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The rise of the English South Africans

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Oliver Brett | 15:48 UK time, Thursday, 5 November 2009

In the middle of October I saw this thread on the 606 message boards: "Not a wind-up attempt, but as your side is half full of South Africans, if you had to choose an English XI, who would be in it?

"I was about to do my own XI but when I checked Stephen Moore for Strauss's spot I found out he's from Jo'burg. So I thought about Ed Joyce, and he's born in Dublin! Can't find an opener."

Kevin Pietersen on the 2004-05 tour of South Africa

Of course this might simply be light-hearted banter, but there remains an undercurrent of xenophobia from some England fans directed at certain England players, and in my view it is very much misplaced.

Surely, the rich history of English cricket has been enriched by the foreign imports. And in the case of South Africans, the trickle began a long time ago, with Basil D'Oliveira in 1966, continued with Tony Greig six years later, moved through the aggressive middle-order pairing of Allan Lamb and Robin Smith, and finally arrived at Kevin Pietersen and Jonathan Trott.

And it's not just been South Africans. Andy Caddick, whose New Zealand twang is still just about detectable, was the hero last time England won a Test in Australia, Graeme Hick was a Zimbabwean, the Hollioake brothers Australian, while Gladstone Small, Phil DeFreitas and Devon Malcolm all came from the Caribbean. England's captain at the start of this decade, Nasser Hussain, was born in Chennai, India.

Go back further in time, and there are many other instances. Surely, to attach too much significance to any perceived recent trend, to get too worked up about the dwindling numbers of English-born players in the England dressing-room, is to attach too much nationalism to the simple pleasure of supporting the English team.

It is, in any case, an exaggeration to say England's probable starting XI for the first Test in Port Elizabeth is "half full of South Africans". The focus is on four players - in other words barely a third - and two of them can be swiftly exonerated.

Skipper Andrew Strauss was born in Johannesburg, but left South Africa at the age of six. He first learnt the game in Australia, as it happens. Matt Prior was 11 when he left South Africa, and proudly claims to have lost his accent "within a week".

Pietersen and the new man in the squad, Trott, clearly have stronger links with proteas, braais and springboks. So let's home in on them.

Pietersen made a brave decision as a young man to emigrate after KwaZulu-Natal had told him they could not guarantee him a place in their side. Trott was born in Cape Town and played for South Africa at both under-15 and under-19 level before using his British ancestry to gain a place in Warwickshire squad.

graphicThis graph shows the rising value of the runs provided by South African-born players

Respected cricket writer Neil Manthorp - who has emigrated the opposite way, from England to South Africa - says there will inevitably be plenty of mention of certain players' roots in the coming weeks.

"There will be jokes about how Trott and Pietersen won't need to be in their hotels, that they can stay with their parents. We might get a bit bored of the jokes but it will be a lot more humorous than four years ago. There was genuine anger then."

Indeed. Pietersen, the 2005 model, with upturned skunk hairdo and comments freely distributed about the perceived iniquities of racial quotas, was easy prey for some rough barracking on his first tour four and a half years ago.

But he has matured since then, and Manthorp confirms Pietersen's own suspicions, that South Africans are ready to shed much of their animosity towards him. Besides, the jeering did not work - the boy from Pietermaritzburg took three one-day centuries off the Proteas on his first tour.

When he left Cape Town, Trott was "not the most popular sort of guy, difficult to get on with," says Manthorp - and feels the 28-year-old may be something of a target from the crowd at the third Test, if not in the way the more vocal Pietersen was in 2005.

It is already becoming hard to work out just who Trott's friends are. He was targeted for criticism from Michael Vaughan in the ex-England skipper's new book. Why? Trott was spotted by Vaughan celebrating with the South Africans who had beaten England in the 2008 series. Inevitably, Strauss has already been forced to defend Trott's corner.

But if there is a certain type of English fan who bridles at the presence of Trott and Pietersen in the side, then is there a certain type of South African worried about the talent drain towards the English shires?

It's doubtful. Pietersen, who famously struggled to get into his school's first XI, is regarded as something of a freak, a player whose talent did not blossom until he had abandoned KwaZulu-Natal for Nottinghamshire.

And of the current crop of South African youngsters who have done the maths and realised how much easier it is to break into one of 18 county sides as opposed to the six franchise teams in their own country, only one - the Somerset wicketkeeper Craig Kieswetter - looks like a probable international prospect. The 21-year-old was recently parachuted into England's winter performance programme, and qualifies to play for the national side in February.

Craig KieswetterSomerset's 21-year-old wicketkeeper Craig Kieswetter qualifies for England next February

Around two years ago South African followers did get a bit concerned, with the Kolpak loophole making it even easier for counties to register an almost limitless supply of their countrymen, but that fear has been eased by the Proteas' ascent to the top of the Test rankings ladder.

And as it happens, Kolpak contracts are becoming a distinct rarity, with most South Africans in future summers probably having to unearth a European grandparent or two to gain a county contract.

Furthermore, South Africa's under-19 side is performing well and the academy is well regarded.

Manthorp is unequivocal: "Proponents of positive discrimination will say there are a hell of a lot more kids coming through. It's a hard world, if you're white and don't like it go play in England.

"The reality is cricket at school and club level in South Africa is still active and strong, whereas every time I come to England I see more and more clubs close, and more schools where the game is no longer played. The game there is certainly in decline."

It is a depressing view which the England and Wales Cricket Board will dispute, as they continue to talk of their commitment to delivering funds to the grass-roots of the game.

But the irony is that because of the apparent lack of high-class homegrown players, there are more places at the counties for immigrant South Africans - or imports from anywhere else, provided they meet the increasingly complicated entry criteria.

These players, in turn, help raise the standard of county cricket - despite the ECB's reservations - and as a result the counties should eventually deliver better-prepared candidates for the international game.

So just remember that when Pietersen, Trott and Kieswetter celebrate winning the World Cup in 2015.

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  • Comment number 1.

    Interesting subject to raise Oliver - buy I think it's obvious why people have hesitations about the likes of Pietersen playing for England.

    I just can't feel patriotic about Pietersen and Trott though. They are South African. They are playing for England for reasons of personal ambition, not patriotism.

    They were trained/ schooled in South Africa, so we can't take any credit for them at all. They also have very South African, and not English, characteristics, which arguably make them the players they are - ie abrasiveness and tremendous self confidence.

    Tony Greig was the same. He riled Lilley, yet backed his words with deeds. I couldn't have imagined the more naturally reticent Englishmen doing the same thing.

    And it's not xenophobia. If we let anyone play for England, what is the point of national sport?

  • Comment number 2.

    Considering our sizeable Asian population, you have to wonder why there aren't more "non-English" nationals in the team who identify themselves as English/ Welsh. I'm happier to have someone like Nasser Hussain - grew up in this country, clearly identifies himself as British - playing for England than someone who plays because they're not good enough to play for somewhere else. Otherwise we get into the ridiculous scenario football has found itself in with Brazillians who have been nationalised to another country rapidly gaining prominance across Europe.

  • Comment number 3.

    Im honoured to find myself being quoted by Oliver, a nice surprise!

    I actually didnt intend the article to be offensive or some form of wind up.

    There has been a huge influence by foreign players in English cricket, especially by South Africans in recent years.

    I dont particularly disagree with England obtaining the services of these players, if they're good enough and eligable to play for England then why not? Although i don't think i would feel the same way if Cricket Australia took the same approach.

    The reason i wrote the article was that by my thinking Englands most dangerous and reliable players are the South Afrcian contingent. I thought how different the England side would look if you were only allowed to choose players who were born in England.

    It would also bring up new names into the discussion other than the same group of cricketers that the English selectors seem to go for time and time again, whether they are successful or failures.

    I struggled so much to name a side, that i had to use Mike Atherton as an opener in mine!

    I think the excercise proves how much of an influence 'foreigners' are to English cricket. England well and truely rely on these players, and if they were not around, what would the England cricket team look like, and more importantly, what kind of force would they be in international cricket in the present day?

  • Comment number 4.

    "Of course this might simply be light-hearted banter, but there remains an undercurrent of xenophobia from some England fans directed at certain England players, and in my view it is very much misplaced."

    The problem on 606 (as the post you quote demonstrates) isn't so much English fans with xenophobic views, as fans of other teams who find it amusing to 'light heartedly' point out that there players in the England side that they consider un-English.

    I'd also like to recommend this similar article from earlier inthe week:

  • Comment number 5.

    Ultimately supporting your country should be about more than supporting say, a county team who can sign or import whatever players they like. A national side is a reflection of that country's strength or weakness in a particular sport and England's cricket team is in danger of losing its identity. In a couple of years we could have KP, Moore, Trott and Kieswetter all playing for England and I for one wouldn't pay to watch that team - I'd begrudge my money be used to pay mercenaries rather than developing the grass roots.

  • Comment number 6.

    I don't agree with sportsmen having the opportunity to change nationalities. As an Irishman, I am well aware how we have managed to take advantage of this as per the Jack Charlton era "granny rule", however I do take umbrage with those that have already represented their country and can then still change nationalities. This is what has happened with Ed Joyce and Eoin Morgan. By taking two of our best players, cricket in Ireland is always going to struggle, and how much can one really buy into representing a 'new country' having already played for one's homeland?

  • Comment number 7.

    The reason foreign imports matter is that one of the aims of the Test side is to inspire belief in BRITSH-BORN youngsters that one day they can achieve what the current crop are doing.

    If all the current crop were nurtured overseas and no players nurtured here made it, doesn't that tell many young folks that the chances of success being based here are slim?

    Yes a few imports and a successful side.

    But don't call a side 'England' if no-one in it was brought up here.

    That's just a money-making scam and everyone knows it.

  • Comment number 8.

    While I know we can't stop anyone playing for England once they qualify I would love to see the Test nations get together and agree that once someone plays for a country as an adult (aged 18 or over) they will not be picked by another nation regardless of qualifying to play through any means.

