Married to the job

Eleven pairs of cricketing brothers-in-law

Sidharth Monga and Siddhartha Talya

September 26, 2011

Comments: 14 | Text size: A | A

Sunil Gavaskar and Gundappa Viswanath walk the tightrope, England v India, 1st Test, Edgbaston, 5th day, July 16, 1979
An inseparable pair on and off the field © PA Photos
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Darren Lehmann and Craig White
"She didn't know me from a bar of soap," writes Lehmann of his first date with his wife. Lehmann, Yorkshire's overseas pro, had convinced White, a mate from his playing days in Adelaide, Victoria, and now Yorkshire, to ask his sister Andrea to show him around Scarborough. Lehmann had spent the preceding afternoon drinking with David Boon, and he had to work hard to convince Andrea that "her knight in shining armour was an overweight cricketer from Australia". They did wind up getting married, and although Lehmann told Andrea his international career was over, which would allow him time to look after a family, recalls followed: he played three Tests and three ODIs against brother-in-law White's England.
White to Lehmann in international cricket: 96 balls, 45 runs, three wickets. The two were team-mates when Yorkshire famously became county champions in 2001.

Terry Alderman and Ross Emerson
Just as well that that Alderman had a clean action. He made his mark in 1981 and 1989, swinging out England batsmen with 40 wickets in each series, but his brother-in-law would make it to the limelight in controversial fashion several years later, when as an umpire he called Muttiah Muralitharan for throwing. "The controversial ones were the umpires who thought he was a chucker yet weren't brave enough to call him," Emerson said many years later. His marriage and relation to Alderman was a complete cricketing alliance. His wife is Denise Emerson, Alderman's sister, who played seven Tests for Australia and averaged 41.27. She didn't bowl in international cricket.

Gundappa Viswanath and Sunil Gavaskar
Kavita Gavaskar, later Viswanath, probably knows enough about batting to put some experts out of jobs. She grew up the sister of a man with an immaculate forward-defensive; she married one whose square-cut a generation of Indian cricket followers swore by. Her brother and husband were both short men, born five months apart in 1949. Both captained India in Tests, played 84 Tests together, added 1737 runs in partnership, and are still two of the greatest batsmen India has produced. Their friendship from the days of the Charminar Challenge in Hyderabad has stayed. Sunil Gavaskar says, "When people asked me who was the better batsman, Vishy or me, I would say without hesitation - Vishy. But I would also remind them that I was half an inch taller. When we both sat on a sofa, my feet would touch the ground, his would be half an inch above."

Alec Stewart and Mark Butcher
These two Surrey mates fought through a tough decade for English cricket in which success for the national team proved hard to come by. While Stewart's place in the side was more or less secure - he bowed out as one of England's greats - Butcher's was much less so, and there was plenty to bear off the field as well. Married to Stewart's sister, Judy, with whom he had a daughter, Butcher was involved in an affair that led to the marriage breaking up. His form met the same fate, even on the county circuit, but he was able to pick himself up with assistance from his father and coach, Alan. In 2001 he played his best innings, an unbeaten 173 against Australia at Headingley to win England the Test. "I'm the happiest woman on earth," Judy said at the time.

Nathan Astle and Craig McMillan
On the day Astle made New Zealand's then second-highest ODI score, McMillan hammered their fastest fifty. During a partnership of 136 in 7.4 overs, the two hit 27 off one over. They also hold the New Zealand record for the highest fifth-wicket partnership in Tests. Only six other pairs have scored more Test runs together. McMillan played 48 of his 55 Tests with Astle. They were dropped together during the John Bracewell era and made comebacks one after the other. It shouldn't really surprise, then, that they married a pair of sisters.

Saleem Malik and Ijaz Ahmed
They were mainstays of the Pakistan middle order but their playing styles were a contrast - one, a tormentor of Australia, had an awkward stance; the other was more technically correct, with wonderful wrists and plenty of class. The duo, who married a pair of sisters, shared 174 ODIs and 39 Tests, and plenty of controversy. They were investigated for match-fixing by the Qayyum Commission, following which Malik was banned, and Ijaz cleared. Malik's ban was lifted in 2008, but Ijaz was arrested in a forgery case the next year before receiving bail. Malik claimed he had been appointed coach of the National Cricket Academy in 2008 after his ban was lifted, but the PCB denied it, while Ijaz took over as batting and fielding coach of the national team two years later only to witness another turbulent phase for Pakistan cricket in the months that followed.

AH Kardar and Zulfiqar Ahmed
In a way Zulfiqar was the mamu (uncle) of Pakistan cricket. There are some in Pakistan who will tell you that he was part of Pakistan's first Test squads because his sister was married to the father of Pakistan cricket, AH Kardar. Zulfiqar's numbers as an offspinner and a valuable lower-order batsman, though, don't suggest a total passenger. He took 20 wickets in nine Tests at 18.30, including 11 in one match against New Zealand, the first time a spinner won Pakistan a Test. He scored a crucial 34 from No. 10 in Pakistan's second Test win, at The Oval. However, by the time Pakistan went to the West Indies in 1957-58, Haseeb Ahsan and Nasim-ul-Ghani had come up, and Kardar went for youth. Zulfiqar, though, found a place in the touring party as a member of the media.

