Sunday, January 13, 2013

(It) Runs in the family

I noticed this story on cricinfo recently, about twin sisters and West Indian women cricketers Kyshona and Kycia Knight:

Twenty-year old Kyshona Knight is the only uncapped player in West Indies' 15-member squad for the upcoming Women's World Cup in Mumbai. Kyshona will join her twin sister Kycia Knight in the team led by wicketkeeper-batsman Merissa Aguilleira.

"It is a great feeling to be selected in the West Indies team with my sister," Kyshona said. "This is a dream for both of us.

"I wanted to join her from the time she made the team last year and I'm pretty excited right now that our dream of playing together for the West Indies has been realised. Not many sisters, especially twins, play the same sport and achieve similar success."

This made me think about families which produce multiple cricketers. Obviously there are many famous examples of this within the men's game, but because so little is known about the history of women's cricket, the female equivalents of the Chappells tend to go unnoticed. (More on that another time.)

Intriguingly, there are also numerous examples of brother/sister, husband/wife, aunt/nephew (etc) partnerships, where each has played cricket at a high level.

One recent example is New Zealand's latest Test debutant, James Franklin, whose aunt Jean Coulston played five Tests for New Zealand back in the 1950s ( She averaged 10.85 over that time. Actually, she'd probably make the current men's squad, judging by recent performances.

Other famous examples include:

1. Sunil Gavaskar's sister, Nutan. She played club cricket in Bombay while her brother was brightening up Indian cricket in the 1970s and 1980s, and later became Secretary of the Women's Cricket Association of India.

2. Richard Hadlee's wife, Karen. According to cricinfo, she played just one ODI for New Zealand, in 1978. However, she also had an illustrious career for Canterbury during the 1970s, and apparently once took 10 wickets for 12 runs in a minor match.

3. Freddie Brown's sister, Aline. Aline toured Australia and New Zealand in 1948/9 (two years before her brother captained the men's touring team to Australia, and lost the Ashes 4-1), but she did not play in any of the Tests. Nonetheless, she was a talented and economical bowler and played in several of the other Tour matches.

4. Australia's Terry Alderman has a younger sister, Denise (Emerson), who played Test cricket for Oz during the 1980s, and opened the batting during the 1982 Women's World Cup (held in New Zealand), which was won by Australia.

These are just four of the most illustrious examples. It has struck me quite forcefully that almost every female cricketer who I've spoken to can trace her involvement in the sport back to her father or brother(s). Certainly that's the case for me. When I write the acknowledgements for my thesis, my dad is getting a whole heap of credit for being the person who introduced me to this weird and wonderful game, and taught me to love it.

Thanks, Dad.

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