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When Tamil Nadu players Baba Aparajith and Baba Indrajith scored their centuries in Gauhati last week, most people noted the historic and rare achievement of twins hitting a benchmark while playing together. It also brought out the nature of the relationship that twins across the world share.
Twins are of two types: fraternal and identical. Identical twins are born of one egg from the mother whereas fraternal twins are born of two different eggs. Typically, identical twins are truly identical. They are the spitting images of each other, grow together, share many qualities and tendencies although they can be diametrically opposite in certain things.
Fraternal twins are more like brothers, one elder. They are not identical. Looking closely will give away their physical differences. One develops faster and the other catches up.
Aparajith and Indrajith are fraternal twins with Aparajith often playing the elder brother though Indrajith was born 12 minutes earlier. Aparajith looks just a shade older and more mature than the more innocent eyed Indrajith.
Mainly a batsman who can bowl off spin, Aparajith has been on the CSK and Rising Pune Super Giants bench. Though only 27 years old, he is a veteran of 10 years in the top circuit. His entry into the big league was through the Under 19 route – an indication of the privileged upbringing of the twins. In an earlier article, we had discussed how there are three routes to the big league: Junior cricket, TNCA league and TNPL. The first two require much financial and family backing and background while the TNPL route allows wild card entries for cricketers from small towns and villages.
The Baba brothers came through the junior route and have family backing. Their father RN Baba has served in the support staff of the Indian cricket team when N Srinivasan was the BCCI president and later in CSK. Though a physician with his own hospital in Ambattur, RN Baba has handled media relations for the Indian team. So the Baba twins were born into the cricketing world and it was only natural they would pursue the game professionally. Their father took them to a coach when they were four years old.
The Baba twins were born into the cricketing world and it was only natural they would pursue the game professionally. Their father took them to a coach when they were four years old.
It was Indrajith who made an impact first and captained Tamil Nadu Under 16 and 19. He made the team win the title in south zone tournaments and Aparajith was a player in the team.
Aparajith pulled himself up through sheer hard work and played for Tamil Nadu in Ranji trophy. He hit a double century in a south zone match in 2013-14. He was selected for List A matches and played for India in the Under 19 World Cup in 2012.
Aparajith has a strike rate of more than 120 in T20, which is not that high, but he has been consistent.
Indrajith career graph didn’t spike as quickly. His first class debut happened two years later and he has largely been confined to Tamil Nadu. He debuted in List A, which is the India level, in 2015. His strike rate in T20 is 100.
Indrajith is a top order batsman unlike Aparajith who is middle order but can play anywhere as the situation demands. Indrajith fancies himself as a leg break bowler with a googly in his arsenal. Indrajith is more a India Blue or Green player, lower in the List A.
They train together and are often seen together. When this writer approached Aparajith for an interview in the past, he insisted that he bring his brother along, too.
Aparajith has better bowling statistics too. He had a five wicket haul against Australia A.
In first class matches, Indrajith has 11 hundreds out of 54 matches while Aparajith, though having only ten hundreds in 81 matches, has been more consistent. In List A matches, Aparajith has seven hundreds while Indrajith has one.
After the Duleep Trophy in 2017-18 in which he was scoring slowly, Indrajith changed his technique and tried to ramp up his game. And his brother has been more than supportive. They train together and are often seen together. When this writer approached Aparajith for an interview in the past, he insisted that he bring his brother along, too.
In Gauhati, Aparajith decided to stand down, letting his brother gain the upper hand. Aparajith was playing the sheet anchor that day. He played more balls, scored less and had fewer fours. Aparajith let Indrajith shine. That day was more Indrajith’s day than Aparajith’s and it looked like Aparajith wanted it that way.
The twins came together on Day 1 at 50 for 2. Indrajith was the more aggressive one. He often danced down the track to hit inside out the many left arm spinners in Chhattisgarh team. Many shots were directed towards the cover area and third man. It was a technique Kane Williamson and even Dravid have put to much use. Out of Indrajith’s 127 runs of 141 balls, 84 came from fours. At the end of the day, Tamil Nadu were 308 for 4. Aparajith hit 8 fours and two sixes in his 100 of 197 balls and was unbeaten that day. Their partnership was worth 206 runs.
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