Vikram Rathour and Aashish Kapoor
The Punjab pair enjoyed plenty of success in domestic cricket but featured together in just one Test and one ODI. Rathour was a prolific run-getter on the domestic scene and was part of their only Ranji Trophy title win to date, in 1992-93, but he was found wanting against the swinging ball when he was picked for the tour of England in 1996, eight years after his first-class debut. The year was also significant for Rathour's wife's brother, the offspinner Kapoor, who was picked in the World Cup squad and went on to have a little more exposure at the international level. But he wasn't considered for selection after 2000. Their fortunes were largely similar: plenty of promise and consistent gains at the first-class and List A levels, but only a brief flirtation with the step beyond.


Nathan Astle and Craig McMillan, New Zealand v England, Wellington
So, double-date tonight? © Getty Images
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Baqa Jilani and Jahangir Khan
Think Jilani and most remember the breakfast where he insulted CK Nayudu, and thus reportedly earned his only Test cap from Nayudu's bitter rival, the Maharajah of Vizianagram. Jilani, though, also took the first Ranji Trophy hat-trick, and 12 wickets on his first-class debut. And he was related by marriage to arguably Pakistan's biggest cricketing family: his brother-in-law, Jahangir, had a son named Majid and a nephew named Imran, who happened to play for Pakistan. Jahangir played four Tests for undivided India, and went onto become an important administrator and selector.

Hansie Cronje and Gordon Parsons
Parsons and Cronje had Orange Free State and Leicestershire in common, along with Hester, Cronje's sister, who married Parsons in 1991. An allrounder, Parsons, 10 years older than Cronje, was with the latter during his successful county season in 1995 and a series of triumphs for their South African provincial side. He was also alongside him during the dark days in the immediate aftermath of the match-fixing scandal, when the family stood strongly behind Cronje. "As a family, we obviously supported him initially, now we just say: 'We're here if you need us,'" Parsons said then. He went on to coach the Lions franchise and now runs an academy in Potchefstroom.

Stanley Jackson and Jack Wilson
The sisters Harrison-Broadley could have chosen duller partners. The elder of them married Jackson, who had captained England, scored five centuries, and taken a five-wicket haul before he went to the Great War as Lieutenant-Colonel of a West Yorkshire Regiment battalion. After the war ended, the younger of the sisters married Wilson, a Flight-Lieutenant for the Royal Naval Air Service, who won the Distinguished Service Cross. Before going to war Wilson represented Yorkshire in 11 matches, and after it he became a successful amateur steeplechase jockey. Says Wisden Cricket Monthly: "During his career he rode over 200 winners, and rode three times in the Grand National, winning in 1925 on a horse called Double Chance."

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo; Siddhartha Talya is a sub-editor

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by sweetspot on (September 29, 2011, 12:11 GMT)

I know a famous woman cricketer who married her sister in law's brother. Can you guess who?

Posted by Romenevans on (September 27, 2011, 12:39 GMT)

Yes! Parthiv patel is also married to Samit patel and Dhoni recently got married to RP Singh and Ravindra Jadega!

Posted by Swaan on (September 27, 2011, 5:38 GMT)

@ambrishsundaram.. Thanks buddy for updating my knowledge !!!

Posted by   on (September 27, 2011, 0:17 GMT)

arjuna and marvan is missing..

Posted by krik8crazy on (September 26, 2011, 16:26 GMT)

To SL friends - are Jayawardena and Sanga related by marriage?

Posted by   on (September 26, 2011, 15:08 GMT)

I'm a trifle amused that Denise Emerson's entry links to her brother & husband yet neither of their entries link to hers

Posted by ambrishsundaram on (September 26, 2011, 12:41 GMT)

@Swaan: Ajit Agarkar married Fatema Ghadially. She is the younger sister of Mazhar Ghadially. Mazhar was a regular in the Bombay club cricket circles, playing for teams like Cricket Club of India and Elf Lubricants. Mazhar played one Ranji game for Mumbai, where he scored 6 runs and bowled 7 overs for 20 runs with no wickets.

Posted by Swaan on (September 26, 2011, 11:44 GMT)

Also Wasim Jaffer's sister married to Ajit Agarkar!!!

Posted by AzadMajumder on (September 26, 2011, 10:35 GMT)

two former Bangladesh captains Faruque Ahmed and Akram Khan married a pair of sisters. Akram and Faruque played together for Bangladesh many days including 1999 World Cup. Akram later succeeded Faruque as Bangladesh's chief selector

Posted by   on (September 26, 2011, 8:39 GMT)

There is one important relationship missing. Majid Khan is married to Javed Burki's sister.

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