March 6, 2011

World Cup 2011

One team, two countries, no 'national' anthem

Sharda Ugra

When Ireland turned out for the national anthems before the start of the match, what played over the Chinnaswamy speakers was not actually a ‘national anthem' and what represented them was not the flag of a nation. It couldn't. Ireland's cricket extends beyond the political boundaries of 'country'. It includes a larger, deeper Irish cultural identity, the team including cricketers both from the Republic of Ireland, as well as Northern Ireland, which belongs to the United Kingdom. Players within the team called Ireland share two flags and two anthems. The Republic of Ireland's tricolour of green, white and orange and the Union Jack. Their anthems are Amhrán na bhFiann (Soldiers’ Song) and Northern Ireland's God Save The Queen. Naturally the team could hardly choose.

The flag the Irish team used ahead of the game contained Cricket Ireland's official logo and the song that played in Bangalore was Ireland's Call. It is now the official sporting anthem of a united Ireland, which was first commissioned in 1995 by the Irish Rugby Football Union and now plays across all sports in which the 'clan' fields a single team. There is only one major team sport in which the Irish are still divided into two - football. But at this World Cup, Ireland aren't the only team without political flag and anthem. The West Indies are made up of multiple nations and their cricket song, which was first played for them in the 2003 World Cup, is Rally 'Round the West Indies, written by David Rudder, a Trinidadian calypso musician.

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Sharda Ugra is senior editor at ESPNcricinfo

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