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England’s Overton twins Craig and Jamie hope for slice of history at Headingley

Jamie Overton (left) and Craig Overton are at Headingley this week (Tim Goode/PA)
Jamie Overton (left) and Craig Overton are at Headingley this week (Tim Goode/PA)

The last time the Overton twins shared a field it ended up with elder brother Craig nursing a concussion, but he and Jamie are hoping to make happier memories, and a slice of history, at Headingley this week.

The 6ft 5in seamers are standing by should England decide to rotate their pace attack during the third and final LV= Insurance Test against New Zealand, with the series already secure and a one-off clash against India following close at hand.

For the uncapped Jamie, who is the younger sibling by three minutes, it is uncharted territory, while Craig is hoping to add to his eight previous caps.

Craig Overton (left) and Jamie Overton during a nets session
Craig (left) and Jamie Overton are standing by should England decide to rotate their pace attack during the third Test (Tim Goode/PA)

The duo have played together numerous times over the years, with North Devon, Somerset and England Under-19s, but came head to head in first-class cricket for the first time just a matter of days ago.

Jamie, who left Taunton for Surrey in 2020, struck his brother on the helmet with a rapid bouncer during a county championship match last week leading to a delayed concussion diagnosis.

Craig was substituted out of the match and had to pass return-to-play protocols on Tuesday morning before taking part in England’s training session.

“I think any sibling rivalry is always going to have a bit of extra spice and me and Craig are probably even spicier than most people,” said Jamie.

“It’s always gonna heat up a little bit when we play each other, but that competitive edge is a nice thing. The family obviously didn’t like seeing Craig on the floor but I think they would have told us off it we weren’t giving our all; if we didn’t, Dad would definitely tell us off.”

Craig is quick to claim he was beaten for “lack of pace” and was simply too early on the pull, but also admits Jamie is the fastest bowler he has faced this season.

Despite their physical similarities, they have become very different bowlers with Jamie more unpredictable, appreciably quicker and more injury prone.

Craig, meanwhile, has settled for a less explosive style that has seen him become a more prolific wicket-taker and, until now, higher achiever.

“I think you can see with Craig’s first-class stats, he doesn’t really miss a length very often. I might be a bit more wayward, but potentially with a few more magic balls in there,” Jamie added.

Craig (left) and Jamie Overton
Craig (left) and Jamie have played together numerous times over the years (Martin Rickett/PA)

Craig, meanwhile, is content with his role as the more-reliable option.

He said: “I’m not the one who can bowl at 90 miles per hour, that’s not me, so I’ve always been that person who bowls steadily.

“I haven’t had that x-factor that you sometimes need, but I know I can hit line and length pretty well and try to use my skills a bit more than brute force and brute pace.

“As I’ve got older I’ve understood that a bit more. I’ve tried to do the basics, not go for many runs and let him hit people in the head.”

If it does come down to one place between two Overtons in Leeds, there will no hard feelings, with the same question having come up plenty of times before.

“It’s been like that since we were 16 years old. My first game of first-class cricket we were competing for the same spot and I ended up playing,” recalled Craig.

“We’d both said to each other ‘whatever happens, we’ll be supportive’ and we’ve always been like that. We want what’s best for the team and if that means one of us misses out, that’s the way it is.”

Jamie also remembers selection going for and against him at different times, but having yet to make his Test debut he is eager to get the nod.

“I remember him playing west of England before me, then I got through to the under-19s before Craig but then he got into the main squad before me,” he said.

“It’s always worked that one has been ahead of the other and the other’s caught up. It sounds horrible but if this means I catch up and go one step ahead of him here, that would be amazing.”