  • Comment number 9.

    Sorry I can't agree. I will support Trott and Pietersen wholeheartedly once we're in a match but it is ultimately the England (and Wales) cricket team and I think it undermines the nature of international sport to have South Africans, Australians or Irishmen who grew up outside England in the side. For those who came over as children it is entirely different.

    Trott is not English and should not be selected. The parallel with Almounia is pretty much exact. Otherwise call it the County Select XI or soemthing.

    The ECB need to get rid of some of the vastly overpaid adminstrators, streamline the county set up, get cricket on terrestial tv, reduce players' pay and plough money into getting kids playing. Unofrtunately the game is run by money men who have no long term vision.

    It's a shame, it's a great game and people are missing out by not getting the opportunity to play.

  • Comment number 10.

    Strauss, Pietersen and Prior all have one English parent so surely they have the right to play for either of their parents' countries? Players who have qualified through stints in domestic cricket are the ones whose status can be more reasonably debated.

  • Comment number 11.

    TommySmith, as you were first to comment, let me come straight to you.

    I can, just about, understand your viewpoint. But my question to you is this: How would you feel about your children being taught by Australian-born teachers, your knee operation being conducted by an Indian-born surgeon or your local neighbourhood watch meeting being chaired by a policeman born in Cape Town?

    If you don’t like those things happening, then I am afraid that is – in my book – xenophobia. But if you apply your thoughts only to who you follow in sport, then are you not being teeny bit inconsistent? Just a thought.

    Michael (no.2) The Brazilians currently going through naturalisation in Portugal (where they have the advantage of easy work permits and speaking the lingo) is an excellent parallel. I wasn’t particularly aware it was happening massively in other European countries, and again I take the same view – that they probably drive UP standards in those nations, rather than drag them down.

    No.3 – I would have been able to credit you if I could have found the thread, but I think it has got lost in the archive! Of course, the Aussies have had Kepler Wessels in the past, and Moises Henriques – I believe – hails from Madeira.

    No.4 – I refer you straight to no.1's comment, who is clearly a UK-based cricket fan upset by the situation.

    No. 5 – I refer you to my ANSWER to no. 1

    No. 6 – The Irish situation is a sensitive one, and perhaps a very good argument for supporting their elevation to Test cricket, though I don’t see it happening for a while.

    No. 7 – There’s a theme here, isn’t there… I tell you what, look at all those fans of Premier League teams cheering on sides with about ONE homegrown player.

    No. 8 – I think that’s something the ICC could look at. And it might help Mr No. 6

  • Comment number 12.

    If someone qualifies under the existing rules to play for England then I am happy to support them as part of an England team. As far as I am concerned the value of Trott's hundred at the Oval was not diminished in any way by his origins!

  • Comment number 13.

    The reason they produce all these players as the aussies do is..

    Cricket is still actively played in schools and they have exceptional development programmes.

    Until we move to the same we will for ever be behind them and as a consequence find more and more who desert their home countries for whatever reason and end up playing for england! Without them we would be even further behind!
    If the rules allow them to play, and rules on nationality now transend all sports, look at rugby and athletics , kiwis playing rugby league for france and kenyans running for qatar and bahrain for example, let them play for us if they qualify!
    We have done it for years so why stop now??

  • Comment number 14.


    "xenophobia! you have lost the plot! xenophobes are the people who support jean marie le pen and the BNP. an english fan who doesnt like the fact that two of the men we are relying on for our runs this tour, are essentially south african in their blood, in their characteristics, everything. The comparison with a doctor or a person chairing their bleeding watch meeting is poor, they are not doing so representing England in international competition! the same is true of Joyce and Morgan.

    now im one of those english fans that doesnt care, if pietersen and trott get 800 runs in the test series i will be over the moon, but i can see where these fans coming from, its a fair point to make, and as for xenophobic? i can only assume politics isnt your strong point!

    (btw I usually like your blogs, no hard feelings)

  • Comment number 15.

    Just a general comment.

    Assuming that fan is English, you cant really compare supporting a club (spurs and arsenal say) when both would probably support England.

    I have a problem with it being called the England team when it is, in fact, the team representing England and Wales. Perhaps calling it England is being xenophobic..... or am i being daft?

  • Comment number 16.

    I tend to agree with Tommy - its about patriotism and supporting your country. I am happy to have my knee fixed by an Indian surgeon, but he is not representing England in an internatinal competition, so that is not a good analogy.

    I am not zenophobic or racist (my half-malaysian girlfriend would be most upset!)but if the national team (in any sport) is filled by "foreigners" then what is the point ? Rugby Union is a particularly good/bad example of that. Driving up standards is not a justification.

    A player certainly should not be able to play for one country, wait a few years and then play for another, that is nonsense. Also we should draw the line somewhere about players moving to England - anyone can see there is a complete difference between Hussein and Strauss moving here when they are a few years old, and Peterson/Trott. Maybe once you have represented one country at (say) under-15 or 18 level, that is the country you play for ?

  • Comment number 17.

    Oliver re your comment; "How would you feel about your children being taught by Australian-born teachers, your knee operation being conducted by an Indian-born surgeon or your local neighbourhood watch meeting being chaired by a policeman born in Cape Town?"

    That is NOT comparing like for like. Cricket is a sport, watching it is a form of relaxation and many of us take great enjoyment in the achievements (or otherwise) of our countrymen. It's not all about winning - cricket fans take just as much pleasure in bemoaning our shortcomings as celebrating our victories. But those victories will become increasingly hollow if we are using players born and taught to play the game in another country with no real desire to play for England until circumstances dictated it to be an option.

  • Comment number 18.

    Kessie may have represented SA at U-19 level, but at least he can say he was educated in England. Personally I hope the ECB don't want him, as it'll be to Somerset's advantage. Too many Saffers around who are, in reality, "working". They're never going to play for their country unlike the overseas players who are generally 1 or 2 year contracted.

  • Comment number 19.


    I think you are missing the point of the comments with regard to your response. I don't think anyone would have any issue with dealing with any professional not from English heritage, be it a teacher, surgeon or policeman as you suggested. These people are not representing a nation, they are representing a profession.

    It is a similar case when trying to compare the situation to the premier league. Arsenal, for example, are a professional team playing in a leaque based in England, not holding themselves up as representing a nation.

    The issue you are trying to discuss is the fact that people from outside England are representing what England can produce, and can someone who is not English do that? As you correctly identified, the argument works on two levels, the people who believe they are English, such as Hussain and Strauss, but their place of birth happened to be outside England, and those who fall into the 'mercenary' category as suggested by other posters. My personal opinion is that if the player in question takes their adopted nationality in every legal sense, then they should be welcomed, however if they view themselves as, for example, a South African playing for England, then they should not be selected.

  • Comment number 20.

    Great article Oliver. I have a couple of thoughts regarding it; the first is this, it is ludicrous for people like "akaTommySmith" to question Pietersen's loyalty and patriotism. The man's got the three lions on his shoulder and you can tell he would do absolutely everything to win for England. Added to this, these players add immense (and otherwise ultimately lacking) talent to our team.

    My second thought is this, this topic is far broader than the English Cricket team. Referring to "gottwald's" point, how much international sport do you watch? Or more to the point how much do you truly know about it? I'll run this by everyone, the influential South African rugby icon, Tendai Mtawarira or the "beast" was born and raised in Zimbabwe.

    Four key members of the continually impressive (World Cup's aside) New Zealand Rugby Union side are from Samoa or Fiji. These players are Jerome Kaino, Rodney So'oialo, Sitiveni Sivivatu and Mils Muliaina - arguably one of the best full backs of the modern era.

    Moving on to the ever improving Australian side, three of the brightest young talents, Quade Cooper, Will Genia and Digby Ioane were not born and raised in Australia.

    This is not a trait that is limited to English Cricket, it happens across all sports on a very much international stage. The England Cricket board would be foolish not to benefit from class players, such as Pietersen, Trott etc, when the majority of other world teams are doing just that.
    And to those within England who do not realise the true value of these players, or even players such as Owais Shah, Adil Rashid or Ravi Bopara (all of whom have foreign links) you are unrealistic, overly conservative fools!

  • Comment number 21.

    BBC - 30 minutes + to moderate a comment is too long and takes away most of the point !

  • Comment number 22.

    Oliver makes a good point about Pietersen making a brave decision to emigrate. Leaving behind all that you know and moving to another country is incredibly hard, and the vast majority of immigration critics simply have no concept of it. I've done it, having lived in Canada for three years, and it really is very difficult. Moving to another country pushes you right out of your comfort zone. Perhaps that is one reason why so many foreign players do well over here. They have to perform initially in a new country when out of their comfort zone societally. It's a sink or swim situation, and the tough ones swim and make the grade. If a South African born player comes here, scores highly when out of the comfort zone socially, then when he has adapted to the country, he may find his performances get even better whilst still retaining the ability to perform under pressure. Some certainly seem to handle pressure well, as both Pietersen and Trott have demonstrated at the Oval in successive home Ashes series. With that in mind, nobody should doubt the commitment of someone like Jon Trott to the England cause. For any professional cricketer, personal pride should dictate that he will go and give his all for whatever team he plays for, be it his country by birth, his adopted country through immigration changes, his county team, his state team, an IPL team, etc etc.

    Changing economies and immigration patterns mean national sides will change in composition. With the explosion of wealth in India, in twenty to thirty years you'll see Indian born players qualifying and playing for Test nations other than India, of that I am sure. People will move to othe countries, for cricket is no longer just a sport. It is a huge money spinner. It is a business and it is increasingly marketed as one, and you will get people moving to other countries in an attempt to qualify in order to gain work playing cricket. How is that any more mercenary than a qualified doctor going to another country for work?

