The Overtons: England ponder samey attack

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The Overtones are, in the words of Wikipedia, “a UK based vocal harmony group” (although it’s hard not to think the name would be a far better fit for an Undertones tribute act). The Overtons, in contrast, are a UK based quick bowling partnership. Don’t let your damned auto-correct get them confused.

We have a friend who is one half of a pair of twins. (You don’t need to say ‘pair of twins’ do you? You can just say twins. In fact you don’t even really need to get into fractions as he’s obviously one person and twins are obviously two people.)

We have a friend who is a twin. When you are a twin, that will always, unavoidably, be a big part of who you are. He once told us that some of his mum’s friends did this thing where he would walk into a room alone and they would exclaim, “It’s the twins!”

We thought about this story quite a lot a few years back in the years when Frank and Andy Schleck were in contention for the Tour de France. Frank and Andy aren’t twins – Frank is actually five years older – but they are physically similar (tall, incredibly skinny) and had sufficiently similar strengths and weaknesses on the bike that commentators would routinely lump them in together as if they were one person when discussing how the day’s stage might unfold.

“Today’s route really suits the Schlecks,” they’d say. “The Schlecks will be keen to take time in the mountains. We can expect the Schlecks to attack.”

Despite their physical similarities and the fact they’re both quick bowlers, Craig and Jamie Overton seem to have sidestepped this. Just as Mark Waugh gravitated towards the flighty middle-order stylist trope and Steve Waugh became the grittiest gnarldog bastard who ever narrowed his eyes and scowled another hundred against the bloody Poms, you’d be hard pressed to treat the Overton twins as the same sort of player.

“I’ve tried to do the basics and not go for many runs and let him hit people in the head,” as Craig put it this week.

Craig’s the steadier, safer, more attritional bowler. Jamie’s the quicker, wilder one. If there’s a risk here, it’s not sameyness; it’s that they lean into those differences too much. Line and length is important for Jamie too. An occasional quicker ball would make Craig a harder bowler to face.

So they could both feature in the England Test team against New Zealand this week. But will they? There’s a rash of previews like this one focusing on the possibility – because the Overtons’ first Test together can only happen once – but we may all be wasting our time.

If however one of them is omitted, it seems safe to assume that despite their names, physiques, upbringing and faces, it won’t be to avoid a samey attack.

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      1. When you borrow other people’s songs…

        …including those with corny rhymes such as:

        “I’ll take my chances
        I forgot how nice romance is”…

        …your lyrics don’t get quoted much.

        Daisy had a twin sister; Buttercup. I should imagine that the two of them with lacrosse sticks in their hands were the stuff of nightmares. I guess that Daisy went for the basics and let Buttercup hit people on the head, but I might be wrong.

  1. Meet the new England: same as the old England, but with no socks.

  2. I can confirm that, indeed, being “the twins” is annoying (and we’re only fraternal). Personally, I solved that issue by moving 5000 miles away. It does make it tricky to get to Grace Road, though.

    I’ve never bothered to figure out which Overton is which (or which Curran, or indeed, if those two are even twins). But Callum Parkinson definitely is, whatever anyone else, or statistics, or the England selection committee might say.

    1. Well there’s a thing. Honestly, the secrets you people (the readers) keep from us.

    2. I can confirm that, indeed, being “the twins” is annoying (and we’re only fraternal).

      I’m confused – which one of you is writing this?

    1. If there’s not a Mystery Free Hit voted on by the audience, can it truly be called entertainment?

    2. Also inadvertently sets up “the sports business” as if it’s some sort of life or death undertaking.

      Appreciate the sentiment is the opposite of that but distinguishing between sport and entertainment makes it sound they’re forcing themselves to pretend sport isn’t of earth shattering importance when really they think it is.

  3. One would argue that selecting both Overtons was not something the general public were prepared to accept at this time.

    They also look so similar I have trouble telling them apart from photos. I wonder if they could swap places now and again without anyone noticing?

      1. Back when they both played for Somerset we reckon they took turns being Craig whenever they didn’t really fancy charging in.

        “Feeling a bit goosed. Can I have a Craig day?”

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