April 10, 2016

The dual cricketizens

Kevin Pietersen has fuelled the fire over a potential international comeback for South Africa. If the extraordinary did happen, he would join a select group of players to have appeared for two countries. ESPNcricinfo picks out a few names

Having played for Australia in the 80s, Kepler Wessels returned to South Africa after their readmission to international cricket and led them at the 1992 World Cup © Getty Images

Albert Trott

Born in Melbourne, Trott played three Tests for Australia in 1895 with considerable success, but was ignored for the 1896 tour of England, ironically captained by his brother Harry, and was not picked again. Instead, he joined Middlesex, and in the winter of 1899, played two Tests for England on the tour of South Africa, claiming 17 wickets in Johannesburg and Cape Town. The following summer, he crossed 1000 runs, alongside taking 239 wickets - it was also the season when he famously hit a six over the Lord's pavilion - but there were no further Tests despite, at the turn of the century, being considered "just about the finest all-round cricketer on earth," as David Frith wrote in a 1973 edition of The Cricketer.

Nawab of Pataudi snr

The only man to have played for India and England, he made a century on Test debut against Australia at the SCG in the Bodyline tour of 1932-33, but returned home before the end of the series after a disagreement over the tactics employed by Douglas Jardine. One more England Test followed before, in 1936, he was named India captain for the tour of England, although he was later not fit for the trip. Due to the Second World War, it was not until 1946 that he appeared in a Test again. By then, his best years were behind him and he made just 55 runs in five innings.

John Traicos

An offspinner, Traicos holds the record for the longest gap between Test appearances of (the very neat) 22 years and 222 days. Born in Egypt - another good quiz question - he grew up in South Africa and made his debut in 1970 against Australia, but three Tests were the sum total of his chance. Having then gone to play in Zimbabwe, or Rhodesia, as it was known then, he made his ODI debut for them in 1983, and when they were granted Test status in 1992, was still bowling well enough to earn a place. On his second debut, at the age of 45, he took 5 for 86 in 50 overs against India in Harare - including the scalp of Sachin Tendulkar for a third-ball duck.

Kepler Wessels

The most recent dual-nation Test player, Wessels returned to captain South Africa - including at the 1992 World Cup - following their readmission to international cricket post-apartheid. This came after a long career in Australia that included three years at Test level and stints in World Series Cricket. Two of his six Test centuries came for South Africa: the first against India in Durban then a historic innings at Lord's in 1994 in what would become his final series. While playing for Australia, he fronted up outstandingly against the West Indies pace attack of the mid-80s with scores of 61, 98, 70, 90 and 173 during the 1984-85 series.

Luke Ronchi

The most recent player to switch between Full Member nations, Ronchi made his New Zealand ODI and T20 debuts in 2013 having previously played four ODIs and three T20s for Australia between 2008 and 2009 - which included a 22-ball fifty against West Indies. He was born in New Zealand, but raised in Australia, which created his first route into international cricket but after his Australia career faded he looked back across the Tasman. He made his New Zealand debut at Lord's in May 2013, marking the occasion with a duck, and it took him 20 ODIs to pass fifty again when he made 99 against South Africa. His returns have been inconsistent, but the highlight was an unbeaten 170 against Sri Lanka, in Dunedin, when he shared a world-record sixth-wicket stand of 267 with Grant Elliott

Ed Joyce and Boyd Rankin

Never mind switching once, these two have done it twice. Joyce and Rankin both started their careers with Ireland before opting to pursue international honours with England. Joyce played ODIs and T20s - including at the 2007 World Cup where he faced Ireland - while Rankin reached Test level with what became a difficult outing against Australia at the SCG in early 2014. Joyce was granted an exemption to return for Ireland at the 2011 World Cup shortly before his four-year re-qualification period had elapsed but, after the ICC tweaked the regulations, Rankin only had to wait two years from his last England appearance and returned to Ireland's T20I side shortly before the recent World T20 in India.

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo

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