    The interesting time will come if (when?) Imran Tahir is picked to play for South Africa. The temptation to pick a leg spinner must be huge for the SA selectors but must be viewed as a challenging selection, given their own selectorial issues over the last few years when it comes to the coloured/non-coloured situation.

    It's curious that people doubt the 'Englishness' of the like of KP and Trott yet I haven't heard a peep about the appointment of non-English coaches such as Flower and Fletcher. Why is it considered dubious to pick a player who spent his cricketing youth in South Africa but not dubious to select a coach, one of the highest cricketing positions within English cricket, who played for Zimbabwe? Surely a coach or manager of a national team is just as representative of that nation as the players picked?

  • Comment number 23.

    Mr Brett

    I will respond to your jibe, for that is what it is.

    I have no problem with a team called 'Mr Murdoch's cricketers', which happens to play at, say, The Rose Bowl or wherever, being filled with players from wherever. Because in that situation there is no emphasis on geography, only on competence.

    I don't have a problem with a Premier League team having one or two England players in it, provided the English lads in the academy are not actively discriminated against by the manager vis a vis foreign recruits. And I think the body of evidence at my football team currently is that that IS the case......

    I have no problem with a person with Indian skin brought up here for several years playing for England. But I don't see the point of calling a team England if you import Indians from the subcontinent at the age of 25, ditto South Africans, Australians or whoever. Because it's not an England team. It's a team of foreigners who want to get paid more money by playing for our national team. And that sends a message loud and clear to youngsters growing up here. People from here can't hack it.

    Just call it 'MCC's London Globetrotters' and have done with it.

    There is no trace of racism in this at all. It is deciding what England means and what the aims of the England team are. No doubt you think we should import some gymnasts from Russia, badminton players from Indonesia and lord knows what else, just to up the medals tally in 2012? I don't. I'd rather see what we can achieve here at home, then try and improve it. Nothing to do with racism, more to do with promoting OUR communities to do well.

    I think you know full well that what you are proposing is a usurping of the England brand for purposes incompatible with what it is supposed to mean.

    And there is no common theme at all.

    Except this one:

    People like you actively approve of a useless, substandard education system in this country condemning many people to misery, whilst importing talent from all over the world to cover over the cracks of our education system.

    That is not 'closed shoppery' it is a challenge to you to face reality.

    And if your reality is 'I couldn't give a toss about 99% of people brought up in Britain, they're wasters, useless losers etc etc', then the sooner you are sacked from your position in the BBC the better. B

    Go and work for Sky. Because that IS run by an American who has NO ISSUES about taking this country to the cleaners. None whatever.

    I think you may find that he has a biting contempt for the BBC. You may be lucky enough to find out that he doesn't hold that personally against all its employees......

    I am confident that you will also approve of Mr Michael Ashcroft, a non-domiciled, non-tax paying billionaire, taking control of the Tory Party and coercing the UK national govt in 2011 to his unaccountable will.

    And if you don't, perhaps there is a theme that you might like to ponder on, sonny jim.

    Because if you go live overseas, you'll find that they DO stand up for their own, so English people will be discriminated against overseas. Whatever your utopian vision of the world might be in Wood Lane.....

  • Comment number 24.

    I disagree with you and the other comments that you consider the players who come over as children to be "English". I was born in Scotland and my parents moved to South Africa when I was 2 years old and I have never considered myself to be anything other than Scottish and it was the same for all my many English mates in SA who came over as kids.We may have developed SA accents but we all consider ourselves British and proudly so.I think it stems from the fact that we grew up in British homes (our parent didn't suddenly become South African)and all our grandparents, Uncles and Aunties ,cousins etc were back in the UK so we couldn't forget that we were immigrants. If the guys were born in SA to English parents that's another matter but if they came over as kids from a South African family I bet they haven't forgoten their roots either and they will always be South African first and English second.Even while I was still living in SA if I had been good enough to be selected to play any international sport I would have chosen to represent Scotland over SA any day and my English mates feel the same about England

  • Comment number 25.

    One factor I rarely see mentioned here is that it seems perfectly fair that each country should benefit from the advantages it enjoys. India has a vast population to choose from; Australia and South Africa apparently have enough money that they can emphasize sports in the schools; England happens to be a country where people from other countries want to come and live. As long as everyone follows the rules that are in place, I don't see what the problem is. English fans should be glad to have this advantage.

  • Comment number 26.

    Playing for your naturalised country is nothing new. I live in New Zealand and a great number of All Blacks past and present have not been born in New Zealand - they have moved from the islands to New Zealand at an early age to play school/provincial rugby. Their two current wingers Sivivatu and Rokocoko are two examples. But it doesn't stop New Zealanders getting behind their team.

    New Zealand had a 21 year old woman called Nikki Hamblin represent them at the World Championships at 800m and 1500m this year. Not quite good enough to make the British team, she moved over here with her Kiwi boyfriend and was fast tracked a New Zealand passport (she was here 3 years rather than the required 5) - at least KP etc, to my knowledge, have become naturalised Englishman through proper channels/procedures

    And don't forget - if KP isn't English, Andrew Symonds is most definitely NOT an Ozzie...

  • Comment number 27.


    Of course not. Andrew Symonds is Dutch-Albanian.

  • Comment number 28.

    I also don't agree with the analogy of Indian surgeons etc. If you read it back to yourself Oliver you might rethink it....?

    My view is that they should tighten up the criteria a bit. You will still have grey areas but I think it should be along the lines of this, off the top of my head. You can play for England if:

    1. You were born in England
    2. At least one of your parents (or possibly Grandparents) were English
    3. You have not played for any other international team (EG if one of your parents was English and one S African, then you can only play for one of these teams)

    Maybe there are some other criteria eg if you emigrated to England below a certain age and became a citizen

    I don't think you should be able to play for England by moving here, staying for 2 years or whatever it is and then becoming eligible.

    If these were the rules, Hussain and Strauss would have been ok; Pietersen and Trott wouldn't (nor could Wessels have played for Oz and SA). That would probably have meant that we would have had 2 less ashes wins to our name, so in a way I am glad. But in summary I think the criteria are too loose.

    One aside - I live in Cape Town now and Robin Jackman is one of the presenters here. Although he played for England (even though he wasn;t very good!), he now openly supports SA. In between innings in the recent ICC game which England won, he was talking about "we did this, we need to do that" etc, the "we" referring to SA. A bit of a hyporcrite in my view.

  • Comment number 29.

    This isn't xenephobia - it's real concern for the longer term future of our game.
    You are correct to draw a distinction between Strauss, who has been here since childhood (as has Prior, though for rather less of his childhood) and the likes of Pietersen and Trott who were not. In this day and age it is probably unrealistic to define England eligibility solely by birthplace. However it is surely realistic to ask that England players were either born here or were products of our own various forms of junior cricket. On these grounds, Trott and Pietersen are not qualified.
    While don't doubt their best intentions, the danger of employing them is that we further damage the dream of every kid bowling a tennis ball against a wall or catching a ball off a roof. Once the linkage between that dream and an international or county cap - however tenuous, however unrealistic - is lost then we are on the slide to having a minority sport.
    In rural Yorkshire half a century ago, where I first learned my cricket, communities of 150-200 people routinely put out Saturday and Sunday teams and frequently one for mid-week as well. Now I certainly didn't make the big time and I know of few who did but the sheer volumne of would-be Yorkshire and England platyers made it inevitable that some would break through. Now I live in the south of england, in a community of 12,000 souls and they struggle to put out one team at the weekend.
    Now granted, there are other distractions - football, video games and general societal changes but we're already losing the link. If the quick-fix recruitment of a Pietersen or a Trott leads to one kid throwing his ball into the shed and taking up his playstation then it's been bad news.
    Finally, Oliver, how come the Aussies never get involved in similar dilemmas. Cast your mind back to the 1970's and the foreign imports playing Sheffield Shield cricket. The adverse effect on the Aussie national team was fast and unmistakeable. Cast your mind back to Kim Hughes' televised blubbering in defeat. They at least had the good sense to look over the abyss and decide it wasn't for them. Collectively we haven't clocked it yet.
    I've nothing against Trott or Pietersen at a personal level but if we coninue in the present vein the day will indeed dawn when we can't get a side together without the assistance of yet more southern hemisphere imports. Then we'll be on a par with basketball, gridiron, ice hockey and speedway - a niche sport with steady crowds but on the participation side dominated almost entirely by foreign imports.

  • Comment number 30.

    I jus read the old article on Pietersen and it says that (a) his mother as born in England and (b) he has a British passport. I therefore retract what I said in my last post, as I think that these are legitimate grounds to be picked for England.

    The rules that I disagree with are when a player (with no English heritage whatsoever) lives in the UK for 2 or 3 years or whatever it is and then becomes eligible. This is clearly not the case with Pietersen. If I had known this I would not have any issue with Pietersen playign for us. I wonder if other people would think likewise?

    Not sure about Trott though?

  • Comment number 31.

    Oliver, are you in danger of being too PC and succumbing to a kind of anti-xenophobic attitude. That is of course, if xenophobia is the right description of someone truly concerned with their national identity, and not as you intimate, as a person who has an unreasonable hatred of foreigners.

    rjagger pretty much hits the nail and I feel empathic towards his words, but are we getting too emotional with a rising tide of debate about the Englands XI's face of its nationality.

    I think we've have probably reached the limit on the number of "foreigns" in the team, and we have to admit to the amount of good they have done for the game of English cricket over the last 2/3 decades.

    Its always healthy to have alien blood to mix up the gene pool, but if you allow too much interference, then the tribal culture will slowly disappear, which is why you have the situation now, with society asking questions and questioning how we isolate our lineage without becoming xenophobic.

    I am still wondering if it is at all possible to pick an England team, made up of English born players, just out of curiosity of course.

  • Comment number 32.

    100 years ago Ranjitsinji was considered eligible for England because people thought he was a prince. Was he a product of our junior cricket? Are we saying we should be MORE restrictive in our idea of Englishness than the Victorians? For those who argue that we're on a slippery slope, was Rani at the top or the bottom of it, do you think?

