You talkin' to me?

Not-so-famous cricketers who share names with better known colleagues

Steven Lynch

July 23, 2012

Comments: 26 | Text size: A | A

Kenny Benjamin bowls
Kenny Benjamin: Charlie Griffith in name and pace © Getty Images
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Tendulkar
There's only one Tendulkar, you might think... but no: if you input just the surname into ESPNcricinfo's search box you get the one you're probably expecting, and also Chandrakanth Tendulkar of Goa, who played five first-class matches in the 1980s but averaged an un-Tendulkarly 9.00, with a highest score of 38. The Tamil Nadu bowlers Peter Lobo and AP Sureshkumar have probably dined out on the fact that they got Tendulkar out for a duck - just don't ask them which one.

Muralitharan
Batsmen everywhere are thankful that no second Murali has emerged yet. But wait... what about Darwin Muralitharan of Malaysia? He bowls slow left-arm orthodox (how disappointing is that "orthodox"?) and was described as "an exciting prospect from Penang" during an Asian Cricket Council Under-19 tournament in 2005 - possibly after he took 5 for 5 to skittle the mighty Maldives for 84 in Kathmandu. But even Google doesn't divulge how flexible Darwin's wrists are.

Bradman
The modern-day Don? A left-hand batsman with the exotic name Prince Bradman Ediriweera played a lot of first-class cricket in Sri Lanka, scoring 12 centuries - the highest, 154 for Colombo Cricket Club against Sebastianites in January 1998. But his eventual first-class average (33.01) was less than a third of the real thing's.

Younis Khan
There's the elegant Pakistan batsman who made a century on Test debut, not to mention 313 against Sri Lanka a couple of years ago... and then there's Younis Khan of Germany, who scored 13 and took a wicket against Gibraltar in the 2001 ICC Trophy in Canada.

G Sobers
The great Garry Sobers had an elder brother called Gerry, who sadly died last year. Gerry was a handy batsman too: in 1964 both of them turned out for Norton, in the North Staffordshire League, and Gerry - playing as an amateur - pipped his brother, the club pro, in the batting averages. The story goes in Barbados that when Garry was called up to play for the island against the 1952-53 Indian tourists, aged only 16, the selectors actually meant to ask Gerry. "If that's the case," says Sir Garry, "it could have been our sister, Greta, as she is G Sobers as well..."

Yuvraj Singh
The free-flowing Indian left-hander Yuvraj Singh was born in Chandigarh in 1981: the following year, Yuvraj Surendra Singh was born in Jodhpur. He was a handy cricketer who opening the bowling for Rajasthan's Under-16 side, although he didn't "train on". One of his team-mates who did, the wicketkeeper Dishant Yagnik, is now a Ranji Trophy regular.

Alec Bedser
We probably all knew there was one carbon copy of the great Surrey and England bowler Alec Bedser, in the form of his identical twin Eric, who played alongside him for years at The Oval. Legend has it that they flipped a coin to see which one would bowl medium pace and which one would take up offspin, and Alec won the toss: he went on to take more than 200 Test wickets in a glittering international career, while Eric never did get a Test cap. But another Alec Bedser played a few first-class matches for Border in South Africa in the 1970s - and spookily he had a twin brother called Eric too.

Ijaz Ahmed
Ijaz Ahmed was a member of Pakistan's 1992 World Cup-winning side: a busy batsman who biffed 22 international centuries (a dozen in Tests) despite a peculiar jutting-bottomed stance, he also surprised a few people with some sub-Akram left-arm skidders. In addition to 60 Tests he played no fewer than 250 one-day internationals, and in two of them lined up alongside... Ijaz Ahmed. This one, usually referred to as "junior", although they were not related, was an offspinning allrounder from Faisalabad. Sadly, in the matches they played together (both in Australia in 1996-97) there were no cases of "c Ijaz b Ijaz".

Ramprakash
Well, there's the just-retired Mark... and then there's Bhaskaran Ramprakash, three years older, who was a Ranji Trophy regular for Kerala for a dozen years. He hit 152 against Tamil Nadu in November 1991, but that was his only century: Mark made 113 more (and won a ballroom-dancing competition to boot).


