Cricinfo XI

Failing to follow in the footsteps

Andrew Miller and Martin Williamson pick some sons and siblings who couldn't quite live up to their relative's reputations

Andrew Miller and Martin Williamson

February 14, 2006

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Faisal Iqbal was once better known as the nephew of Javed Miandad, but all of a sudden he is a Test-match-winning batsman in his own right. He's not the first cricketer to pale by comparison to a famous relative. Can you think of any others? Send them to feedback.

WG Grace junior



WG Grace jr: not quite the full beard © The Cricketer International
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Given that WG Grace was in his time reckoned to be the second most recognisable Englishman alive (behind Gladstone), his oldest son never really had a look-in. Doubly burdened with the same initials, he never showed more than glimpses of his father's (and uncles') ability, but nevertheless excelled as an allrounder in club cricket, turning in some remarkable performances for his father's London County side. School-mastering limited his first-class opportunities which, in all honesty, owed more to his father than his own skills.

Richard Hutton
Sir Len's son was a good enough allrounder to play three Tests for England in 1971, but from the moment he emerged as a proficient schoolboy, he was never allowed to forget his parentage. He was even invited to play for Rest of the World in Australia in 1971-72 but looked out of his depth. He might have fared better had he opted for a different county to that of his father (Yorkshire) and his public school/Oxbridge background just gave critics there another round of ammunition. He was for a time the editor of The Cricketer.

Eric Bedser
Having a famous sibling might be considered bad enough, but poor Eric Bedser was an identical twin and Alec happened to be one of the leading fast bowlers in the world at the time. A more-than-decent offspinner and a useful batsman throughout Surrey's period of domination in the 1950s, most observers reckoned that Eric was unfortunate not to play for England, and his career record supports those claims. He did take the field for an England side once, against Tasmania in 1950-51 when a number of players were rested.



Roahn Gavaskar: creaked under the burden of comparison © Getty Images
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Rohan Gavaskar
A taller, wirier, left-handed version of his legendary father, Rohan Gavaskar creaked under the burden of comparison, and was never able to match up to expectations. He made his one-day debut in a chalk-and-cheese VB Series in 2003-04, scoring an attractive half-century against the Zimbabweans but proving to be badly out of his depth against Australia, and having been a regular presence in the qualifying rounds, he was jettisoned ahead of the finals. He made an abortive return to the team in 2004, before losing his place for good after the Champions Trophy defeat against Pakistan.

Shoaib Mohammad
If his father had been anyone else, then Shoaib Mohammad's record of 2705 runs in 45 Tests, at an average of 44.34, would have been worthy of greater praise than he received in an underwhelming but effective career. Unfortunately for him, he will always be primarily recalled as the son of Pakistan's original cricket legend, Hanif Mohammad. Shoaib was certainly a chip of the old block, with a watertight technique and a punishing cover-drive, and similarly inhuman powers of concentration. They weren't quite sufficient to propel him to anything as formidable as a world-record score of 499, but in the space of ten months in 1989-90, he picked up two scores of 203 not out against India and New Zealand.

Liam Botham
The pundits were salivating when the search for English cricket's "next Botham" brought them to the son of the man himself. Liam Botham demonstrated he had his father's eye for the big occasion when, as an 18-year-old, he took five wickets on first-class debut for Hampshire against Middlesex - a haul that included Mike Gatting, a man that Beefy senior had never managed to dislodge during his playing days. But Liam demonstrated the sort of discretion that can only have come from his mother's side of the family, when he opted to quit while he was ahead in cricket and instead forged a very successful career in rugby.

Mali Richards
The swagger was all too familiar, as Mali Richards, the Taunton-born son of Sir Viv, slammed 319 from 420 balls for Antigua and Barbuda against the US Virgin Islands in 2003. Educated at Cheltenham College in Gloucestershire, Mali suffered something of an identity crisis when it transpired he was every bit as eligible to play for England as his father's West Indies. But his commitment was called into question when he absconded from his 12th-man duties while playing for Oxford UCCE at the Parks, and following a disappointing stint at Middlesex, he faded from the reckoning.



Chris Cowdrey: at least he was an England captain © Getty Images
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Chris Cowdrey
As a member of English cricket's most blue-blooded family, Chris Cowdrey was destined to be noticed from the moment he committed himself to follow in his father's flannels. He might, however, have preferred a somewhat lower profile, for he will always be remembered as the most left-field of England's four Test captains of the crazy summer of 1988. Three years had elapsed since his solitary Test tour to India in 1984-85 and yet, in the wisdom of the chief of selectors (and Cowdrey's godfather) Peter May, he was the obvious choice to lead the side in the fourth Test at Headingley, He mustered five runs in two innings as West Indies romped to a ten-wicket victory, and that was the end of that.

Bobby Parks
Having a Test-playing father is one thing, but Bobby Parks was doubly burdened - his grandfather had also played for England. Like his elders, Parks kept wicket, but for Hampshire rather than the family firm of Sussex. He did not come close to international recognition, but did keep for England for a day, against New Zealand at Lord's in 1986. Bruce French was felled by a Richard Hadlee bouncer, and Parks was summoned from a day off.

Ron Headley
As the son of George Headley (whose reputation was such that he was known as the Black Bradman) opening batsman Ron Headley was always up against it, and it is not surprising that he chose to ply his trade in England after only one season of cricket in his native Jamaica. He forged a successful county career with Worcestershire, and even won two Test caps when West Indies were hit by injuries on their tour of England in 1973. The switch from the Caribbean was completed by his son, Dean, who played 15 Tests for England.

John Bradman
It was probably fortunate that the Don's son did not want to play cricket. With a father who was the greatest batsman ever, the weight of expectation would have been massive. Even so, the pressure was still considerable, and at one stage Bradman junior changed his name to Bradsen to avoid the almost inevitable questions which followed any introduction. He subsequently changed it back.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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