How often does it happen that three cricketing brothers make centuries on the same day in a first class match? I would think the odds are pretty high, but the three Malan siblings – Pieter, Janneman and André – recently claimed their place in the annals of cricket by achieving this rare feat in a first class match contested between Western Province and North West at Newlands.
Pieter, playing for Western Province, completed a ‘not out’ century on the last day of the match, while both André and Janneman made centuries for North West as they chased down the WP total on the final day.
Protea opening batsman, Pieter Malan joined his younger brother, Janneman, in the international cricketing arena when he made his test debut against England in the second test played at Newlands earlier this month. Janneman made his T20 debut for the Proteas against Pakistan in February 2019 and the third brother, André is also a first class cricketer.
Pieter and Janneman, although not at test level, join a list of famous brothers who have represented South Africa at international level. Going as far back as the 19th century, Bernard Tancred (1899, 2 tests) and his brother, Vincent (1899, 1 test) represented South Africa against England. The third brother, Louis Tancred earned his colours between 1902 and 1913 in 14 tests (3 as captain). The Tancreds are the only example of three brothers who have played test cricket for South Africa. In the early part of the 20th century, the Tapscott brothers, George and Lionel, represented South Africa. George played one test in 1913 and Lionel made two test appearances in 1925.
The first post-World War II brothers to don the green and gold were the two Pitheys, Tony and younger brother David. The Pithey brothers were born in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) and played for that country when Rhodesia took part in the South African provincial competitions. Tony (1957–’65, 17 tests) was a top order batsman and David, (1963–’67, 8 tests) a spin bowler and lower order batter.
The Pithey brothers played in the same era as another famous brother pairing, Peter and Graeme Pollock. The Pitheys and Pollocks formed part of Trevor Goddard’s Springbok team that toured Australia in 1963/’64. It was the first time that two pairs of brothers represented a country in the same test match. Peter (1961–’70, 28 tests) and Graeme Pollock (1963–’70, 23 tests) were ranked 3rd in an all-time greatest brother list by Rob Lancaster in an Australian cricket publication.
The top two spots on his list were Steve and Mark Waugh, followed by Ian and Greg Chappell. He ranked Zimbabweans, Andy and Grant Flower 4th on the list. Graeme Pollock was voted South Africa’s Cricketer of the 20th Century and the Pollock cricket dynasty was further enhanced by Peter’s son, Shaun, a legend in his own right. I’m sure the Pollocks would top a greatest cricketing family ranking!
Before the turn of the century, Peter and Gary Kirsten made their entry into South African cricket records. The two Kirstens are half-brothers and for that reason were not considered for Lancaster’s greatest brother ranking. Peter (1992–’94, 12 tests) and Gary (1993–2004, 101 tests, 185 ODIs) played a major role in South Africa’s re-introduction to the International arena. Gary also made his name as a highly-regarded cricket coach. He guided India to World Cup glory in 2011, before assuming national coaching duties for South Africa between 2011 and 2013.
More recent cricketing brothers include Albie Morkel (2004–’15, 1 test, 50 ODIs) and younger brother, Morné (2006–’18, 86 tests, 117 ODIs). The brothers Morkel played many internationals together in the shorter format of the game, but the one test Albie played did not include his brother.
If we take the Malan brothers as a yardstick when we include the shorter games (ODIs and T20s), as opposed to test participation only, my feeling is that we will see more brothers in tandem at international level. The shorter formats are playing a more significant part throughout the world of cricket and will increase participation by siblings in international cricket.