India in England 2014 September 6, 2014

England abuse hints at deep malaise

Kishan Koria
An alarming portion of the British Asian population not only does not cheer for the English team, it rejoices in abusing and ridiculing those from their own background who succeed
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Play 01:40
Moeen not affected by crowd reaction

After Moeen Ali gently chided those booing him and put the loyalties of British-born Indians under scrutiny - and with similar disappointments perhaps set to arise with British-born Pakistanis when Pakistan next tour - it is time again to consider the issues of identity and integration in modern, multicultural Britain, and look at how they arise in the arena of cricket.

Alongside Enoch Powell's "Rivers of Blood" speech, Norman Tebbit's infamous "cricket test" is perhaps the most memorable political utterance about race relations in Britain. Controversially proposed by the former Conservative cabinet minister Tebbit nearly 25 years ago as a measure of immigrant assimilation, it was seen by its creator as uncovering the true identity of migrant populations through the medium of cricket.

Targeting the large South Asian and West Indian population who had settled in Britain during the '50s and '60s, whilst emphasising the conduct of the former, Tebbit remarked: "Which side do they cheer for? It's an interesting test. Are you still harking back to where you came from or where you are?"

The manner of his comments, which taken in context seemed to hit out at a perceived disloyalty common among the British Asian community, was widely criticised by his opponents, some of whom went so far as to claim he ought to be prosecuted for inciting religious hatred.

Despite this, the founder of what became known as the Tebbit Test stood by his comments, reigniting the controversy in the aftermath of the 7/7 bombings in London, by claiming a starker appraisal of assimilation in Britain based on his method could have prevented the terrorist attack on the capital.

Such expansive claims aside, the debate around the test remains salient, particularly in the contexts of the India tour of England. That India receive significant and vocal backing when playing in England is undeniable. And it is clear, having been to games, that the swathes of Indian fans are not comprised entirely of devoted fans from India, or even just first-generation migrants, but include plenty of individuals born and raised here in Britain.

To the bemusement of those who sympathise with Tebbit, in the wake of the recent fracas between Jimmy Anderson and Ravi Jadeja, the counter-attacking batting of Jadeja (who was admittedly booed by the crowd on his way to the wicket) at Lord's was greeted with raucous chants in his favour.

This was not the first time that a Lord's crowd lived up to Tebbit's prescriptions by any means. England's hosting of the ICC World Twenty20 in 2009 saw their side booed heavily by Indian fans before their team were eliminated by the hosts.

Such a reception at their traditional home (and indeed the home of cricket in general) caused a stir in the England ranks, with the captain at the time, Paul Collingwood, saying the hostile reaction was "strange" and "hurt a few people" and that it ultimately acted as a motivational boost for his side.

And as a young, second-generation British Indian, who was once a keen cricketer and remains a massive fan of the sport, I feel this second case hits upon a trend that is a greater cause for concern: there seems to be a portion of the British Asian population that not only does not cheer for the English team, but rejoices in abusing and ridiculing them. Some of it is for comic effect, for sure, but only some.

This trend becomes all the more alarming when you consider some of the players in the firing line.

Nasser Hussain, a Chennai-born former England captain was commonly a pantomime villain for supporters of India, and has come out in the past to express his confusion as to why second- and third-generation fans do not get behind his team.

Hussain's confusion is perhaps easier to understand when you consider some other prominent names to represent the England team in my time: Mark Ramprakash, Vikram Solanki, Owais Shah, Monty Panesar, Sajid Mahmood, Samit Patel, Ravi Bopara, and now Moeen Ali. Plenty of young British Asians have taken the chance to represent England, and have done so with distinction.

Consider the penultimate name on that list. Bopara, whose family originates from the Sikh province of Punjab in India, comes across as the most quintessential of young Asian Brits. A London boy, whose cricket developed in line with the twin inspirations of the Indian legend Sachin Tendulkar and the aforementioned Hussain, Bopara owns two popular chicken takeaway shops in the capital.

