Samir Chopra March 1, 2010

Whose culture? Whose failure?

British Asians are not a monolithic bloc
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"Is Monty Panesar too deferential toward the people who are giving him bad advice?" © Getty Images

Yesterday, I read Mike Atherton's article on the 'failure' of British Asian cricketers with mixed feelings. Mixed because in the course of a worthwhile investigation, Atherton offers an analysis that goes hither and thither, travelling some well-worn and predictably non-informative grooves and ends up going nowhere. (One hint of the problem in his analysis lies in the choice of headline "Depressing culture of failure" (my italics)).

It has been evident that despite the greater visibility of Asian players on the English cricket scene, few have managed to stake out a firm regular spot in the English side. That includes Bopara, Rashid, Ramprakash, Solanki, Panesar, Patel(s), Mahmood, Shah, Chopra et al. Some have shone briefly, others not at all. Monty Panesar enjoyed the longest honeymoon in recent times but even his star seems to have described its arc and is now in decline. (Incidentally, why does Atherton not consider Nasser Hussain in his list? Is Hussain "too English" to be counted here? Is that because of his mixed parentage, or is it because Hussain has somehow transcended "Asianess"?)

So what's the problem? After all-too briefly wondering, and not really entertaining as a live hypothesis, whether English cricket has been welcoming enough, Atherton considers cricketing reasons: Mahmood is not good enough, Patel is not fit enough and Rashid has been over-promoted (perhaps in a rush to find an English Warne or a spin replacement for Panesar). These three form part of a brief denying of any charges against English cricket. Their putative counterexamples apparently suggest any facile generalised charge against the management of English cricket is unlikely to stick.

But Atherton does not consider that a lack of welcome from English cricket might not be a necessary condition in the failure of the players but merely a sufficient condition. Given the importance of dressing room politics and the notorious ease with which players slip into cliques, this would have been an angle worth investigating.

Cultural reasons poke their head up when it comes to Panesar. Perhaps he is in awe of authority (measured by something termed a "power-distance rating": India is high, England is low on this scale) and so perhaps is too deferential toward people who are giving him bad advice (Atherton also gratuitously throws in mention of Panesar's wedding being "an Indian affair" as proof of his irredeemable grounding in his Indian background).

But Shah and Bopara do not fall into this category; they have never seemed deferential enough. The failure might be the cricketing equivalent of "lack of moral fibre" for Atherton suggests Bopara was "mentally shot" after his failures (against Australia) and that Shah has suffered from selectorial slights.

But Atherton fails to consider another factor when offering this social-scientific analysis (if you're going to do it, do it right): that those in power seek to emphasise their distance from those below them, that those in power are capable of recognising and emphasising a power-relation that suits them. Might Vaughan and Fletcher have failed in this regard? Power relations are not maintained by one party in the relationship after all; they are constructed jointly. Atherton does not wait to consider this possibility. He is in a rush to figure out the cultural underpinnings of such failure. We might ask: whose culture?

What about Shahzad? Well, he seems to be doing some things right. Apparently, he isn't eating his mum's "rotis and curries" (and has substituted fish and chips with beers at the pub?) and his private school background has helped his integration into the English team. His success would, for Atherton, help dispel two notions: that British Asians can't hack it, and that English cricket is not welcoming enough. The latter seems to be Atherton's primary concern.

Could diet be the answer? Well, that would certainly explain why lots of Indian players never did well. But would that explain the success of those (like most in the Indian team) who continue to pack away rotis and curries? The "it was the curries wot did it" explanation is a silly one and especially in this context; is the English diet known for its sports-ability enhancing qualities? I know that Atherton has in mind a proper sportsman's diet, but following that is a problem for plenty of people in the English team.

The problem with Atherton's analysis is that it is scattershot in dealing with a complex problem: there are leads that Atherton considers but does not chase down, and he throws out enough suggestions to keep the waters muddied. And as noted, he simply does not consider the flip-side of the possible solutions considered. Any kind of causal analysis needs to pay attention to a variety of factors; sure, the short-circuit caused the spark that caused the carpet to catch fire, but it needed the presence of oxygen and a flammable material to get going.

