Jamie and Craig Overton have developed a ‘spicy’, feisty but supportive sibling rivalry over their county careers – now the pair are preparing to become the first male twins to play Test cricket for England
- Craig and Jamie Overton aim to be first male twins to play Tests for England
- Craig was hit by bouncer from twin Jamie in County Championship last week
- The twins could now play for the same side again with England at Headingley
- The duo could play if England decide to rest James Anderson and Matthew Potts
Craig Overton attempts to play down, in ‘older’ brother style, the effects of a bouncer delivered by twin Jamie that struck him on the head and left him pole-axed.
‘I would say he did me for lack of pace,’ smiled Craig, the senior Overton by three minutes. ‘I was through the pull shot too early. No, it was quick. Then, when I came back out to bat after retiring hurt, he bowled his fastest delivery of the day to me. That was a nice welcome back. But I sort of expected it.’
The incident came when the Overtons played against each other for the first time in the County Championship at Taunton last week. Now they are back together preparing to become, if both make the final cut, the first male twins to play Test cricket for England.
Craig Overton (R) and twin brother Jamie are preparing to become the first male twins to play Test cricket for England
Craig was struck by a bouncer from Jamie in a County Championship game last week
They were reunited at Headingley on Tuesday in practice for Thursday’s third LV= Insurance Test discussing their sibling rivalry and their chances of making history should England throw in the rapid Jamie for his debut alongside the more established Craig.
But first that exchange back in Somerset where they played alongside each other until Jamie left to try to further his England aspirations with Surrey. It was one that led to Craig being diagnosed with concussion but not before he had, maybe unwisely, returned to the fray to renew hostilities with a bowler he knows particularly well.
‘I have not faced him much,’ continued Craig. ‘We were always told to avoid each other in the nets because it could get a bit spicy as we tried to outdo each other. We were usually put in different ones at Somerset which was probably wise.
‘So that was the first time I’d faced him in a proper game. I knew a bumper was coming at some point and it was his second ball that clocked me on the head. But it was good fun. I enjoyed the challenge. It’s not often you face bowlers at 90mph.’
The effects of a bouncer delivered by Jamie at Taunton last week left Craig pole-axed
So were you concerned when you struck your brother at 90 miles per hour, Jamie? ‘Absolutely,’ he said. ‘Most fast bowlers don’t intend to hurt people. The game was just starting to drift away from us a little bit so I was trying to make him feel uncomfortable.’
Jamie certainly did that and earned the praise of their dad Mark who tweeted how proud he was of his two ‘little uns’, who both happen to stand at 6ft 5in tall.
‘He obviously didn’t like seeing Craig on the floor but he would have told us off if we weren’t giving our all,’ said Jamie. ‘It’s always a hundred per cent whatever we do. We’re both quite feisty and if you get us into battle I’m not going to be the one who backs down.’
The Overtons, 28, will take to Headingley together on Thursday should England rest both Jimmy Anderson, who was carrying a minor leg injury at the end of the second Test, and Matthew Potts, who has had a big workload for Durham this season and in his first two Tests. The possibility of captain Ben Stokes missing out through illness might also open the door to one of the no-nonsense brothers from North Devon.
The possibility of captain Ben Stokes missing out through illness might also open the door
Alternatively, they could be competing for one slot at No 8. ‘It’s been like that since we were 16-years-old,’ said Craig. We were competing for the same spot in my first game of first-class cricket and I ended up playing and Jamie missed out.
‘We both said to each other before we found out ”whatever happens we’ll be supportive” and we’ve always been like that. We want what’s best for the team.’
But Jamie couldn’t help adding: ‘It’s always been that one has been ahead of the other and then the other’s caught up. It sounds horrible but if this means I catch up and go one step ahead of him that would be amazing.’ Spoken like a true aspiring ‘younger’ brother.
Alternatively, they could be competing for one slot at No8 to play against New Zealand