Yet though he is so similar to many of the young British Asians who love cricket, he has come in line for protracted abuse from some Indian fans. He is branded a "gaddar" or traitor (which is sometimes chanted at him by partisan crowds), howled at when batting, and consistently criticised and mocked by a portion of the Indian support. Why? Simply because he plays for England.

It is this aspect of local support for India that seems most paradoxical in nature. Rather than celebrating the achievements of a talent from their own community who has made it it big on the international stage, a portion of fans choose instead to denigrate him, though they, in fact, have much more in common with him than they do with their Indian heroes. Could it be that such fans are suffering from a form of identity crisis?

Drawing generalisations is, of course, always a dangerous game. The continued support for the Indian team from embedded migrant populations need not entail a rejection of their identifying strongly as British. In fact, recent statistics seem to suggest that the Asian community in Britain does identify as such. Support of the Indian cricket team might then simply be a way of connecting with one's culture, sharing something with parents and grandparents, or celebrating one's roots in a positive and joyous manner.

Tebbit's test makes the mistake of construing identity in too rigid and simplistic a way. Each of us has numerous identities, drawn up on differing lines. To claim that the support of a team in one sporting arena by those descended from migrants in Britain gives us a definitive insight into their psyche seems rather hasty.

However, there remains a salience to his warning. While the continued support of some British Asians for the Indian team is perfectly capable of being a positive thing, the continuing sense of hostility towards the English team and, most worryingly, towards some of the British Asians who represent them, is harder to explain away.

The issue at hand is no longer "Which side do they cheer for?" but "Who do they abuse?" And when it is seen by some to be the action of a gaddar to represent England, it would seem that cricket might still have something interesting and ultimately concerning to tell us about identity in modern Britain. If those supporting India do genuinely feel hostility towards England, and to British Asians representing their country of birth then it does not seem sensationalist to claim that this points towards a crisis of identity, and a trend that is damaging to the project of meaningful multiculturalism.

Of course there remains a further explanation for some. Could it be that continued impassioned support for the Indian team, often accompanied by stick for England, is, in fact, a reaction to perceived prejudice?

As a young Asian Brit I have never felt such an impulse. However, if it is the case that young, integrated British Asians have full intentions of supporting England but spring back to the team of their roots due to perceived discrimination or racism, this must be taken seriously.

If it is racism that turns these fans away from joining the Barmy Army and instead drive them towards the Bharat Army, it must be tackled strongly. But with young Asian Brits like Moeen Ali coming through the system and taking such pride in representing the team of their birth, a disconnect of this kind appears hard to explain.

If Moeen has felt that prejudice, he has conquered it. Why fans with much in common with him would feel so differently remains a conundrum. We need to understand why it is these individuals feel this way, debate it and then seek a remedy. However, whether this is genuinely felt, or a case of football hooliganism invading cricket and manifesting in an unrepresentative minority is hard to tell.

Don't write off the power of cricket to instigate an important and meaningful debate about immigration and identity. Even if Tebbit's cricket test has not been remembered favourably throughout history, we're still talking about it.

Most crucially, we are still feeling the need to reflect on the issues it sought to address. Issues that, regardless of our view on the matter, should not be deemed too controversial to think about in modern, multicultural Britain, for it is in understanding them in their fullest that we can preserve that Britain most effectively.

Kishan Koria is an aspiring journalist from Canterbury and a graduate from the University of Oxford, where he studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics. This is an adapted version of a piece that first appeared in International Political Forum

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on September 5, 2014, 21:12 GMT

    I am an Englishman living in Wales. Perhaps because I am an old fashioned Englishman I value politeness and courtesy. The Welsh are passionate about their rugby. I played rugby in my youth but if Wales and England play rugby I would consider it very rude indeed to cheer England or boo Wales while in Wales, whatever I thought about either. Enthusiasm is one thing, boorish partisanship and discourtesy to one's hosts when you are a guest in their country is immature and just downright rude. For people watching cricket I see no reason why it should be different. Cricket is the strongest test of character in the sporting world. It is a shame those who watch it fail so often to display the same strength and control that is needed to excel on the pitch.