British Asians are not a monolithic bloc. They are made up of a variety of different religious, cultural and economic backgrounds. And that includes their English class and regional ones. To treat them as a bloc is the first problem in Atherton's analysis. There are many equivalence classes in a set; the first step to finding an analysis that works is to divide up the set of English cricket players properly. There are working-class players from the North who don't integrate (Rashid for one, but do all the lads from up North fit in easily?); there are fitness slobs who don't do the hard yards (the young Flintoff and Samit Patel); would going in this direction enable Atherton to answer the broader and perhaps more interesting question of why English cricket in general is mired in a level just above mediocrity? Is the failure of British Asians in cricket their problem or is there a larger problem in English cricket waiting to be discovered?

Indeed, as Atherton bounces from hypothesis to hypothesis, he might have realised the answer was staring him in the face: the young men he is talking about are Englishmen. They have more in common with Englishmen than with any other nationality. Any analysis of their success or failure should begin and end by considering their case along with those most like them: other Englishmen, no matter what their ethnic background.

Samir Chopra lives in Brooklyn and teaches Philosophy at the City University of New York. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Sanket on May 4, 2010, 14:08 GMT

    British Asians constitute 6.5 percent of UK's population. I think their contribution to cricket exceeds their contribution to population.

    English cricket is in a bad state. I was watching their last T20 match vs West Indies and almost half their team was born outside UK. Despite the popularity of sports like football and rugby, English cricket has, perhaps, a lager fan base than any country outside the Indian subcontinent. Do their achievements correlate with their fan base and financial strength. For all talk about BCCI's financial domination, ECB is still the second richest cricket body. Why is ECB not able to develop talent internally. Does their famed county circuit and its reliance on non-English talent play a part in this.

  • sekhar on March 4, 2010, 12:31 GMT

    Never mind what Atherton wrote. Like someone said- he his compliments can usually turn milk to cur.

    BUT-This English team HAS what it takes to bring home the world cup. It has a bunch of match winners. I think the world better sit up and take notice.

  • Loupervius on March 3, 2010, 10:15 GMT

    If we cast our mind back a few years. Kabir Ali made his debut against South Africa, almost at the same time as James Anderson. In those early matches Kabir comfortably out-performed Anderson, but who has been discarded and who has been persisted with?

  • cmpokhriyal on March 3, 2010, 6:05 GMT

    I know what Artherton wants to say. Why should you waste time in making/grooming a good player into great one (and that includes players from all ethnicity including British whites)? Few South Africans and now an Irishman is doing great job for them. If somehow, you can throw in couple of Australians, England will have a bloody good team...

  • Oliver Chettle on March 3, 2010, 3:11 GMT

    It is tiresome and offensive that so many people are constantly looking to blame racism for everything. Proportionate to their numbers, British Asians are doing better than white Englishmen. Take out the Asians, the South Africans, and the sons of cricketers out of the England set-up, and there isn't much quality left. In other words the talent of the 90% of the population who are white Britons from non-professional cricketing families are not being is not being utilised. The problem is the county system, which exists simply to perpetuate itself, and has a culture of mediocrity.

  • db8 on March 3, 2010, 0:23 GMT

    @white hunt.Indians in Britain weak mentally?..is this the same community that happens to regularly occupy the upper echelons of academic achievement? The same community that has borne the richest person in the UK? The same community who have amongst the lowest criminality rates?..the same community that have migrated up to 2-3 times in ONE GENERATION (india to africa to the UK and often on to USA) and have become wealthy and contributed vastly to the economies they have joined? The same community that has amongst the lowest number of benefit claims in the UK system? Indians in the UK have THRIVED against many odds...weak community we are NOT and we show this time and time again. Added to this we are a well integrated community. Sad that you havent seen that...though it makes me suspicious that you have NO IDEA WHAT YOURE TALKING ABOUT. I think British culture itself is a weak culture mentally with regards to sports...have you never watched football penalties involving england?