    Mike Denness was born is Scotland. Should he have been allowed to play for, never mind captain, England? Or Sir Colin Cowdrey (Bangalore)? Or Sir Pelham Warner (Port Of Spain, Trinidad)? Are we saying that if someone was born in another country as a result of our colonial occupation of it, that's fine, but not if it was an free nation at the time? Or is it about parents? If so, what is the minimum number required to be "English"?

    It's actually this - and it goes back to Ranjitsinji. After his first test century, one MCC member who spoke admiringly to another about it found himself denounced for "having the temerity to praise a filthy black". I don't think that racist has died. But I think that if he says what he really thinks about having players with names like Adil Rashid or - good grief - England captains with names like Nasser Hussain, he's wise enough to know what the reaction will be. For that mindset, white South Africans (and, even better, Irish) provide an easy smokescreen. But they're not the real target. The real target is the notion that a national side, no, a national sport, no, a nation should ever be truly mulicultural. Someone on 606 recently complained that England has become the "United Nations of International Cricket" - I'm ashamed of people who are ashamed of that.

  • Comment number 33.

    Why am I considered Xenophobic and/or racist for thinking that England sells an international cap very cheaply at four or five yeas of residency? I don't think that 20 or so years being a fully fedged New Zealander, South African etc should be wiped out in such a short period, irrespective of parentage.

    England should use a 'Duckworth-Lewis' set of tables that indicate what the residency should be based on age, sporting level attained in home country etc.

  • Comment number 34.

    It seems this discussion has been going for a while! I myself was born overseas, to British parents. I am a British citizen, even though I have not yet had the good fortune of actually living in the UK (although that should finally change in a few months!). And I mean that to the core. I am an Englishman and will support England through and through. It is a strange sensatoin, as it is virtually impossible to rationalise; it's simply the way I feel. Ironically, my siblings feel more inclined to
    In the case of Pietersen, I fully appreciate the points being made. he has, however, said that he considers himself to be English now. I know how hard it can be to make people understand that. Yes, he may well be inflating the truth there, but there is no way of knowing, nor do I care. He says that he will perform to the utmost of his abilities for this country.
    In Trott's defence, saying he's taken the easy route to international cricket is plain rubbish. He wasn't ready yet and went to play in England to further progress himself. Then he chose England. Ten Doeschate at Essex did the same thing, only chose Holland instead. I believe he qualifies for three countries now, but remains true to Holland (for now, I'll admit, for Test cricket is a higher calling).
    So, however much I agree with Mr Brett on most points he raises, I disagree with the notion that it is WHERE you spend your formative years that makes this complex. There are plenty of people that spent them in litereally a dozen countries: where do they belong? (Strauss?)
    I believe that a lucky few are put in the position that their services are desired by multiple countries and that they shall have to make a choice. As I'm fortunate enough to have been put in that position, believe me when I say that it does NOT come easy, but you appreciate it all the more when you get to wear those three Lions!

  • Comment number 35.

    Oliver, I think your question to the first post makes a fairly fundamental mistake. Anyone unhappy with foreign teachers, etc is - in my book - an out-and-out racist. BUT, international sport is different. Would you go to a hairdressers that only employed people who had an English parent? No. Are you then saying that cricket is currently zenophobic for using these rules?

    The key difference has been picked up by others, but needs restating. If we have national sports, they only mean something if they reflect the country. This is inconsistent with business - but so it should be. I grew up dreaming of playing cricket for England (still dreaming). I also wanted to be a journalist - but I didn't care which paper I worked for. The idea of international sport is one country's finest doing battle against another's. If we're no longer able to do this I think something is lost.

    If you follow your view through, then why not throw it wide open - so that Vettori or Shakib can play for England if they want? Finally, the difference between KP/ Trott and almost any other example, is that they switched to chase better chances/ more money when they had test options available to them. It makes the whole concept of Tests vaguely pointless.

    I used to like watching the Peter Suchs and Devon Malcolms of this world because they were the best we had struggling to look like test players. If Trott struggles, I just shrug and think (as I do at Premierhsip football) why didn't we sign someone better.
    Is that zenophobic, or is it just sport?

  • Comment number 36.

    no 27
    from cricinfo for your edification

    Full name Andrew Symonds

    Born June 9, 1975, Birmingham, Warwickshire, England

  • Comment number 37.

    No 36

    I apologise for the obvious humour of my 'Andrew Symonds is Dutch-Albanian' comment totally passing you by. Blame my Irish-Portuguese upbringing.

  • Comment number 38.


    Can I suggest a future article here for you? There's a lot of people who seem very unaware of the qualifications to become a British citizen and to qualify for the England cricket team. A blog entry clearly outlining the actual qualifications would be good, perhaps with the process by which Jon Trott qualified for England acting as a illustrative example.

  • Comment number 39.

    @20 - I watch quite a bit of it actually. Just because other nations and other sports do it doesn't make it (the NZ rugby team has long been a joke on this point - they poach the south seas nice and early) and just because other countries do doesn't mean England has to - any part of that you don't understand?!

    What we are talking abut here is people's perception of international sport - does it reflect nationality, the sport in that country or just whoever fulfils some sort of residency or great grandmother criteria? I think national teams should include people who have at the least been largely brought up in that country.

    Are you saying that if England fielded 11 Saffers all born and brought up over there, who had only fulfilled the minimum residency criteria you would be happy with that? If so fair play - I just disagree. I know that such a team beating Aus wouldn't mean anything to me then.

    Oliver - would you be happy with that scenario? BTW the professions thing was just dumb - no analogy at all!

  • Comment number 40.

    Isn't it obvious that the reason players from around the world want to be 'english' is down to financial opportunism and self promotion?

    It makes these players no more 'english' than Wayne Rooney and Michael Owen are Man Utd fans.

    Lets keep national teams for people who are nationals.

  • Comment number 41.

    35. I would love to know why you are so happy to overlook Devon Malcolm's place of birth (Kingston, Jamaica), but seem to get so upset about others!

    31. A really good post, but read this excerpt you typed back to yourself - I find it a little worrying! "It's always healthy to have alien blood to mix up the gene pool, but if you allow too much interference, then the tribal culture will slowly disappear".

    All those so stridently opposed to my view - and some of you (such as no.23) seem almost apoplectic about it - can maybe look at the excellent point made by "EddieOnTheWing" at no.32.

    On the use of the word xenophobia - I have a GCSE in Ancient Greek and am happy that I know what the word means. And please, let's not bring the "r" word into this. I have made the effort to steer well clear of this.

    Wish I could reply to all of you. There are some really well-argued points here about a clearly emotive topic. And please be patient with the moderators - it is important for them to look at these comments.

  • Comment number 42.

    To all those people who won,t watch our support our foreign imports let me ask you one question. When KP was scoring his 150 in final Ashes test and Trott was sealing a 2nd ashes series win with his ton did you want them to fail? Would you rather the Aussies had won the Ashes in 2005 and last year.

    Boike you said:
    “If these were the rules, Hussain and Strauss would have been ok; Pietersen and Trott wouldn't (nor could Wessels have played for Oz and SA). That would probably have meant that we would have had 2 less ashes wins to our name, so in a way I am glad. But in summary I think the criteria are too loose.”

    I was under the impression that his Mother has dual Nationality and holds both a UK and a SA Passport. Her grandfather was Albert Trott, who played for England, which you could argue makes Trott’s England pedigree even more impressive than say the very English James Anderson, Steve Harmison and Paul Collingwood.

  • Comment number 43.

    Fully appreciate the moderators' job in this - especially as I think everyone is trying to steer clear of the 'r' word!
    I must say, that I had always asssumed that, having qualified (e.g. having resided in England for 4 years), the player must then assume nationality of that country. I know that Pietersen has now got British nationality (indeed, I believe he had that before he came here). But, if I follow the eligibility for the ICC ( then go to 'player eligibility'), this is not a requirement.
    I.e., I expected that Trott had now naturalised. He might have, but it isn't necessary, which I do find a bit odd...
    (I do believe slight leeway should be given to Associate and Affiliate Members, though, considering a much shallower pool).

    In all, I think that players born and bred overseas should be allowed to switch allegience, but that they should assume the nationality of the country they represent, having fulfilled the qualifying criteria.

  • Comment number 44.

    I'd just like to point out that although Moises was born in Portugal, I played local club cricket against him for many years as a kid and eventually played with him in the Sydney grade competition for St. George. He is out-and-out Australian.

  • Comment number 45.

    #42 - you might be right here, I probably didn't really know what I wan talking about! I am not sure of Trott's background to be honest, and couldn't be bothered to research it. I guess that is true of most people, probably. So the media creates this notion that we have several "non-English" in the team and nobody (well not me anyway) actually checks the facts. If Trotts mum in English (and if he has a British Passport) then I personally think its ok that he qualifies.

    I also agree with poster #34 in principle at least. SOmething about your upbringing may cause you to be patriotic about your country, even if you haven't lived there. Trouble is, it is quite hard to make an objective rule about that.

    I must admit I haven't thought about it a lot, and as suggested in #38 I don't think all that many people really understand the criteria for Citizenship etc. If you looked at those criteria and then at the specifc players in question, you might find that they are not quite as controversial as we thought.

    I personally still think that qualification to play for "your" country should depend on factors such as birthplace, (grand)parentage, citizenship. What I object to really is players acquiring eligibility just by virtue of a few years of residence.

  • Comment number 46.

    There is absolutely no point in international sport if we have South Africans playing for England, or New Zealanders playing for India, or Frenchmen playing for Australia.

    The whole idea is that our guys play against their guys and we see who is best. Whats wrong with that?

    Xenophobic? Totally incorrect use of the word. It does not remotely come into play in this debate.

    And of course there is no inconsitancy to loving our multi cultural society, but wanting an English cricket team.

