(Image courtesy: New Zealand Cricket Museum. Middle row (L to R) Rosemary Signal, Nancy Williams, Lois Simpson, Elizabeth Signal, Jackie Clark, Sue Rattray)
While many believe that it was the Waugh twins – Steve and Mark – who were the first to play Tests together, it is to be noted that they were the first from men’s cricket to do so. About seven years before the Waughs achieved this feat, Elizabeth and Rosemary Signal became the first ever twins to play Test cricket together, across genders. The twins were born on this day in 1962.
Liz and Rose made their Test debuts together for New Zealand against England at Headingley, Leeds on July 6, 1984. Both were considered to be excellent all-rounders, but if you were to go by statistics alone, Rose was the better one. She was a fast bowler, while Liz was more of a medium pacer.
At the international level, Liz went on to play six Tests and 19 ODIs, her twin on the other hand managed just a solitary Test and six ODIs. Just over a month later after making their Test bows together, they once again featured in an ODI against Netherlands at Haarlem and thus became the first-ever twins to play ODIs together. Both scored three and picked up a wicket apiece as New Zealand thrashed Netherlands by 67 runs.
On that note, let’s look at some of the prominent siblings and other members of a family who have played cricket together at the highest level.
The Chappells: Before the Waughs, Australia had two other brothers who were prolific run-getters. Two of Australia’s finest batsmen, Ian and Greg Chappell played as many as 43 Tests together, in which they scored 23 hundreds and 31 fifties between them. They also scored more than 7,000 runs between them when they played together. Interestingly, their grandfather Vic Richardson and their third brother, Trevor, played 19 and three Tests respectively.
The Waugh twins: The Waugh twins went on to play 108 Tests together, scoring more than 14,000 runs. They also played 214 ODIs together, which included winning the 1999 World Cup together under Steve’s captaincy.
In March 2005, Hamish Marshall and his twin brother James of New Zealand became the first pair of identical twins to play a Test together – against Australia in Auckland. They went on to play a total of five Tests together.
Although not twins, in a Test match on September 18, 1997, Zimbabwe fielded three pairs of brothers against New Zealand in Harare, making it a first such instance.
Mushfiqur Rahim-Mahmudullah: Two senior Bangladesh cricketers, Mushfiur and Mahmudullah are in fact brothers-in-law. Mushfiqur married Jannatul Kaswar Mondi, who is Mahmudullah’s wife’s sister, in 2014. They have played 45 Tests, 173 ODIs and 78 T20Is together for Bangladesh.
Darren Lehmann-Craig White: Australian cricketer Lehmann married England allrounder Craig White’s sister Andrea in 2002. While they have taken the field several times for their respective countries, they have played against each other on six occasions at the international level – three Tests and three ODIs. White and Lehmann were team-mates first when they played together for Victoria and later on for Yorkshire.
Joyce twins: Isobel and Cecilia Joyce have had long illustrious careers for Ireland Women, spanning over 19 and 17 years respectively. Both of them retired in 2018, after having played 49 ODIs and 42 T20Is together.