10 February 2009 was the day of the brothers on the international cricket stage. Cricket has seen many successful sets of brothers from the English Bedser twins, through the multiple Pakistani Mohammeds, the Kiwi Crowes, the South African Pollock clan and the Waughs and Chappells of Australia. Yesterday, 2 more sets of brothers staked their claims with match-winning partnerships.
Brothers Hussey of Australia and (half) brothers Pathan of India saw their sides home in contrasting yet equally effective ways to respectively defeat New Zealand in the 4th one dayer and Sri Lanka in the Twenty20 international.
In Australia, the beleaguered hosts were battling to keep their hopes of staying in the series against New Zealand alive. Chasing a modest total of 244 on a decent batting track, they were going nicely at 101-3 approaching the midpoint of their chase. As in the previous game, Brad Haddin was leading the way and looking comfortable, right up to the point when David Hussey lost the plot completely between the wickets and left him stranded yards out of his ground.
He was joined by big bro Michael, who has rediscovered some form after a pretty barren summer, with 144 required off 153. In modern cricket this is not too much of an ask but the match run rate sat below 5 an over at this stage. Punctuating hard running between the wickets with the odd brutal blow, they went about their business so efficiently that long before the mathematical balance had swung Australia’s way, there was a certain inevitability about the result.
They put on 115 in precisely 20 overs before David, the junior partner in the stand, was bowled for 79. Michael, having clocked up a run-a-ball 50, saw them home and was there at the end on 75*. Besides one being left handed and the other right, these two go about their business at the crease in similar fashion, unlike the Waugh twins. Neither is the prettiest to watch but Michael especially has worked out a brutally efficient method and sticks to it. His international career came to him late and if David can develop in the same way as his brother then Australia could have yet another serious set of brothers for everyone to contend with.
The Pathans batted rather differently from the Husseys. Irfan, the older of the two, was seen as the next world class all-rounder a couple of years ago. He possesses a fearsome swinging yorker and can hit the ball miles. But he has rather lost his way of late and has lost his place in Indian affections to his half-brother, Yusuf. He blasted his way to prominence in the IPL and has been in and around the Indian team ever since.
Yesterday they came together with their team in trouble, 7 down needing 57 from just under 5 overs. A pretty tall order? Not a bit of it. The Pathans proceeded to bludgeon the ball to all parts, finishing the game with 4 balls to spare. Irfan hit 33 runs from 16 balls, Yusuf 22 from 10 in a display of hitting which was impressive even by the standards of modern bludgeoning.
In both cases the younger of the 2 got the man of the match award but all 4 of them were largely responsible for their teams’ victories, as Waughs, Chappells and Pollocks so often were before them. My brother and I, both of whom once harboured dreams of cricketing greatness, cheered ourselves up by playing a few overs in our hall.
by Stuart Peel