original post was published in Aeon Magazine on Monday 15 September 2014.
A Anand and Vijay Amritraj, India, tennis. (‘A’s are not easy. The Durban cricketing Amlas and the London footballing Allens only have one full international each.)
B Ali and Adam Bacher, South Africa, cricket. (There are loads of ‘B’s.)
C Martin and Jeff Crowe, New Zealand, cricket. (Plus their less successful first cousin, Russell.)
D Jannie and Bismarck du Plessis, South Africa, rugby. (Bismarck du Plessis is my all-time favourite name.)
E Bill and John Edrich, England, cricket.
F Les and Rio Ferdinand, England, soccer.
G Frank and Eddie Gray, Scotland, soccer.
H Walter, Richard, Dale and Barry Hadlee, New Zealand, cricket. (Just sticking to New Zealand cricket, there are also the Howarths, Harrises, Hornes and Harts.)
I Paul and Tom Ince, England, soccer. (OK Tom isn’t a full international yet, but ‘I’s aren’t easy.)
J Jeff and Simon Jones, England, cricket.
K Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko, Ukraine, boxing.
L David and John Lloyd, Great Britain, tennis
M Rod and Graham Marsh, Australia, cricket and golf. (This and the next two families have the distinction of representing their country in different sports.)
N Phil, Gary and Tracey Neville, England, soccer and netball. (And Phil also played cricket for England under-15s.)
O Chris and Alan Old, England, cricket and rugby.
P Graham, Peter and Shaun Pollock, South Africa, cricket.
Q The best I can do for ‘Q’s is Jerry Quarry and his boxing brothers Mike and Bobby, USA.
R Karl-Heinz and Michael Rummenigge, Germany, soccer.
S Robin and Chris Smith, England, cricket.
T Glenn, Greg and Brian Turner, New Zealand, cricket, golf and field hockey respectively. (Brian has also been his country’s Poet Laureate. Sometimes I wonder if there are only a couple of dozen families in New Zealand.)
U Rory and Tony Underwood, England, rugby.
V I’m stuck here. I used to think the Vinklevoss twins were so-spelt, but in fact they are:
W Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, USA, rowing.
X, Y, Z I skip these.