  • Comment number 47.

    Oliver Brett - BBC Sport, you said:
    "I can, just about, understand your viewpoint. But my question to you is this: How would you feel about your children being taught by Australian-born teachers, your knee operation being conducted by an Indian-born surgeon or your local neighbourhood watch meeting being chaired by a policeman born in Cape Town?"

    You can't really compare someone in the medical, education, or emergency services profession to someone who plies their trade based on a competitive sport. Obviously, we would want our children to be taught by the best teachers; treated by the best doctors; and protected by the best policemen, regardless of their nationalities. Its natural to want that because these are professions that are essential to our well being.

    But when it comes to rooting for your national side, can you really accept someone as being truely patriotic about throwing on a 3 Lions jersey when they had already "proudly" worn the colors of another national side?

    Both of my parents were born and raised in Iran, and fled the country when the 1979 Islamic Revolution drowned the country into chaos. Consequently, I was born in the UK (and I proudly boast that I am an Englishman/Briton). If I had to choose between representing England or Iran, I would represent England. And if England didn't deem me good enough for their national team, I wouldn't run off to Iran (or any other country for that matter) with the hopes that I would be selected there. I would stay in England and fight for my chance to be selected by England. Its the least I can do after being born and brought up in England.

    Even *I* have an issue with those so-called England players who were raised in another country, represented that country in their respective sport, but then decided to resort to their plan B of playing for England when their true National side said, "no thank you" to them.

    Fans who question these players aren't being Xenophobic, they're concerned that their team is selecting players who don't see wearing the England shirt as a privilege but as a last resort! I wonder, did Trott look at the 3 Lions jersey with pride when he celebrated with the South African players last year?

  • Comment number 48.

    Being from Yorkshire, I would still like the Yorkshire team to be represented by players born in Yorkshire (as it used to be). Their parents may have come from abroad, but that did not matter, players eligibility came from being born in the County.

    It should be the same case for England. I would like all our players to be born and raised in England. I would also like our coach to be English. Surely we have enough people in England to have a competitive English team?
    Because we do not concentrate on home grown talent, but rather import players from overseas, we have a system that is driving cricket the wrong way.
    The same applies to football. Although some aspects of overseas players has had a positive effect, the price we are paying is a weaker England squad.

  • Comment number 49.

    International sport is in danger of becoming a meeting of mercenaries.

    Most of the South Africans who have represented England at cricket, rugby and other sports (e.g. athletics and Zola Budd) did so to avoid exclusion from international sport during apartheid, and earn good money. Helping to bypass apartheid bans is part of England's rich sporting history or a national embarrassment.

    England and other countries have been "buying" the services of athletes from other countries. Examples include Stephen Cherono (now Saif Saaeed Shaheen) world steeplechase champion who was reportedly paid $1m to change his nationality from Kenyan to Qatari, Germaine Mason who collected a silver medal for Britain in the Olympics despite previously representing Jamaica, Peter Nichol competing for England at the Commonwealth games because lottery funding in England was way higher for squash than in Scotland (he was wearing a kilt when he collected his medal). Money talks and these and many others are simply sporting mercenaries. England is by no means the only offender but it did practically invent this aspect of sport.

    The eligibility rules for international sport should be tightened and should not allow for changes in nationality.

  • Comment number 50.

    I think it should be about where you learn your cricket. Personally, I've always felt that Gordon greenidge should have played for England. he was born in the West Indies, but learned his cricket here.
    As for the counties, it's a farce. We should stop being a nuresery for overseas players. Only cricketers who have played at least 10 tests should be elligible to play for county sides

  • Comment number 51.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 52.

    "The focus is on four players - in other words barely a third"
    Thats over a third

  • Comment number 53.

    You mention the benefit to the English team of high-quality imported players, and that in your eyes it is xenophobic to refuse to support them. Surely then the qualification period for these players is institutionalised xenophobia? Would you recommend it be abolished?

    Your arguments regarding doctors, etc, are very disingenuous. The argument isn't about these players being allowed to play county cricket, it's about the nature of national sides and what they represent in what is, at the end of the day, a game. If a top male sprinter or boxer chose to have a sex change and started to compete in women's events we couldn't deny their right to do so on human grounds, but sporting ones, yes. And it wouldn't be prejudice against their life choice either.

  • Comment number 54.

    This debate (and the boundary banter) will be even more interesting should Micky Arthur and the South Africans pick Imran Tahir, who is now South Africa qualified and is as good if not a better spin option than Paul Harris. Tahir, born in Pakistan, has played for three English countries and about 10 top level teams in all.

  • Comment number 55.

    You missed another, Dermott Reeve born in Hong Kong.

  • Comment number 56.

    I think you creating xenophobia, by referring to it!

    As a 100% South African with bucket loads of British heritage, I think I can comment on what you saying. The bottom line is that the world is a far smaller place than it was, say 15 years ago. If the development systems in South Africa and Australia create loads of talent, but only 6 franchises can benefit, then there is bound to be an exodus of some sort. Until English sports development gets up to grade, what are the ECB selectors meant to do? Choose a loosing side?

    If the laws in place are met by a player wanting to change allegiance, then fair enough. I think KP and Trott will add a lot of value to English Cricket by the end of their respective careers... In actual fact, I have no doubt.

  • Comment number 57.

    I doubt very much that Strauss and Trott grew up barracking for England. In fact i'd imagine they spent a good bit of their time barracking against England. Is this who gets to play for your national team? The fans deserve better. If this was the state of cricket in my home nation I would have given up watching.

  • Comment number 58.

    Oh and Oliver, please stop re-posting. It makes an already desperate article look even more so.

  • Comment number 59.

    Oliver, you haven't addressed the fact that your analogy - of docs, teachers etc - was completely flawed. In fact it undermines your whole article.

    International sport is about national boundaries. Now that has nothing to do with colour or creed. It is about having a deep affiliation and allegiance to a country IMO.

    Comparing doctors eg is ridiculous, a totally different scenario.

    And you should be careful before branding people xenophobic.

  • Comment number 60.

    I have a number of complaints about the fact England use overseas players to fill the team. I am not bothered about Strauss, Prior etc. They could hardly turn round to their parents at the age of 6 and say no I am staying here in case I want to play cricket!!! However, KP, Trott & all others made a decision to leave their own country. Kp because at the age of 19 he was not guaranteed a place in the county team - who is? Vaughan spent a season in Yorkshire 2nd XI after playing for England U19.
    Counties/States & National Boards spend a fortune on youth development to find that 1 player that goes all the way from U8's to the National team. There will most likely be 1000's of kids getting coached in Natal to find the half dozen or so that make it past the u19's each year. So what happens the counties say Ta much we'll have him. Its not as if you can target 1 kid at the age of 8 and only coach him all the to the National side.
    However, the ECB development has been appalling - in the last 10 years batting-wise there has been Bell, Cook & Bopari. Who else has come through from the U19's (Strauss is 31 before any starts typing). Little wonder they are looking southwards

  • Comment number 61.

    No.22 Andy Plowright - "How is that any more mercenary than a qualified doctor going to another country for work?"

    I can understand where you're coming from mate, but unfortunately it's completely different. If you're playing for England you're representing England against a team made up of people representing Australia/SA/whoever. A Indian doctor isn't representing India, he's merely representing that hospital or that profession. Very different.

    And it's not a case of Xenophobia (with me or with a lot of other people) - Xenophobia is being scared or having hatred for foreigners!!

    PS. Each case should be judged individually. Strauss & Hussain are fine because they were educated here and they sound English and no doubt see themselves as English. Pietersen, yes he has 3 lions on his arm, but he should never have been allowed to qualify in the first place. Yes we'd miss his runs but it's not all about winning ya know. Sure it's nice to win, but I'd rather we had a more English team. There's no doubting KP's love of playing for England, and I like to see that, but he should never have played for us, he's clearly South African. It's not Kevin's fault, it's the ECB's fault and the ICC's fault.

  • Comment number 62.

    We need to pump more money into schools playing cricket. No school shouldn't be playing cricket, that's ridiculous, it's our no.1 summer sport. And a lot of people enjoy playing it.

    PS. Twenty20 is being played too much, and all because of the greed for money (by organisers) again. Why have a World T20 tournament every year??????! Every 2 years would be fine. Still twice as often as the 50-over equivalent so you could argue that it should only be every 4 years, but if they really are money hungry then let them stage it every 2 years - still better than having one every year.

  • Comment number 63.

    Find No. 3 comment intriguing - Keppler Wessels anyone? Interesting how, whilst I know that Aparthied meant that the best SA players could not play for their country, Australia have played players from other countries.

  • Comment number 64.

    One good example from the world of football is that of Sven Goran Eriksson's brief stint in charge of the Mexico national team. Its widely believed that his active involvement in the naturalisation and subsequently selection of four players in his starting line up (two each of brazilians and argentinians) played a big part in his sacking. This alienated the fans but crucially also further distanced this european manager from his team.

    The difference here is obviously that the selection of south african players in the england cricket team does not seem to have caused any anomosity in the squad itself (there is no real issue with culutural differences), whereas there was a real feeling in Mexico that there were better Mexican players available, so these 'foreigners' were blocking their chances of representing their country. Interestingly, goalkeeper ochoa said "I don't think I'd like to see 11 naturalised players in the national team", which raises the question of where this should stop? Will it get to the extent where we will start needing county-style oversees limits for national teams too?!

  • Comment number 65.

    "But, if I follow the eligibility for the ICC ( then go to 'player eligibility'), this is not a requirement.
    I.e., I expected that Trott had now naturalised. He might have, but it isn't necessary, which I do find a bit odd... "

    It is true that ICC regulations do not require that you are a national of the country you respresent (you must be a national OR born there OR have 4 years residence) the ECB actually enforces stricter rules (you must be a British or Irish national AND either have been born in England or Wales or have been resident for 4 years).