Ijaz Junior attempts a shot towards square-leg.  ABL Vs Gujranwala at LCCA Ground Lahore,27 March 2000.
Ijaz Ahmed Jr: played two matches with his senior namesake Mueenuddin Hameed / © Pakistan Cricket Board
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Charlie Griffith
This turns out to be not just one West Indian fast bowler - the mean and moody Barbadian Charlie Griffith produced some lightning-fast spells in the 1960s - but two: Kenneth Charlie Griffith Benjamin, from Antigua, later played for West Indies too, and while arguably not quite as fearsome did bowl at a pretty impressive pace himself. The pair had strikingly similar Test careers: Charlie 94 wickets in 28 Tests, Kenny 92 in 26.

Stephen Lynch
And if I may be excused this indulgence, I once arrived at a match at Sir Paul Getty's lovely ground at Wormsley to be told "Ah yes, you're playing - park over there." This was a bit of a surprise, as no one had told me - and, rather more worryingly, the match was against the South African tourists and Allan Donald was warming up on the outfield. With some relief I discovered that the S Lynch in question was a New Zealander who once scored 94 for Auckland. Luckily, he soon turned up. And I got a prime parking place behind the pavilion.

Steven Lynch is the editor of the Wisden Guide to International Cricket 2012

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Posted by   on (July 26, 2012, 13:42 GMT)

Now that Wagner is playing for New Zealand and Elgar has been called up by South Africa, could we have an article on other cricketing composers?

Posted by   on (July 24, 2012, 22:17 GMT)

Dennis Lilllie is a glaring omission from this list (forget the spelling difference). More so given that he actually caught the more famous Dennis Lillee in a Shield match (as 12th man).

Posted by   on (July 24, 2012, 21:04 GMT)

I suppose you can add Imran Khan of the Natal Dolphins - I wonder who he was named after?

Posted by AdrianVanDenStael on (July 24, 2012, 17:06 GMT)

Could also mention "Jack" Russell. There was a good batsman called CAG Russell given that name (1887-1961) who played for England around the time of the Great War. Then a couple of years later "Jack" was reincarnated as RC Rusell and grew into a mustachioed, Weetabix-chomping, hat-wearing, tea-drinking painter who occasionally kept wicket for England and Gloucestershire.

Posted by stez on (July 24, 2012, 10:17 GMT)

What about the 'other' Dennis Lillee, albeit spelled a bit differently? And wasn't there a pretty hopeless English Ian Redpath in the 80s too?

Posted by pa99 on (July 24, 2012, 2:35 GMT)

...and then there was D C Worrell, a Punjabi who played for Southern Punjab in the Ranji Trophy in the early 60s in India.

Posted by thenoostar on (July 23, 2012, 22:42 GMT)

I Remember Stephen Lynch, he was quite an impressive batsman. If he is 36 now, that means he retired at about 24. Given a few more years and a bit of luck, he could have been quite a good test batsman(at least by NZ standard).

Posted by TheBangalorean on (July 23, 2012, 18:36 GMT)

I know this article about one famous and one not-so-famous cricketer, but Syed Kirmani (the Indian wicketkeeper) has something in common with Zaheer Abbas ('the Asian Bradman') - Zaheer's full name is Syed Zaheer Abbas Kirmani.

Posted by   on (July 23, 2012, 17:59 GMT)

A Mike Smith played for England who didn't quite manage to emulate his predecessor MJK. There were two contemporary G.Greenidges from Barbados in the English county game. Sadly (from a Sussex aspect) Geoff didn't do as well as Gordon. Enam ul-Haq has given statisticians the same problems as Ijaz Ahmed. There was a Zaheer Abbas in Zimbabwe, an Australian Michael Clarke played one match for Warwickshire and Abdur Razzak is at least the same sound as Abdur Razzaq.

Posted by Ross_Co on (July 23, 2012, 16:09 GMT)

England might have been better off picking Bhaskaran Ramprakash.

Posted by Sudhey on (July 23, 2012, 14:48 GMT)

I began reading this article expecting to find the name of andy roberts, a little known former NZ player, somewhere on the list. Odd that he turned out to be a bit too obscure, even for you !!

