© Getty Images
Clockwise from top left: Steve O’Keefe, Basil D’Oliveira, Bill O’Reilly, Kevin O’Brien © Getty Images

When he made his Test debut against Pakistan at Dubai, the Malaysia-born Stephen Norman John O’Keefe gave trivia-scavengers across the world a field day. Abhishek Mukherjee explores the one related to punctuation marks.

“Anglicised versions of Irish surnames often contain an apostrophe after an O, for example O’Doole. Some Scottish and Irish surnames use an apostrophe after an M, for example M’Gregor. The apostrophe here may be seen as marking a contraction where the prefix Mc or Mac would normally appear. However, it may also arise from confusion of ‘(turned comma or “6-quote”), which was used as a substitute for superscript c when printing with hand-set metal type. Compare: M’Lean, McLean, M’Lean.” — Wikipedia.

The wonderful world of cricket trivia has often involved cricketers’ names. For example, the moment Bruce Pairaudeau made his debut, quizmasters across the world tried to find names with most Us in the same way Tahir Naqqash or Abdul Razzaq had made them search for consecutive Qs or Zs. Steve O’Keefe, with an apostrophe in his name, has opened the floodgates as well.

Let us, then, have a look at Test cricketers with apostrophes in their names.

Cricketer Country Tests ODIs T20Is
Basil Lewis D’Oliveira England

44

4

Norman Clifford Louis O’Neill Australia

42

William Joseph (Bill) O’Reilly Australia

27

Kerry James O’Keeffe Australia

24

2

Iain Edward O’Brien New Zealand

22

10

4

Shayne Barry O’Connor New Zealand

19

38

Murphy Logo Su’a New Zealand

13

12

David Robert O’Sullivan New Zealand

11

3

Sidney O’Linn South Africa

7

Simon Patrick O’Donnell Australia

6

87

Antao D’Souza Pakistan

6

John William D’Arcy New Zealand

5

Leo Patrick Joseph O’Brien Australia

5

Timothy Carew O’Brien England

5

Edward Lambert (Ted) a’Beckett Australia

4

Jack O’Connor England

4

John Denis Alphonsus (Jack) O’Connor Australia

4

Stephen Norman John O’Keefe Australia

1

7

[Trivia: Sidney O’Linn was registered as Sidney O’Linsky at birth. That, however, does not stop him from being a member of this elite clan.]

For the sake of completion (and to do justice to the O’Brien brothers — who are certainly better cricketers than some of those in the list above), let us do the corresponding list for international cricketers who have not earned Test caps.

Cricketer Country ODIs T20Is
Kevin Joseph O’Brien Ireland

80

37

Niall John O’Brien Ireland

60

21

George Hubert O’Brien Bermuda

9

3

Natsai M’shangwe Zimbabwe

6

5

(Abhishek Mukherjee is the Deputy Editor and Cricket Historian at CricketCountry. He blogs here and can be followed on Twitter here.)