  • Rakesh107 on September 5, 2014, 6:54 GMT

    As a 9 year old British Indian with no cricket allegiance, Dad took me to my first match at Old Trafford, where a 17 old scored his maiden test ton and saved the match for India from jaws of defeat. Since then I was hooked. Dad's infectious passion for his team rubbed off with Tendulkar as the catalyst. Britain is a truly Great place to live and I'm thankful for all the opportunities one has had in life and I'm proud to be British. But I don't think 2nd/3rd generations should have a default team, the love of your team should come from the heart. As British Asians we're all proud of what Ravi et al have achieved and banter at matches is just that. By supporting India I'm just making that little connection with my roots.

  • oldfogey on September 11, 2014, 15:59 GMT

    I have been a supporter of the Indian cricket team since 1958 and have continued to follow their ups and downs passionately even after settling here over 30 years ago. It is a shame that some Indian supporters behave badly and this is not only in England.A couple of years ago I was at a West Indies vs India match in Delhi.Not only the fours and sixes hit by the visitors not being applauded but the West Indian bowlers who took wickets were booed by the crowd.I can vouch that this type of attitude was unknown a few decades ago.This kind of shameful behaviour reflects badly on India and Indians and the real followers of cricket can only apologise.

  • jay57870 on September 10, 2014, 1:24 GMT

    Kishan - Good column. Moeen Ali has to be commended for his bold stand on representing England in cricket. By the same token, tennis star Andy Murray's silence - when asked last week at the US Open about Scottish independence - was undeniably deafening. Yes, Andy has every right, just like Moeen, to express his views or just keep silent. Yet, if we look expansively, this cricket issue of identity/bias/nationalism creeps up - in different variants of Tebbit's Test - in other sports as well. Maybe Andy's Murray's controversial "anyone but England" claim in 2006 to win the World Cup makes him leery in his present "once bitten, twice shy" persona. Still, the London 2012 Olympic Gold winner (as a Britisher) pledges he's ready to represent Scotland (if freed on Sep 18) at the Rio Olympics in 2016! Yes, it's a deeper malaise - that the modern, multicultural, multisports-minded Britain faces - than just the "England abuse" in cricket, Kishan!!

  • hairyman on September 9, 2014, 7:19 GMT

    If someone who is born in England wants to support his fathers or grandfathers team, I'm ok with that. If anyone born in England wants to play cricket for England, I'm ok with that. What I'm not OK with is abuse with the venom that was witnessed on Sunday targeted at a player because of his heritage (Let's not forget Moeen is English, born and raised) or his religion. It is uncalled for in any sport and to attempt to write it off as 'banter' or 'intercountry rivalry' is a poor, poor excuse. I find it also strange that this is the third or fourth article I have read on the subject and the first one that makes it clear who the abuse was coming from. Other articles have tried to shy away from the subject while taking about issues 'in England' etc. without actually stating that it was the mass of India supporters that were the source.

  • on September 9, 2014, 4:09 GMT

    Have anyone watched the hindi film 'Patiala House'?

    It has nothing related to booing. But it depicts the same issue, British-Indians supporting India and families not allowing players of Indian origin to play for England.

  • on September 9, 2014, 4:00 GMT

    There is no point in showing hatred. Nothing will be achieved by doing these things. Moeen Ali is a great cricketer and we should respect that and not judge by his religion or loyalty towards England. Those who boo him for being who he is are putting the game into shame.

  • on September 8, 2014, 21:26 GMT

    One can change the country of living for various geo-political reasons.However it is difficult to change the heart and soul at the same time.The world is becoming a liberal place to live and no one should dictate terms when it comes to loyalties.This booing has much to do with traditional Indo-Pakistan rivalry rather than anything else.We did not see the same when Bopara and Panesar playing.Let us not dwell too much into this as it may create more problems.Britain is a great place to live and the support Britain gets will never fade away.However ,if some one wants to keep the allegiance to his or her own traditional roots, let it be. After all heart and soul is something very difficult to change wherever you live.

  • on September 8, 2014, 17:33 GMT

    I think we all agree that it's OK to support whatever team you want to support, even if it's not from your country. However, it's not OK to boo an opposition player, for whatever reason. Be it Jadeja, Anderson, or in this case Moeen Ali.

