Mitchell Marsh emulated his father Geoff and elder brother Shaun when he made his Test debut against Pakistan © Getty Images
Mitchell Marsh emulated his father Geoff and elder brother Shaun when he made his Test debut against Pakistan © Getty Images

With Mitchell Marsh making his debut for Australia in the first Test against Pakistan, he ensured the Marsh family entered an elite list of father-son trios to have played Test cricket, joining the Amarnaths and the Hadlees. Shiamak Unwalla lists out the three families to enjoy this rare honour.

1. Walter, Dayle, and Sir Richard Hadlee for New Zealand: Walter Hadlee, often referred to as the Father of New Zealand cricket, played 11 Tests for New Zealand between 1937 and 1951. Had it not been for the second World War, he could well have played for a longer period and ended with far more than the 543 runs he scored. Walter managed a ton and two half-centuries, but ended his career with an average of just 30.16 and a highest score of 116.

Dayle Hadlee played 15 Tests more than his father, and had a far more distinguished career. A fast bowler, Dayle took 71 wickets at 33.64 and a strike rate of 68.7 with a best bowling performance of seven for 61. However, Dayle paled in comparison to his illustrious younger brother.

Sir Richard Hadlee, perhaps the greatest fast bowler of all time and undisputedly New Zealand’s finest all-rounder, took what was then a record 431 wickets in his 86 Tests. More than handy with the bat, Richard also scored over 3000 runs with a highest score of 151 not out. He averaged a healthy 27.16 with 15 half-centuries and two hundreds.

A third Hadlee brother, Barry, played ODIs, as did Richard’s ex-wife Karen.

2. Lala, Mohinder, and Surinder Amarnath for India: Amarnath was famous for scoring a hundred on Test debut (as well as the first hundred by an Indian) and for being one of Indian cricket’s early great all-rounders. A Test average of just 24.38 hardly tells the full tale of “The Lala” (Nanik Amarnath Bharadwaj, to give his full name). His handy medium-pacers brought him 45 Test wickets as well.

Mohinder “Jimmy” Amarnath is the younger son but he made his Test debut much before his older brother. Mohinder got the reputation of being one of the best players of outright pace in the world, and was known for his savage hooking and pulling. He could have played more than just 69 Tests, but was the victim of being dropped on a number of occasions — not always due to performance-related issues. Like his father, he too was a valuable medium-pacer. His all-round performances won him the Man of the Match award in the semi-final and the final of the 1983 World Cup.

Surinder Amarnath was perhaps the most elegant of the three batsmen, but had nowhere near the same levels of consistency as his father and brother. His 10 Tests fetched him just 550 runs, and though he too scored a ton on debut, like his father before him it proved to be the only time he got to triple-figures in Tests. Like Mohinder, he too bore the brunt of some questionable decisions by the selectors.

Rajinder, the youngest son, played First-Class cricket, as has Surinder’s son Digvijay.

3. Geoff, Shaun, and Mitchell Marsh for Australia: Geoff Marsh, a veteran of 50 Tests, was famous for being a dogged opener. He was perhaps more successful in ODIs, but scored over 2800 Test runs at 33.18 with four hundreds and 15 fifties. He also became the first cricketer to win the World Cup as player and coach.

Shaun Marsh shot into the limelight thanks to the Indian Premier League (IPL), where he continues to be a giant. However, his Test debut — against Sri Lanka at Pallekele — yielded 141 top-class runs. That he has played just eight Tests more since then is due to a lack of fitness and form. Shaun can still make a comeback to the national side in all formats; the talent is unquestionable. But whether or not he can overcome his own inconsistency remains to be seen.

Mitchell Marsh, who debuted against Pakistan at Dubai, made a name for himself in his very ODI series by smashing two tremendous match-winning 80s against Zimbabwe and South Africa. His 86 not out off 51 balls against South Africa, a particularly vicious innings, included three sixes off successive balls against perhaps the greatest contemporary bowler: Dale Steyn.

(Shiamak Unwalla, a reporter with CricketCountry, is a self-confessed Sci-Fi geek and Cricket fanatic. You can follow him on Twitter @ShiamakUnwalla)