    So yes it is (by ECB rules) necessary for Trott to have a British passport.

    I'd like to see the ICC tighten their rules to match the ECBs and perhaps double the qualification time to 8 years.

    However I have no problem with England selecting anyone who is eligible, otherwise you put the selectors in the unpleasant position of having to make subjective judgments on 'Englishness'.

  • Comment number 66.

    So is it really only Andy Plowright (23) and myself who see a straight link between overseas professionals in other walks of life (medicine, law etc) and those playing team sport at national level?

    Interesting. As for me, I am not remotely patriotic (never had a St George flag on my bumper), my family roots are fairly multi-national, and I don't particularly like the England football team (though I do have a soft spot for both the Spanish and Portuguese national sides). But I do support the England cricket team (in as much as a journalist can) along with Essex and Liverpool. I don't give a damn where the people come from who occupy those three teams.

    I suspect most of you just feel very differently when it comes to following the England cricket team, and I respect those feelings.

  • Comment number 67.

    Personally, I find this subject extremely boring. Nobody cared before Pietersen, and it's obvious that people only want to complain about Pietersen, cos Strauss is the captain and nobody says a word about him!

  • Comment number 68.

    Oliver - I think that your connection with other professions is relevant, but for me not as a justification of the cricket model.
    It is right and proper that anyone who transfers to the UK should practice their profession without subsequent discrimination.
    The danger is that the importing of skills from other countries has become a lazy get-around for failing to invest in our own infrastructure whereby we might develop them ourselves. Cricketer or surgeon.
    If the South African infrastructure is producing so many cricketers that they can export their surplus and still be competetive, all power to them.
    But the fact that England is flooded with these imports simply shows a)that we pay more and offer less internal competition than alternative destinations, and b) makes the cricket authorities complacent rather than having to face their glaring inadequacies at the grass-roots level

  • Comment number 69.

    I'm born in England to Indian parents and think of myself to be fully Indian and would've loved to play for India in any sport if i was good enough to make it. Would I count as a outsider?

    Back to the current topic:

    I don't it's even a bit racist or wrong for the English people to want to have only English players in national team. Thats the way it should be. The National team is not a CLUB, players must be from the actual country and have always had aspirations to play for THEIR country.

    Since Peiterson came to England later on in life, I think he may have had aspirations of playing for South Africa, unlike someone like Strauss who came to England just aged 6 and probably only thought about playing for England.

  • Comment number 70.

    As an Irishperson I find this discussion very interesting and amusing! It's not xenophobia that makes sports fans somewhat lukewarm about some of these imports playing for their national team. It's about protecting the integrity of international sport. Pietersen and Trott have made rational decisions about where is best for them to ply their trade and I admire them for that but that shouldn't entitle them in itself to represent the country where they happen to earn their living. Surely the International cricket authorities should insist on some more concrete attachment to allow a player represent a country.
    The Irish football authorities has been ridiculed for years in Britain for using FIFA's anchestry rules to cap sons/grandsons of Irish emigrants (Presumably everyone has heard the English joke about FAI standing for Find An Irishman). At least FIFA have defined rules which are rational and fair, yet happens to benefit Ireland with our sad history of emigration. At least a significant majority of Irish internationals capped in this way have had an apprecition of their Irish heritage before representing the country, even though they weren't brought up in Ireland.
    It's hard to believe Pietersen and Trott dreamt of representing England when they were kids, so fans rationally believe that it must mean more to Collingwood or other English players to represent their country than a South African with no English heritage.

  • Comment number 71.

    of course it matters where people come from. it's "international" sport. you are supposedly representing your own country.

    it doesn't matter a jot at club level where people come from but it very much does for your national team.

  • Comment number 72.

    "It's hard to believe Pietersen and Trott dreamt of representing England when they were kids, so fans rationally believe that it must mean more to Collingwood or other English players to represent their country than a South African with no English heritage."

    Just to clarify, both Pietersen and Trott have English heritage (Pietersen's mother and Trott's father are English).

  • Comment number 73.

    Oliver Brett:

    I'd ask anyone here to review Cliff Richard. Is there anyone here who would argue that he isn't a British icon or at least representative of Britain as a whole? Cliff was born in India. He spent the first eight years of his life in India. Does that somehow dilute his Britishness? Of course it doesn't. Let's try another example. Luol Deng was born in Sudan, migrated to Britain and was given asylum, and now commands a huge salary to play for the Chicago Bulls. Yet he comes back and plays for the Great Britain basketball team, has won sportsmanship awards within the NBA, champions various charities, and acts as a superb ambassador for both basketball and Britain. He is not British by birth but he represents his adopted country with pride. Who would people rather have representing Britain, Luol Deng or someone like Joey Barton?

    The point of mentioning both of these people is that the idea of 'Britishness' exists over many levels. To be British, one doesn't have to have a long family history in this country or be born and bred in Pudsey. Now that globalization has a firm hold on the world, I'd argue that the idea of nationality has changed from a geographical definition to a legal definition.

    When I was in Canada, I saw many immigrants and was indeed married to one. I saw how people existed with two nationalities. For example, I saw people with immense pride about the place of their birth such as Uruguay, but also equal pride in the fact that they had become a citizen of Canada. I'd see Latinos waving flags during the last World Cup and those same people would be watching ice hockey later in the year. It is perfectly possible to live with dual nationalities and have immense pride in both a country of birth and a country that has allowed you to settle there. Trott can respect South Africa and still play for England with as much pride as anyone. Given that he has an English father, a British passport, an English wife, and satisfies all the requirements to play for England, I'd say he's done an awful lot to integrate into his adopted country.

    I don't see much difference between overseas professionals in medicine or sport. As much as nationalistic fervour springs up, international sport is a business. People will try to go as far as they can. If a cricketer came to this country, sat through years of qualification, went through the immigration mire, for migrating is a complex and lengthy process, then that shows to me a level of commitment you don't always see in English cricket. A man who does that puts himself through a tough experience, leaves his old life behind. Is it any wonder that some of these South African cricketers are tough on the field? They go through the migratory experience where they are forced to adapt to new conditions, new people, a new life. That's an education you don't get if you're a public schoolboy who goes straight from public school into county cricket, gets his county cap, and ends up with England. In the past, many have said county cricket has a lot of players playing in the comfort zone. One point I've been trying to get through to people on this thread is that migrating to another country throws you out of every comfort zone you have. It's therefore no wonder to me that players like KP and Trott perform well under pressure, as we've seen at the Oval in 2005 and 2009, and someone like Ian Bell tends to flop whenever he is thrown out of his comfort zone.

    I'll repeat what I said earlier about foreign coaches. Lots of people seem wound up by Trott playing for England yet I can't recall a major argument that the like of Fletcher and Flower shouldn't coach England. A coach is a major position. Coaching a national side is a huge responsibility yet nobody seems to worry now about installing a foreign coach.


    OK, you say Strauss and Hussain are fine as they were educated here. I'll throw you back to the example of Cliff Richard, born in India and lived there for the first eight years of his life. Is he somehow less British because of that formative education? On more personal ground, what about me? I lived in Canada for three years from 2003. Does that dilute my Britishness somehow?

    I agree that playing for England you represent England against a team representing another nation. However, our nation is made up of born and bred English people and people who have migrated here and are here legally. Why should the national side show that mixture as well? It seems utterly absurd that we can grant British citizenship to a person who has moved here and who contributes to society yet many would argue that that person then can't represent England on the sporting field. Being British in the modern age is a legal definition and not something you gain purely from being tied to a geographical location during your formative years of education for instance.

  • Comment number 74.

    I like the idea that South Africa are now considered top dogs and that their system is overflowing with top notch players who can't get a slot in the national side because it's such a great side. What's this based on? Ahhhhhh, one series victory Down Under! Since then, SA lost against the Australians at home, slumped in the World T20, and got knocked out in the first round of the Champions Trophy. Not exactly top dog form there methinks.

    I shall now wait for a stream of South Africans calling for me to be birched :)

  • Comment number 75.

    "I like the idea that South Africa are now considered top dogs and that their system is overflowing with top notch players who can't get a slot in the national side because it's such a great side."

    As with England a few years ago the win against Australia overshadows years of good results.

    In Tests, they have had a remarkable few years, and it is hard to see who has a better case for being top dogs.

  • Comment number 76.

    (not South African btw).

  • Comment number 77.

    So it all comes down to what makes someone English (or Australian or Indian or whatever), whether they really feel english and whether other people think they are.

    I urge everyone to read David Carrs post at 24 which was really interesting and gives an insight most of us dont have

  • Comment number 78.

    No. 74 "I like the idea that South Africa are now considered top dogs and that their system is overflowing with top notch players who can't get a slot in the national side because it's such a great side. What's this based on? Ahhhhhh, one series victory Down Under!"

    Not really. 1 series loss in 2 years (to Aus) is a pretty top going in my book... but hey, that's just my opinion.

  • Comment number 79.


    I know, I was teasing with the South African comments. I do find the way they have been elevated to the top spot to be somewhat misplaced. Australia earned the right to be the best by beating the best. South Africa to my mind have gotten there more due to the Australian rebuilding programme rather than being the best. Certainly their results in major ODI tournaments do not support the idea that South Africa are the top team. They are a very talented side at all forms of the game but they're still some way short of being outright the best team in the world for me.


    I agree on DavidCarr's post. My perspective comes from being an immigrant to another country and then returning to the UK.

  • Comment number 80.

    "I know, I was teasing with the South African comments. I do find the way they have been elevated to the top spot to be somewhat misplaced. Australia earned the right to be the best by beating the best. South Africa to my mind have gotten there more due to the Australian rebuilding programme rather than being the best. Certainly their results in major ODI tournaments do not support the idea that South Africa are the top team. "

    Not that fussed about the recent LO stuff, but their Test credentials are pretty good, they've won against most of their major rivals in recent years. And are substantially better than the alternatives.