  • Dhaval on March 2, 2010, 22:46 GMT

    @ROWAN

    I M VERY DISAPPOINTED WITH UR COMMENTS..i live in USA and I am indian american..I have no idea about UK so wont comment about them..

    But when you say Indian people living in western countries are timid and mentally weak than it needs a reply...

    Indian americans are ahead economically,educationally and any other criteria you would think of deciding progressiveness of a cultural group...Politically even though being a very small minority in a democracy Indo-americans are at many of the most powerful positions..

    So even if we accept ur arguements about british asian people that makes me think of only one reason and that is British people as such are so prejudiced and patronizing that they just cant tolerate any other culture but british..

  • Ishan Ghose on March 2, 2010, 19:18 GMT

    Let me throw in a devil's advocate bit... How many players of Asian (read subcontinental) origin were in the teams that won the 2005 and 2009 Ashes? With the exception of Bopara (who failed at Lords), there wasn't a single Asian player in the matches that England won to regain the Ashes on both the occasions. I wonder what that suggests? Oh by the way, I'm Indian :)

    Cheers IG

  • Rav Dhaliwal on March 2, 2010, 14:52 GMT

    @ Rowan 'Just look at indians in Western countries'

    What do you mean by this? You mean the same indians that prop up the NHS and private sector with a buoyant workforce, making billions for the UK economy!?

  • Nilesh on March 2, 2010, 12:58 GMT

    The initial problem is that the most talented "Inglish" cricketers don't even make the county scene! I believe that the ones who do make it are also at a disadvantage becuase they are not given the extended time that the likes of Hick were given through their failures. On "Page 2" today, I read about Graham Gooch's chequered international career. Get the initial selection right and then come up with the analysis and then maybe I will actually read the whole thing.

    ps - I was never good enough to make the county scene, but I have witnessed many "Inglish" lads who were more than good enough, but were ignored by the system (or more accurately, the people who run the system!).

  • Sanket on May 4, 2010, 14:08 GMT

    British Asians constitute 6.5 percent of UK's population. I think their contribution to cricket exceeds their contribution to population.

    English cricket is in a bad state. I was watching their last T20 match vs West Indies and almost half their team was born outside UK. Despite the popularity of sports like football and rugby, English cricket has, perhaps, a lager fan base than any country outside the Indian subcontinent. Do their achievements correlate with their fan base and financial strength. For all talk about BCCI's financial domination, ECB is still the second richest cricket body. Why is ECB not able to develop talent internally. Does their famed county circuit and its reliance on non-English talent play a part in this.

  • sekhar on March 4, 2010, 12:31 GMT

    Never mind what Atherton wrote. Like someone said- he his compliments can usually turn milk to cur.

    BUT-This English team HAS what it takes to bring home the world cup. It has a bunch of match winners. I think the world better sit up and take notice.

  • Loupervius on March 3, 2010, 10:15 GMT

    If we cast our mind back a few years. Kabir Ali made his debut against South Africa, almost at the same time as James Anderson. In those early matches Kabir comfortably out-performed Anderson, but who has been discarded and who has been persisted with?

  • cmpokhriyal on March 3, 2010, 6:05 GMT

    I know what Artherton wants to say. Why should you waste time in making/grooming a good player into great one (and that includes players from all ethnicity including British whites)? Few South Africans and now an Irishman is doing great job for them. If somehow, you can throw in couple of Australians, England will have a bloody good team...

  • Oliver Chettle on March 3, 2010, 3:11 GMT

    It is tiresome and offensive that so many people are constantly looking to blame racism for everything. Proportionate to their numbers, British Asians are doing better than white Englishmen. Take out the Asians, the South Africans, and the sons of cricketers out of the England set-up, and there isn't much quality left. In other words the talent of the 90% of the population who are white Britons from non-professional cricketing families are not being is not being utilised. The problem is the county system, which exists simply to perpetuate itself, and has a culture of mediocrity.