Posted by NALINWIJ on (July 23, 2012, 14:32 GMT)

How about Wayne Phillips the wicket keeper who occassionally opened batting for Australia in the 80s and Wayne Phillips the victorian opener who played one test match in the 90s replacing Graeme Marsh.

Posted by LeftBrain on (July 23, 2012, 13:15 GMT)

Good article, last entry is a good one, but I am not sure if there is a mean to verify it as opposed to all others which can be verified through record books!!! Having said that, there are quite a few set of people from Pakistan I am aware of who have similar names, Saeed Ahmed who played 41 tests in initial stages of Pakistan cricket and about half a dozen other Saeed Ahmeds played first class cricket for Pak. Saeed Anwar, the stylish leftarm opener and two other Saeed Anwars who played first class. Ramiz Raja, Pak opener and commentator and Ramiz Raja who played 2 T20 against Zim recently. Sajid Ali played a dozen ODI for Pak and quite a few Sajid Ali are playing first-class. Only Ijaz Ahmed is mentioned here.

Posted by chapathishot on (July 23, 2012, 12:56 GMT)

The Ramprakash talked about was an offspinner and a decent bat.He was on the verge of test selection when team management wanted an offspinner for injured Srinath during the West Indies tour but Noel David was finally send considering his fielding.

Posted by klownact on (July 23, 2012, 12:35 GMT)

Steve Smith played ODI's for Australia in the 1980's, and then again using a different body currently.

Posted by tjsimonsen on (July 23, 2012, 12:19 GMT)

I'm not 100% sure, but I remember playing along side a certain Imran Khan for a single season (the last I played) who opened our bowling and batted 4. Of course this was in the 2nd best league in Denmark....

Posted by Stark62 on (July 23, 2012, 12:04 GMT)

You missed the most obvious one.....Pietersen, Peterson and Petersen!!

Can you imagine this: KP Pietersen c Petersen b Peterson! LOL

Posted by Headbandenator on (July 23, 2012, 10:40 GMT)

There was nothing spooky about the lesser Alec Bedser having a twin brother called Eric - they were named after there more famous counterparts.

Posted by tusharkardile on (July 23, 2012, 10:39 GMT)

Mark Wagh must have missed the cut by a very narrow margin

Posted by yasserrizwan on (July 23, 2012, 10:10 GMT)

There is one Imraan Khan who played for South Africa (1 ODI), and then there was one Imran Khan who was contemporary of Sir Ian Botham, Kapil & Sir Hadlee, from Pakistan whom we all know & rever.

Posted by   on (July 23, 2012, 9:35 GMT)

Robin Singh! both played on the tour to new Zealand in 1999!

Posted by   on (July 23, 2012, 8:41 GMT)

The last is undoubtedly the best.

Posted by   on (July 23, 2012, 8:24 GMT)

Irfan Pathan ( Jr ) and Irfan Pathan ( Sr ) - both from Baroda - only former earned India cap. There are a few Ranji matches when both were in playing 11.

Posted by   on (July 23, 2012, 8:23 GMT)

u missed Saeed Anwar both played for Pakistan ... one in 1960 and the other 1990

Posted by Jonathan_E on (July 23, 2012, 8:21 GMT)

If you're including Kenneth "Charlie Griffith" Benjamin, you probably also have to include "Neil Harvey" Fairbrother...

Posted by   on (July 23, 2012, 4:31 GMT)

Reading the title of your piece, I was half expecting to see a Robert DeNiro in there too!

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Steven LynchClose
Steven Lynch Steven Lynch won the Wisden Cricket Monthly Christmas Quiz three years running before the then-editor said "I can't let you win it again, but would you like a job?" That lasted for 15 years, before he moved across to the Wisden website when that was set up in 2000. Following the merger of the two sites early in 2003 he was appointed as the global editor of Wisden Cricinfo. In June 2005 he became the deputy editor of Wisden Cricketers' Almanack. He continues to contribute the popular weekly "Ask Steven" question-and-answer column on ESPNcricinfo, and edits the Wisden Guide to International Cricket.

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