    Maybe if Aus were the best side in the world, Aus would be the best side in the world, but as it is SA are.

  • Comment number 81.


    Mr Jacques Rudolph will soon be qualified to play for England.
    So the opening batting line up could well be...

    Strauss (SA)
    Rudolph (SA)
    KP (SA)
    Trott (SA)
    Prior (SA)

    Probably wont happen but what are your thought on JR potentially playing for England when he qualifies? He is certainly been an outstanding player in the county league playing for a poor side.

  • Comment number 82.

    Sugeons, lawyers and the like don't form teams under a national banner to do battle in their respective fields against other nations. If they did and half the UK lawyers team to play the Aussies were qualified in South Africa then yes, there might be a parallel.
    Meanwhile I'm interested in your preferred cricket and football teams. Were you a little scouser who couldn't stand Lancashire CCC and decided to travel south to watch Essex instead? If so, I understand. Or were you an Essex Boy who thought Colchester and Southend Utd were a bit too humdrum? Or possibly neither. Clearly I respect your right to make whatever emotional affiliations you wish in such matters and recognise that for those families who move around a lot it becomes difficult to put down sporting roots. However this makes it difficult to have a full appreciation of local, regional and national affiliations. .
    For many of us, however, such affiliations do indeed arise from having a common place of birth or place of childhood. These are the loyalties which are fiercest and most durable. Personally I only spent the first thirty percent of my life in Yorkshire - I've spent longer in a certain county in the south-west of England than I ever spent in my native county - but I'd never think of myself as anything other than a Yorkshireman. If Yorkshire win silverware (an infrequent event nowadays, I'll grant you) then I'll rejoice but it's tempered with the knowledge that we have done so with outside help. The only solace is that everybody else is doing it, but it doesn't make it right. However the euphoria can't compare to the days of Close, Trueman, Wilson etc when we won games with eleven of our own. Those wins really did count for something.
    Similarly when England stuffed the Aussies, Indians, Pakistan or Windies with eleven products of our domestic game then yes, it felt good. Nowadays it's better than a kick in the backside but deep down you know you've done it with the help of people who have joined your team late in the day, who may soon be gone elsewhere and with whom you don't really identify. It's not the same buzz. Sure, people will still come to watch it and the prawn sandwiches will continue to fly off the concession stalls but at either test or county level, a contest between international invitational XIs won't be cricket as many of us have known it.

  • Comment number 83.


    You mention Close, Trueman, Wilson etc. How do you feel about Colin 'born in India' Cowdrey representing England? Not British enough for you?

    "Sure, people will still come to watch it and the prawn sandwiches will continue to fly off the concession stalls but at either test or county level, a contest between international invitational XIs won't be cricket as many of us have known it."

    Rubbish. They are not invitational XIs. How exactly is an immigration process and qualification process that goes on for years equivalent to saying 'Right then, Mr Saffer, how do you fancy turning out for England next week? Here's an invite to play for us"?

    I like multiculturalism. I like the fact that my Somerset team aren't comprised purely from Somerset born people. You might hanker after days where towns and counties keep themselves to themelves and didn't welcome outsiders in. I don't. You can paint the romantic image of Yorkshire as a role model for how things should be but any student of cricket knows how fractious the infighting in Yorkshire as a county has been over the years. The Yorkies couldn't even get on with themselves!

  • Comment number 84.


    "So is it really only Andy Plowright (23) and myself who see a straight link between overseas professionals in other walks of life (medicine, law etc) and those playing team sport at national level?"

    It would appear that a GCSE in logic might have been more useful than Ancient Greek. Normal jobs have applicants from the entire workforce. International sportsmen/women are selected from a narrow pool of talented people who meet eligibility criteria. Apart from "overseas" and "professional", your comparison makes no sense.

  • Comment number 85.

    Not sure I agree with you on this, especially your attempt to connect doctors, teachers, etc with international sports stars performing for their home nations.
    If you use the simple comparison of Indian doctors or Australian teachers, filling gaps in the labour market in the UK with sports stars filling gaps in our home national teams, then why not forget all funding of sports at grass roots level. After all it's a very expensive and inefficient way of achieving success at the highest level. Instead we should simply offer players like Dhoni, Gayle or de Villiers more than their respective countries to come live here and qualify for the England team. We could even solve our problems getting medals in the Olympics, stop funding young British sprinters give that money to Usain Bolt to live in the UK and qualify to run for us. Do the same in tennis with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. After all who cares what country they grew up in or supported as a child, as long as we win?!

  • Comment number 86.

    84: Fairplaymotty:

    "It would appear that a GCSE in logic might have been more useful than Ancient Greek. Normal jobs have applicants from the entire workforce. International sportsmen/women are selected from a narrow pool of talented people who meet eligibility criteria. Apart from "overseas" and "professional", your comparison makes no sense."

    Normal jobs can have applications from anyone. The actual position can only be filled by someone who is legally able to work in the UK. A Brazilian on a visiting visa therefore could apply for the job but wouldn't be allowed to hold the position.
    You can therefore say that any 'normal' job position in this country is filled by a selection from a pool of talented people who fulfil eligibility criteria. Put that alongside your view that "International sportsmen/women are selected from a narrow pool of talented people who meet eligibility criteria." and there's actually not much difference. Be it a civil servant or an England cricketer, both positions have to be filled by someone who fulfils specific eligibility requirements.

  • Comment number 87.

    Yes, it matters immensely where players representing England are from. They should have at least been educating in the coutry that they end up representing. If not, what is international sport.

    I can assure Oliver Brett that many English spectators are now becoming disassociated with the national team purely because it seems to be ever more a flag of financial convenience to play under. Our weak county system provides opportunites for players from abroad to earn a good living playing cricket, but this should not mean that they qualify for the England team. Fans want to watch players who they can associate with not a bunch of mercenerial (and apparently quite unpleasant) South Africans.

  • Comment number 88.

    I can assure Rob that many English spectators are totally supportive of those who have migrated to this country playing for England.

    Rob, why does it matter so much where you were educated? Why are so many people using that as the basis to separate one group from another?

    International sport has changed and will keep changing. It's called "evolution", a word I imagine a high percentage of this thread have never come across.

  • Comment number 89.

    83 AndyPlowright
    Oh dear, where to start.
    No, I had no problem whatsoever with Colin ("born in India") Cowdrey or for that matter Ted ("born somewhere in Italy while his Dad was working away")Dexter because both had progressed through the ranks of our domestic cricket system and had spent the majority of their lives here. I was, however, less enthusiastic about the inclusion in an England team of Graham ("wait till my passport comes through") Hick who was born in Zimbabwe, raised in Zimbabwe and played representative cricket in Zimbabwe.
    Nor is this an issue of multiculturalism. The current Yorkshire first-team squad contains three players of unmistakeably south asian origin. Yet they share the same identifier as their team-mates who may, for all I know, be descended directly from the Vikings - they were born in Yorkshire (Shazad and Rashid) or have been there since very early childhood (Rafiq). They're as Yorkshire as me.
    Moving now to the allegations of "rubbish"; a term which seldom encourages informed debate. I'll set aside the spectre of International Invitational XIs for a moment. In my view the thing which must be preserved in all our plans for the future of cricket in this country are the lines of opportunity. Lines which run from the primary school kid knocking a ball against a wall with a bat too big for himself to the adult walking out to open the batting for his country or county. Few will achieve it but the odd one or two will get through. Once we start bringing in the finished article from overseas - whether they're South Africans, Zimbabweans or Eskimos - you compromise those lines of opportunity available to our own would-be internationals. Once the dream becomes unattainable the rot sets in. The kids will no longer play - in fact there is evidence that we're already on the downward slope. Once we reach critical mass it will be too late to revive the game at grasroots level.
    So back to the International Invitational XIs. Possibly far fetched but consider.... If we have a regime which permits the "anglicisation" (in cricketing terms) of even one overseas born-and-raised-into-adulthood cricketer after five years' residence and to then be exempt from any kind of quota, we can still expect that cricketer to perform at a decent level for up to another ten or fifteen years. Meanwhile we start on another overseas recruit. Eleven years from now you could have three such players and all of them perfectly legal. Throw in any others who can slip through the gaps with EU passports or whatever other exemptions they can wangle and you can soon have half a team made up of S Africans, Zimbabweans and Eskimos. The danger then is that you reach tipping point - the indigenous apprentices have already given up and everybody throws their hands up and says "we'll just have to get them from overseas - so we'll relax the rules"
    So where and when do you draw the line?. I recognise that a more mobile society means that qualification by birthplace alone may no longer be realistic. Personally, as a starting point for discussion, I'd settle for ten years (or half life if less) of bona fide UK residence as an alternative to a birthplace qualification, at both county and test level. This would accommodate both the future Cowdreys and Dexters but also the kids of immigrants who have settled here. It would, however, exclude the Hicks, Trotts and Pietersens.
    Finally don't mock whatever internal strife you perceive in God's Own County. It's what keeps us sharp. However it's remarkable how quickly it's shelved when threatened from outside.

  • Comment number 90.

    Andy you're ploughing a lone furrow here (apart from Mr Brett who's basically admitted defeat in his last post).

    Stop trying to justify the job/sportsman analogy because it just doesn't work. You know it and I know it. The basic fact is that thousands of cricket fans are becoming disenchanted with the make up of the England team and the ECB need to listen because, whilst they might fill grounds for Australia's four-yearly visit, they're going to struggle for the other visitors if the paying public cannot identify with the men on the pitch. And if that is 'evolution' then fine, I can take and will leave it thank you very much - and I know many more will do exactly the same.

  • Comment number 91.


    "Normal jobs can have applications from anyone. The actual position can only be filled by someone who is legally able to work in the UK."

    You're grasping at straws. The need for a work visa is nowhere near the need to meet international sporting eligibility criteria and have a visa.

  • Comment number 92.