  • db8 on March 3, 2010, 0:23 GMT

    @white hunt.Indians in Britain weak mentally?..is this the same community that happens to regularly occupy the upper echelons of academic achievement? The same community that has borne the richest person in the UK? The same community who have amongst the lowest criminality rates?..the same community that have migrated up to 2-3 times in ONE GENERATION (india to africa to the UK and often on to USA) and have become wealthy and contributed vastly to the economies they have joined? The same community that has amongst the lowest number of benefit claims in the UK system? Indians in the UK have THRIVED against many odds...weak community we are NOT and we show this time and time again. Added to this we are a well integrated community. Sad that you havent seen that...though it makes me suspicious that you have NO IDEA WHAT YOURE TALKING ABOUT. I think British culture itself is a weak culture mentally with regards to sports...have you never watched football penalties involving england?

  • Dhaval on March 2, 2010, 22:46 GMT

    @ROWAN

    I M VERY DISAPPOINTED WITH UR COMMENTS..i live in USA and I am indian american..I have no idea about UK so wont comment about them..

    But when you say Indian people living in western countries are timid and mentally weak than it needs a reply...

    Indian americans are ahead economically,educationally and any other criteria you would think of deciding progressiveness of a cultural group...Politically even though being a very small minority in a democracy Indo-americans are at many of the most powerful positions..

    So even if we accept ur arguements about british asian people that makes me think of only one reason and that is British people as such are so prejudiced and patronizing that they just cant tolerate any other culture but british..

  • Ishan Ghose on March 2, 2010, 19:18 GMT

    Let me throw in a devil's advocate bit... How many players of Asian (read subcontinental) origin were in the teams that won the 2005 and 2009 Ashes? With the exception of Bopara (who failed at Lords), there wasn't a single Asian player in the matches that England won to regain the Ashes on both the occasions. I wonder what that suggests? Oh by the way, I'm Indian :)

    Cheers IG

  • Rav Dhaliwal on March 2, 2010, 14:52 GMT

    @ Rowan 'Just look at indians in Western countries'

    What do you mean by this? You mean the same indians that prop up the NHS and private sector with a buoyant workforce, making billions for the UK economy!?

  • Nilesh on March 2, 2010, 12:58 GMT

    The initial problem is that the most talented "Inglish" cricketers don't even make the county scene! I believe that the ones who do make it are also at a disadvantage becuase they are not given the extended time that the likes of Hick were given through their failures. On "Page 2" today, I read about Graham Gooch's chequered international career. Get the initial selection right and then come up with the analysis and then maybe I will actually read the whole thing.

    ps - I was never good enough to make the county scene, but I have witnessed many "Inglish" lads who were more than good enough, but were ignored by the system (or more accurately, the people who run the system!).

  • Roofi on March 2, 2010, 12:26 GMT

    The last paragraph sums it up well. England is poor in sports through and through but too often Englishman's eyes gets blurred by exalted feeling of greatness. Football is a classic example, round the clock football machine at work well oiled with money only to loose to smaller countries like Romania, Hungry Poland in initial stages of each world cups.Like in all other spheres sons of immigrants have to perform 125% to get any mention in the press and that has not been achieved so far by ethnic minority cricketers so far but it will happen. There is inherent resistance to acknowledge and accept alien talent in a team game( unless 125% above average)and thats why these cricketers have struggled in a below average team. Another important fact is that most Asains in Britain comes from (historically) humble and poor background and and naturally the focus of the generations is to get ahead or par in Education business medcine law and engineering and cricket or sports is not their priority

  • Rootofall3vil on March 2, 2010, 9:00 GMT

    Atherton, even with his reputation, does come up with some very poorly researched articles and theories. Anyone remember him presenting thoery that Tendulkar can not be called as one of the greatest because batsmen these days have ample protective gear. A quote from the article "Tendulkar was batting in a One-Day game, but had the image been of him batting in whites, there is a good chance that, along with a helmet, Tendulkar would have been wearing an arm guard and a chest guard, too. He is always amply protected,". Figure that.

