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July 23, 2008

Politics

International chancers ridicule the sport

Kamran Abbasi
Darren Pattinson flings one down, England v South Africa, 2nd Test, Headingley, July 18, 2008
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Should a cricketer be denied an international career by the inconvenience of birth or upbringing? Last week brought us the differing cases of Danish Kaneria and Darren Pattinson. Both are disturbing.

Kaneria is flirting with the idea of qualifying for England if Pakistan continue to ignore him. He denies any immediate intent, of course, but the fact that the thought lives with him betrays the mentality of an opportunist.

Representing your country at international level should be a badge of honour not a badge of convenience. These are tough times in Kaneria's international career but he must choose fight not flight--and both Pakistani and English cricket boards can help with an unequivocal message that any transfer of allegiance will not be welcome.

Pattinson, meanwhile, has flirted with his English heritage to take his career from obscurity to the international arena. The dilemma is not entirely of his making, however. European legislation, a spate of injuries, and a seriously misguided selection policy have thrust him into an uncomfortable controversy.

The concerns of some England cricketers are understandable. What is the point of a national cricket structure if it can be subverted by a stroke of crass opportunism by England's selectors? The ECB will say it is playing by the rules but there are bad laws as well as good ones. People in positions of seniority are paid not only for their adherence to regulations but also for their judgment.

Danish Kaneria may harbour a plan B that sees him join forces with the ECB but he is united with them prematurely in the club of international chancers who ridicule the sport and the cricket fans of their respective countries.

Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here

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Posted by Zsam on (July 27, 2008, 15:10 GMT)

Cricket as a sport is not in a very healthy state; with some nations boasting of very strong squads and infrastructure, while others are losing their 'skilled manpower', without any new replenishments. To even the 'Talent Scale', I would suggest that the naturalization time be reduced even further. And with players of different cultures and religions playing in hitherto monocultural countries, would only be good for greater understanding. Loving one's nation is natural and understandable, but to equate playing for another nation as - treason: the crime of a traitor, is inappropriate and unhealthy, besides being Stalinist. I would rather see a Lara play for SA than see no Lara at all; that is if West Indies do not want him!

Posted by Don on (July 27, 2008, 9:42 GMT)

There is no comparison. Kaneria is a Pakistani and has represented Pakistan internationally. If he chooses to represent another country just to further his career that may say something about his character and about his opportunities at home (but I don't necessarily think he should be stoned for it - after all it's just a sport). However you are sadly mistaken about Pattinson. He has not "chosen" England over Australia because he is not eligible to play for Australia at all. He holds English citizenship (and passport) and is only an Australian resident. That makes him - under ICC rules - eligible to play only for England. The fact that he has lived (and will probably continue to live) in Australia most of his life counts for nothing here, and just makes him another pom living in Australia. Also note, Pattinson never made a request to play for England. He went over there to play county cricket (like many Aussies do during the winter) and was surprisingly called up.

Posted by Harpartap on (July 26, 2008, 8:00 GMT)

Kaneria is highly over rated. Mushtaq in his prime was a much better leggie and probably still is. I agree with the people calling him on his whining. If he perfroms well the selectors will have no option but to select him. What makes Kaneria think England will select him?

Posted by AJAX on (July 25, 2008, 16:19 GMT)

I fail to see why my response to mike of cnbra is censored and he is allowed to post such filth, clearly violating guidelines by insulting another poster. That is the sole purpose of his second comment. Or do you deliberately post his comments to expose his character and incite hatred towards his ilk and censure all responses to them? Either way, you don't play fair, do you?

Posted by AA on (July 25, 2008, 15:45 GMT)

Hi Kamran, by your logic you should be working in Pakistan and not in the UK.

Posted by obaid on (July 25, 2008, 13:37 GMT)

mike of cnbra at July 25, 2008 6:18 AM spoken like a man

Posted by Theena on (July 25, 2008, 12:50 GMT)

(Contd) But it’s not my place to pass judgment and throw silly accusations at him, especially when there is an inherent hypocrisy behind the accusation. If there was a likelihood of the s*** hitting the fan in my country, I know I would immediately consider moving in an effort to ply my trade elsewhere. Why should it be any different for a sportsman?

Posted by Theena on (July 25, 2008, 12:48 GMT)

Di7y, I admit conjecture wasn’t the best way of concluding my comment, but I ask you this: in light of the PCB’s recent record of incompetence, would it really be too far fetched to assume that a player may want to get out, especially if his own selection isn’t guaranteed? Kepler Wessels moved to Australia during the height of Apartheid to allow himself a chance to play the highest form of cricket for his adopted nation. Does that make him a mercenary? He, too, only wanted to earn a living doing what he loved most. And like Kaneria, he had no parental lineage tracing back to his adopted nation (I searched, but couldn’t find any article claiming if that was indeed the case so correct me if I am wrong) to justify his claim (much like KP did in moving to England from South Africa).

Let me clarify my position though: in principle, I do not agree with Kaneria’s desire (whether implied or otherwise) or his ilk who abandon their national ambitions for greener turfs. (contd below)

Posted by mike of cnbra on (July 25, 2008, 6:18 GMT)

Karthik (july 24;12:35pm) demonstrates the mercenary's lack of character and subsequent inability to understand why others dislike him for his opportunism. The reason why people are appalled by opportunism is because they have that loyalty and love of country that you call BS. I amused by your pubescent delight in denigrating patriotism. You come here anonymously and scrawl your pathetic insult like a graffitist over something meaningful. The scrawl can be washed away but the stain is on you. You don't have the quality to empathise with people. Hence you call patriotism BS. You can't relate to people except to abuse what they believe in. You don't have the qualities of loyalty or honor. Hence you can't tell opportunity from opportunism. You don't understand what's obvious so you repeat whats been corrected for you; Kaniera is able to ply his trade without turning on his country. You don't get it because you don't possess the honour that could help you tell right from wrong.

Posted by Nabeel on (July 25, 2008, 1:55 GMT)

I do not think any harm in it, if Kaneria opt for England at the end of day it is cricket which matters not the stage. Incase of Kaneria he knows himself that he has got slim chances of playing for Pakistan in ODI and Pakistan hardly play any test cricket. So you guys just want him to play hardly 10-17 test matches per year in which our All Rounder batsman cum bowler cum the Captain will prefer an all rounder in place of Kaneria. We have never point out the two great W's who were kept on playing county cricket and Pakistan was suffering to have a handful bowling attack in Sahara Cup etc.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kamran Abbasi
Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He was the first Asian columnist for Wisden Cricket Monthly and wisden.com. Kamran is the editor of the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. @KamranAbbasi

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