    Yes Trotts grandfather, Albert Trott did play for England...he was born in Australia and played for them first though! His brother was captain of the Aussies as well! Trotts half brother (real tedious link now) represents Holland!

    I guess Jonathan Trott is only following in his grandfathers footsteps. I wonder who he supported in the Rugby World Cup final 2007....

    Anyway if it annoys SA and OZ fans I say get em in!

  • Comment number 93.

    A good article about one of the most debated topic on 606.As for the imports (South Africans cricketers) playing in England XI ,there is nothing wrong.Cricket for professional cricketers is a career.They have every right to choose the country in which they want to makes their career.It is up to England cricket board to have a selection process.They are surely not discriminating and it is nice to see that.I am sure KP has performed well for England and no one can claim that he is not passionate playing for England.In fact he has willingly performed his job well,utilizing all his skills,and is now Englans best ODI batsman ever.Don't people work in different countries other than their country of birth?.Why should cricketers be following different set of rules.

  • Comment number 94.

    In this discussion, a lot of people have announced that Player X is not really English or how disgraceful it is that we even consider Player Y. Not one person who has made a statement to that effect has come up with a definition of "English" that is none of the following:

    1)Inconsistent - eg Hussain (born in India, mixed parentage) was ok, but Pietersen (born in South Africa, mixed parentage)is not
    2) Arbitrary- eg who did they support as a child? (What is the cut off age?)
    3) Irrational - where did they learn their cricket? (Hopefully, they never stop learning it)
    4) Irrelevant - they're only here for the money (prove it)
    5) Downright Racist - not born in England (or worse, not "obviously" of English origin).

    The alternative view - that you were either
    1) born in a country,
    2) have a specified number of parents or grandparents who were born in that country, or
    3) have lived in that country for an agreed amount of time
    is by comparisom consistent, rational and straightforward. Really can't see why people have a problem with it.

  • Comment number 95.

    Andy Plowright - I agree with you about the coach, I certainly didn't want Andy Flower to get the job (though he does seem to be doing a pretty good job) - I wanted someone English to get it. We have some some candidates!!!!
    And Andy - of course your 3 years in Canada don't dilute your britishness - anyway I don't give a monkeys about your Britishness. We're talking (hyperthetically) about whether u should be eligible to play cricket for England, and the answer is yes as u were born here and lived almost all your life here.

    As for the 'educated in England' question - I know I mentioned that one myself earlier. To be honest I'm not exactly sure what the criteria should be, I just believe that they should be stricter guidelines.
    Ie. Pietersen, Trott, Hick & Morgan shouldn't have ever played for us (and lots more I'm sure), whereas Strauss, Hussain, Ramprakash, Panesar, Rashid are fine - in my opinion.
    One part of the new guidelines I would have though (and something the ICC should force on all test & one-day nations) is that any player hoping to play for 1 country hasn't previously played for another country at test/one-day level, or even U-19 level (U-15 level too, I don't know).

    And I'm certainly not xenophobic. I'm all for multiculturalism, infact I think if this country was had 100% white people it'd be a horrible place to live in, but when it comes to representing England it's a different story IMO.

    Andrew Symonds - yeah he was born in Birmingham, but listen to the guy speak he's clearly an Aussie. It's the same for Hussain & Strauss, they're clearly English.

  • Comment number 96.


    You certainly do cover a few angles here so let's get some talk going. The lines of opportunity for young players are important. You mention the primary school kid as opposed to the public school kid. In my opinion, and this goes back 15 years to when I played county youth cricket, the greatest barrier to the comprehensive educated schoolkid coming into county cricket are the county clubs themselves. They are still far too orientated toward public school cricket. Anyone who follows Somerset as I do knows how powerful the Millfield connection is. When I was younger, I saw countless kids with ability never get a chance with the counties. Those kids were mostly privately educated. County teams still haven't got far enough out into the local league structures to find the kids of real talent who are out there, and hence the public school cricketer has his instant advantage.

    Continuing on the line of opportunity angle, what do you think about the age restriction rules the ECB has brought in? Personally I think they are absolutely terrible rules, typical ECB cackhandedness.

    "Once we start bringing in the finished article from overseas - whether they're South Africans, Zimbabweans or Eskimos - you compromise those lines of opportunity available to our own would-be internationals."

    It depends on who you're talking about here. No county has brought in young 'finished articles' from South Africa who might go to play for England. Graeme Hick was never the finished article when he started with Worcestershire, and some might argue was never the finished article when he played his first and last Tests. Kieswetter at Somerset is nowhere near the finished article with the gloves or bat. If by 'finished article' you mean the Kolpak players like Andrew Hall and Nicky Boje who have finished their international career and now occupy a slot in county cricket then I agree that a mass of these players taking up slots in county cricket. The rule changes mean these players will begin to fizzle out over the next few years.

    You mention Adil Rashid as being of South Asian origin. In this circumstance, the origin refers to parental lineage and not a direct geographical origin (ie. Rashid wasn't born in South Asia). So if we take Rashid's parents as being the factor that means you can term him as being of 'South Asian origin', by the very same logic you have to look at Jon Trott, note his English father, and conclude that Trott is of English origin. Why should a man of English origin with a British passport and an English wife not play for his adopted country once he has served a lengthy qualifying period?

    The Invitational XI idea is far fetched because the system doesn't allow for instantaneous selection of a foreign player for England.

    I do get the image you paint of the 'overseas recruit' but it is veering on the side of the daft. The EU passport situation is far more ludicrous than Saffers qualifying for England but that's the EU for you. I have no issue with other EU countries but the actual administrative framework tying so many countries together is hideous. That's a whole different discussion. I do feel that people are blaming the Saffer imports in the same way overseas players got the blame in the 1980s for English players being rubbish. There's always someone else to blame for English players not making the grade. To my mind, an over-reliance on public school produced players who live quite sheltered lives means that the county system ends up full of players who simply aren't mentally tough enough to cope with international cricket.

    I do agree that we need changes in how people are judged to be eligible for a country's sporting teams. 10 years seems a very long time for me as a qualification period. You say your plan would exclude the Hicks, Trotts, and Pietersens. Sorry sir, all these guys served their qualification period. The latter two showed a real desire to play for England and made it their goal. Both are married to English women. In the immigration debates, people call for migrants to adapt to their new country: how have Trott and Pietersen not done that? I have absolutely zero problem with them playing. For them to get through to the highest level takes serious guts and application, the sort of guts and applciation you don't see from countless English born and bred players over the last 20 years.


    If you want to speak for the general population, go for it. If you're going to sit there and seriously tell me that the English watching public didn't identify with Pietersen when he scored that ton against the Aussies in 2005, I'll listen to you. All you'll hear afterwards is me laughing hysterically.


    "You're grasping at straws. The need for a work visa is nowhere near the need to meet international sporting eligibility criteria and have a visa."

    What visa does a person need to play for England? Go back and read what I wrote, and then go and read the UK Border Agency regulations on citizenship and work visas. It's quite clear. Any position in the UK can only be filled by someone who meets the UK guidelines ie. that person must have the legal right to work in the UK. On the flip side, any position in the England cricket team can only be filled by someone who meets the ICC qualification regulations. In both cases, the pool of available talent is limited to those who meet the legal working requirements/those who meet the ICC qualifying requirements. There's no 'open door' policy on either side.

  • Comment number 97.

    94: Eddieonthewing:

    Top post, sir. I couldn't agree more. This notion of 'what is being British' is something politicians can't decide upon, sociologists can't decide on, and evidently BBC cricket blog posters can't decide on. Instead, there's this semi-romantic idea of what being British is, that ends up getting shot down by examples of 'British' people who lived overseas, were born overseas, etc etc. I wonder if the anti-Trott people on this thread are staunch Royalists or know anything of the House of Hanover...

  • Comment number 98.

    KP wanted to play for South Africa who didn't pick him so he chose England as second best.

    When this topic arises I always think of the Leslie brothers that played rugby for Scotland. One of them admitted that during the anthems before his first cap he was profoundly sad because he knew at that point he would never play for the All Blacks. I suspect that emotion is felt by many of the individuals who change nationality - they're choosing second best because of lack of talent/money/politics etc.

    That's not what international sport is for, that's a club mentality. The eligibility rules need to be far tighter.

  • Comment number 99.


    What is international sport for though? The Olympics I something I personally hate because it's a sporting event taken over by politicians for their own benefit (see Beijing and see some of the reports over the London plans, particularly involving Barking and the shooting. Massive political interference there purely for political gain).

    You will get cases where a player feels like they're playing for 'the second best team'. I accept that. However, in Pietersen and Trott we've seen two men go out, perform under pressure against the world's best, and show something special. Do you think Trott gave any less effort at the Oval this year than if he'd been playing for South Africa? Not a chance.

    I say that international sport is changing. The IPL within cricket changes the notion of supporting 'your team'. When you see Indians playing Indians or Aussies taking on Warne, it throws the old allegiances right up the spout. We shouldn't fear change. Nobody wants to see rubbish brought into the England team (sorry Mr Pattinson, you're going down in history as one of the great one-Test wonders). If county players and county teams object to the number of 'foreign imports', then it's up to those county players and coaches to improve and to keep hammering on the door for international recognition.

  • Comment number 100.


    I don't get why such an arbitrary factor as educational background should be used to determine 'Britishness'. Would it make a difference if it were a public school education or a comprehensive? What about university education? It's so random as to be utterly meaningless when someone says 'Ahhh, but Hussain was educated here so that's fine in his case'

    I don't think you should have to play for the same country you played for at U-15 level. I suspect U-19 would also be considered impossible to enforce as you've got the whole 'You become properly adult at 18 when you vote' element to consider. It could be a legal landmine, to say the least.

    I giggled at your comments about Symonds sounding Australian and being born in Brum. When I lived in Toronto, most people meeting me for the first time asked if I were Australian. The Canucks have a pretty weird idea of what an Aussie accent sounds like!


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