  • Longmemory on March 2, 2010, 7:26 GMT

    Athers is certainly one of the more cerebral writers around on cricket but Samir's right on the many weaknesses of this piece. How many Brits of Afro-Caribbean ancestry have made it good in cricket there? Other than Butcher (the left-handed batter) I can hardly think of any, while many a promising youngster has bitten the dust. And yet, blacks excel in other sports in Britain (and everywhere else) including soccer, track and field (remember Daley Thompson?). Athers would do well to look at cultural reasons alright - but he's looking in the wrong place: its England's insular and stodgy cricket culture that's to blame, not Asian culture.

  • Vijay on March 2, 2010, 6:25 GMT

    Somebody tell me Y the Lion is on ur Coat of Arms, National symbols etc when u dont have lions in your country ? i have never understood the British (incl Mike Atherton) and I dont think many in the world will understand them.

  • Jeremy Nirmal on March 2, 2010, 4:31 GMT

    @ Thiru Cumaran Nasser Hussain's Father is British? Really? Is that why he was also born in madras? He even played a first class match for madras. He migrated to England after his degree. Check you facts. Having a british passport doesn't make him any less Asian. And if Nasser Hussain isn't included then Mark Ramprakash, whose mother is English, shouldn't be as well.

    Very Interesting article. I feel some points Atherton makes are good but other ones are typical of a white person. I think the main problem is just labeling a group as Asians. Each person is different and I think they should be viewed at Englishman and not Asians. If you are going to call them Asians then do a bit more research into their background and social status. And why wasn't Dimitri Mascarenhas included? Is it because his name doesn't sound the slightest bit asian? He is just as Asian as any of these guys. Maybe Atherton needs to decide on his definition of Asian before writing such articles.

  • The White Hunter on March 2, 2010, 3:51 GMT

    A poor article by Samir. I think Atherton was spot on with his analysis. It's been proven time and again that British Asians are mentally fragile. Whether it's their own problem or it' due to white people's attitude towards them is difficult to tell. But I think their is a major problem and it needs to be fixed.

    Another concern is that, even after living for two or three generations, British Asians don't consider themselves British. It's evident from their support of Indian or Pakistani cricket teams.

  • Rav Dhaliwal on March 1, 2010, 22:58 GMT

    A fantastic article Samir. As for Rowan's comments above mine here; they are almost as pitiful and pro-segregatory as Athertons. You correctly point out that it cannot be diet, as how does that explain the Indian team being number 1? The fact is that England pride themselves on being a multicultural nation but yet spend no time to integrate with their non-white players. Whereas look at South Africa, and arguably their most popular player in the past 20 years, Makhaya Ntini.

  • Dhaval on March 1, 2010, 22:57 GMT

    very well done samir..

    i know deep inside u wanted to write that atherton is jst another white british who think that asian people are to be ruled by british..

    he wanted to write an article which criticizes british asian and their culture and at the same time didnt want to be sound racist..

    but i m afraid that is what the only reason why he would write such baseless article..

    otherwise why the hell he would write about panesar's wedding..wt it has to do with this article

    and why the hell did he mention about food...dont forget mickey that same curry and chapati eating indian cricketers are beating so called healthy food eating english team convincingly!!!

  • MG on March 1, 2010, 21:59 GMT

    England has never a won a Cricket World Cup after playing for 150 years..and God knows when they won last Fottbal World Cup 1966..may be...Being a develop country for so long..Britain has worst record in terms of Sports...Atherton forgot when he raised one finger at Asians other 3 fingers were poiting at him...

  • kris on March 1, 2010, 21:41 GMT

    My eyes lit up when I saw 'equivalence class'. This must be the first time set theory has ever been mentioned in relation to cricket.

    whatever next, the construction of the indian cricket team from the basic ZFC axioms?

  • Ammad Siddiqui on March 1, 2010, 18:46 GMT

    I couldn't agree with you more. You have nailed it right on. I couldn't put it in a better manner. The last paragraph just pretty much sums up everything.

  • bulla on March 1, 2010, 18:00 GMT

    Athers has bitten off more than he can chew I reckon, trying to recreate Weber's Protestant Ethic theory,the fact remains that sporting achievements are notoriously hard to circumscribe within the bounds of a convenient theory. Anyway, I hope Athers will someday extend his original research and tell us why Protestants fail to win the World Cup in Football more frequently.

