Nine non-Australian cricketers who married Aussie girls
Four of the Nine non-Australian cricketers who married Aussie girls (from clockwise, top left): Garry Sobers, Chris Cairns, Wasim Akram and Shikhar Dhawan

Australia has been a country where many touring cricketers fell in love with Australian girls and subsequently got married to their love. H Natarajan lists nine such non-Australian cricketers.

 

 

 
1.  Frank Tyson, England

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Frank Tyson cuts a lonely figure on the Northampton railway station in 1954 on his way to join the English team for the 1954-55 tour of Australia. It was on this tour that he met his future wife.

Frank Tyson cuts a lonely figure on the Northampton railway station in 1954 on his way to join the English team for the 1954-55 tour of Australia. It was on this tour that he met his future wife.

Like Harold Larwood, his predecessor in the English team, Frank Tyson left his country and immigrated to Australia to make it his permanent home. Tyson fell in love with a Melbourne girl named Ursula Miels on England’s 1954-55 tour. The English paceman married her in a Melbourne church on November 22, 1957 amid much publicity. The Tysons are happily married and have a son (Philip), two daughters (Sara and Anna) besides eight grandchildren.

 
2.  Mohammad Ilyas, Pakistan

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On his second tour to Australia, Mohammad Ilyas, who played 10 Tests for Pakistan between 1965-1969, was accused of indiscipline. In his book, “The Unquiet Ones: A History of Pakistan Cricket”, Osman Samiuddin writes: “Mohammad Ilyas claims he punched (Pakistan cricket board chief) Hafeez Kardar after an argument over discipline and was removed from the squad.” Samiuddin adds that according to the then Pakistan cricket board secretary Zafar Altaf, Ilyas arranged a hasty press conference where he attacked Kardar’s and his [Altaf’s] families. “He then spent one night on a park bench, applied for Australian citizenship soon after and stayed on, playing first-grade cricket in Sydney and married an Australian woman,” says Samiuddin. Father-in-law of Imran Farhat, Ilyas continued his uneasy relationship with the Pakistan Cricket Board, when he was suspended as chief selector last year.

 

3.  Bishan Singh Bedi, India

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Bishan Singh Bedi (left) with, Abid Ali, Mayor of Melbourne RT Talbot, ErapalliPrasanna and skipper Tiger Pataudi during India’s tour of Australia in 1967-68. It was on this tour that the 21-year-old Bedi fell in love with an Australian girl and later married her. Photo: The Hindu.

The ace left-arm spinner fell in love with Australian girl Glenith at a party in Melbourne during India’s tour of Australia in 1967-68. Their love blossomed and Bedi soon married her. They couple had a son, who was named Gavas Inder Singh. The name Gavas was an abbreviation of [Sunil] Gavaskar, who had made huge impact on his debut for India by scoring 774 runs in four Tests against the West Indies in the Caribbean. Sadly, his marriage and his friendship with Gavaskar soured. Bedi’s marriage to Glenith ended in a divorce. He subsequent remarried and has a son from the second marriage — Angad Bedi, a well-known model and actor.Bedi also has daughter from each of his marriages — Gillinder from Glenith and Neha from the second marriage.

 

4.  Garry Sobers, West Indies

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The legendary West Indian married Australian Prudence Kirby on September 12, 1969 at Nottingham. Sobers had met Pru 18 months prior when she was in England promoting an Australian fruit, while the 33-year-old Sobers was playing county cricket for Nottinghamshire.Sobers has two sons (Matthew and Daniel)from his marriage to Pru, besides and an adopted daughter (Genevieve). The couple, however, broke up in 1984 and their marriage ended in divorce six years later.

 

5.  Carl Hooper, West Indies

Connie and Carl Hooper with their two children. Photo: Kaieteur News
Connie and Carl Hooper with their two children. Photo: Kaieteur News

The quiet West Indian all-rounder fell in love with an Australian girl [Connie] with an advertising background. Carl married Connie and made Adelaide his home. Carl and Connie have a son and a daughter from their marriage.

 

6.  Chris Cairns, New Zealand

Chris Cairns with his wife Mel Croser in March 2012.
Chris Cairns with his wife Mel Croser in March 2012.

Cairns married Melanie Croser, an Australian who works for the sports marketing group Octagon in Sydney. It’s his third marriage.

 

7.  Shikhar Dhawan, India

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Shikhar Dhawan with his wife Ayesha Mukherjee

Dhawan met Australian Ayesha Mukherjee on a social networking site. The two were common friends with Harbhajan Singh, who introduced them. They got engaged in 2009 and married on October 30, 2012. Ayesha, who has two daughters from an earlier marriage, has a British mother and a Bengali father.

 
8.  Wasim Akram, Pakistan

Wasim Akram and Shaniera Thompson. Photo: Shaniera
Wasim Akram and Shaniera Thompson. Photo: Shaniera

The strikingly handsome Pakistani all-rounder got engaged to Melbourne girl Shaniera Thompson whom he had met in 2011 while on a visit to Melbourne and got married to her on August 12, 2013 in Lahore. The couple was blessed with a girl, Aiyla, at Melbourne hospital in December 2014. Akram was earlier married to the statuesque Huma with whom he has two sons — Taimoor and Akbar. Huma died of multiple-organ failure in a Chennai’s Apollo Hospital in October 2009.

 
9. Morne Morkel, South Africa

Morne and Kelly on their wedding day.
Morne and Kelly on their wedding day.

Morne Morkel married Australia’s Channel Nine reporter Roz Kelly in December 2014. Morkel popped the big question at Dubai in 2013, when the couple was holidaying. The Morkels are soon expecting a bundle of joy in their lives.

 

 

(H Natarajan is a journalistic schizophrenic who oscillates between two polar opposite forms of writing —analytical and insightful on the one hand, and rib-tickling humour on the other).

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