  • Sridhar on March 1, 2010, 16:37 GMT

    Samir, thank you for exposing Atherton's poor article. He is normally insightful in cricketing matters, but India/Asia topics do not show him in good light. He has the wonderful ability to make even compliments sound like insults. Another of his favourite tricks is to give completely irrelevant examples to make a point( "Power distance rating", "Marriage is an Indian affair" etc etc). He underestimates the intelligence of his readers considerably and much of his writing borders on yellow journalism. His cricket commentary ,though, is first rate. I find him much more fun to listen to as compared to the BCCI choir boys Gavaskar/Shastri who are disgusting

  • Owen Edwards on March 1, 2010, 16:27 GMT

    Apart from the typical Indperialist tripe in Raj Singh Mehrotra's comment that seems to come from his triumphalist ilk on every article mentioning the Subcontinent, very good article.

    The general "typical Englishness" of the problems can be carried out across virtually every of the examples - is Panesar the only English player of recent times to take bad advice or lose his confidence? Is Bopara the only flashy but brittle swaggerer?

    I suspect there is SOME issue relating to how the English national team has used Asian players, but I'm not even sure there it's a culture clash, except that by failing Anglo-Asian players in the standard way, it damages a disproportionate amount of the player base of the ethnicity (compared to failed white English players).

  • David Bird on March 1, 2010, 15:00 GMT

    British Asians, Naseem Hamen and Amir Khan, have had PLENTY of success in boxing. Is that relevant?

  • Simon on March 1, 2010, 14:57 GMT

    Spot on Samir. The question is why we haven't produced a home grown (Asian, Afro Caribbean, white - anything), truly top world class player (the best 7 or 8 of their discipline) since Botham and arguably Gooch and Gower.

  • Thiru Cumaran on March 1, 2010, 12:39 GMT

    Nasser isn't exactly considered an Asian because his dad was posted in India by the military. His parents are British, just that he happened to be born in Madras.

    The reason for dropping Samit Patel was the most stupid one that I have ever heard of. Who cares if he was unfit? He was bowling, batting and fielding well, so he deserved a place in the squad, even though he was fat! Look at one of the best batsman to have come out of Pakistan, Inzy! He's made 20,000 runs in international cricket. Did he ever get dropped because he was unfit?

    Like you say, Samir, I feel dressing room cliques could be the reason. Monty's case is different, but what about Shah? Or for that matter, Ramps or Ravi? They had skill....could it be that all Brit Asians are morally inept? I doubt it..

  • Raj Singh Mehrotra on March 1, 2010, 11:30 GMT

    VERY VERY WELL WRITTEN! Finally someone to analyze a situation properly, rather than the droll hypothesis of Mickey ('Mouse') Atherton. Well done Samir! Rather surprised (or not) to find this Fine article right at the bottom of cricinfo's home page. Wake up Cricinfo! We want to read proper articles, none of your India bashing (save Sachin deifying)churned out by your coterie of so called journalists.

  • Shourik on March 1, 2010, 11:25 GMT

    Thanks for the careful analysis of Atherton's article. In comments, a number of readers have pointed out some holes in his criticism of Ramps, by the way - check out the aggregate and averages vs WI for Ramps/Athers!

    I think the real issue here is man management. The English system failed Andrew Flintoff and at the same time kept bowling Ashley Giles well past his best. Shah was told he'd get a clear run at the number 3 spot, then is dropped a couple of Tests later. They will still not unequivocally admit that Tresco is not being considered for selection.

    The handling of British Asian players is just another example of ECB incompetence.

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  • Shourik on March 1, 2010, 11:25 GMT

    Thanks for the careful analysis of Atherton's article. In comments, a number of readers have pointed out some holes in his criticism of Ramps, by the way - check out the aggregate and averages vs WI for Ramps/Athers!

    I think the real issue here is man management. The English system failed Andrew Flintoff and at the same time kept bowling Ashley Giles well past his best. Shah was told he'd get a clear run at the number 3 spot, then is dropped a couple of Tests later. They will still not unequivocally admit that Tresco is not being considered for selection.

    The handling of British Asian players is just another example of ECB incompetence.

  • Raj Singh Mehrotra on March 1, 2010, 11:30 GMT

    VERY VERY WELL WRITTEN! Finally someone to analyze a situation properly, rather than the droll hypothesis of Mickey ('Mouse') Atherton. Well done Samir! Rather surprised (or not) to find this Fine article right at the bottom of cricinfo's home page. Wake up Cricinfo! We want to read proper articles, none of your India bashing (save Sachin deifying)churned out by your coterie of so called journalists.

  • Thiru Cumaran on March 1, 2010, 12:39 GMT

    Nasser isn't exactly considered an Asian because his dad was posted in India by the military. His parents are British, just that he happened to be born in Madras.

    The reason for dropping Samit Patel was the most stupid one that I have ever heard of. Who cares if he was unfit? He was bowling, batting and fielding well, so he deserved a place in the squad, even though he was fat! Look at one of the best batsman to have come out of Pakistan, Inzy! He's made 20,000 runs in international cricket. Did he ever get dropped because he was unfit?

    Like you say, Samir, I feel dressing room cliques could be the reason. Monty's case is different, but what about Shah? Or for that matter, Ramps or Ravi? They had skill....could it be that all Brit Asians are morally inept? I doubt it..

  • Simon on March 1, 2010, 14:57 GMT

    Spot on Samir. The question is why we haven't produced a home grown (Asian, Afro Caribbean, white - anything), truly top world class player (the best 7 or 8 of their discipline) since Botham and arguably Gooch and Gower.

  • David Bird on March 1, 2010, 15:00 GMT

    British Asians, Naseem Hamen and Amir Khan, have had PLENTY of success in boxing. Is that relevant?

  • Owen Edwards on March 1, 2010, 16:27 GMT

    Apart from the typical Indperialist tripe in Raj Singh Mehrotra's comment that seems to come from his triumphalist ilk on every article mentioning the Subcontinent, very good article.

    The general "typical Englishness" of the problems can be carried out across virtually every of the examples - is Panesar the only English player of recent times to take bad advice or lose his confidence? Is Bopara the only flashy but brittle swaggerer?

    I suspect there is SOME issue relating to how the English national team has used Asian players, but I'm not even sure there it's a culture clash, except that by failing Anglo-Asian players in the standard way, it damages a disproportionate amount of the player base of the ethnicity (compared to failed white English players).

  • Sridhar on March 1, 2010, 16:37 GMT

    Samir, thank you for exposing Atherton's poor article. He is normally insightful in cricketing matters, but India/Asia topics do not show him in good light. He has the wonderful ability to make even compliments sound like insults. Another of his favourite tricks is to give completely irrelevant examples to make a point( "Power distance rating", "Marriage is an Indian affair" etc etc). He underestimates the intelligence of his readers considerably and much of his writing borders on yellow journalism. His cricket commentary ,though, is first rate. I find him much more fun to listen to as compared to the BCCI choir boys Gavaskar/Shastri who are disgusting

  • bulla on March 1, 2010, 18:00 GMT

    Athers has bitten off more than he can chew I reckon, trying to recreate Weber's Protestant Ethic theory,the fact remains that sporting achievements are notoriously hard to circumscribe within the bounds of a convenient theory. Anyway, I hope Athers will someday extend his original research and tell us why Protestants fail to win the World Cup in Football more frequently.

  • Ammad Siddiqui on March 1, 2010, 18:46 GMT

    I couldn't agree with you more. You have nailed it right on. I couldn't put it in a better manner. The last paragraph just pretty much sums up everything.

  • kris on March 1, 2010, 21:41 GMT

    My eyes lit up when I saw 'equivalence class'. This must be the first time set theory has ever been mentioned in relation to cricket.

    whatever next, the construction of the indian cricket team from the basic ZFC axioms?