  • Hammond on September 8, 2014, 2:19 GMT

    @Coolcapricorn- actually (I think deliberately) you missed my point. There are a huge percentage of Australians with English ackground/parentage/grandparentage. But they all follow Australia. Not England. Do you get my point?

  • on September 5, 2014, 21:12 GMT

    I am an Englishman living in Wales. Perhaps because I am an old fashioned Englishman I value politeness and courtesy. The Welsh are passionate about their rugby. I played rugby in my youth but if Wales and England play rugby I would consider it very rude indeed to cheer England or boo Wales while in Wales, whatever I thought about either. Enthusiasm is one thing, boorish partisanship and discourtesy to one's hosts when you are a guest in their country is immature and just downright rude. For people watching cricket I see no reason why it should be different. Cricket is the strongest test of character in the sporting world. It is a shame those who watch it fail so often to display the same strength and control that is needed to excel on the pitch.

  • Rakesh107 on September 5, 2014, 6:54 GMT

    As a 9 year old British Indian with no cricket allegiance, Dad took me to my first match at Old Trafford, where a 17 old scored his maiden test ton and saved the match for India from jaws of defeat. Since then I was hooked. Dad's infectious passion for his team rubbed off with Tendulkar as the catalyst. Britain is a truly Great place to live and I'm thankful for all the opportunities one has had in life and I'm proud to be British. But I don't think 2nd/3rd generations should have a default team, the love of your team should come from the heart. As British Asians we're all proud of what Ravi et al have achieved and banter at matches is just that. By supporting India I'm just making that little connection with my roots.

  • oldfogey on September 11, 2014, 15:59 GMT

    I have been a supporter of the Indian cricket team since 1958 and have continued to follow their ups and downs passionately even after settling here over 30 years ago. It is a shame that some Indian supporters behave badly and this is not only in England.A couple of years ago I was at a West Indies vs India match in Delhi.Not only the fours and sixes hit by the visitors not being applauded but the West Indian bowlers who took wickets were booed by the crowd.I can vouch that this type of attitude was unknown a few decades ago.This kind of shameful behaviour reflects badly on India and Indians and the real followers of cricket can only apologise.

  • jay57870 on September 10, 2014, 1:24 GMT

    Kishan - Good column. Moeen Ali has to be commended for his bold stand on representing England in cricket. By the same token, tennis star Andy Murray's silence - when asked last week at the US Open about Scottish independence - was undeniably deafening. Yes, Andy has every right, just like Moeen, to express his views or just keep silent. Yet, if we look expansively, this cricket issue of identity/bias/nationalism creeps up - in different variants of Tebbit's Test - in other sports as well. Maybe Andy's Murray's controversial "anyone but England" claim in 2006 to win the World Cup makes him leery in his present "once bitten, twice shy" persona. Still, the London 2012 Olympic Gold winner (as a Britisher) pledges he's ready to represent Scotland (if freed on Sep 18) at the Rio Olympics in 2016! Yes, it's a deeper malaise - that the modern, multicultural, multisports-minded Britain faces - than just the "England abuse" in cricket, Kishan!!

  • hairyman on September 9, 2014, 7:19 GMT

    If someone who is born in England wants to support his fathers or grandfathers team, I'm ok with that. If anyone born in England wants to play cricket for England, I'm ok with that. What I'm not OK with is abuse with the venom that was witnessed on Sunday targeted at a player because of his heritage (Let's not forget Moeen is English, born and raised) or his religion. It is uncalled for in any sport and to attempt to write it off as 'banter' or 'intercountry rivalry' is a poor, poor excuse. I find it also strange that this is the third or fourth article I have read on the subject and the first one that makes it clear who the abuse was coming from. Other articles have tried to shy away from the subject while taking about issues 'in England' etc. without actually stating that it was the mass of India supporters that were the source.

  • on September 9, 2014, 4:09 GMT

    Have anyone watched the hindi film 'Patiala House'?

    It has nothing related to booing. But it depicts the same issue, British-Indians supporting India and families not allowing players of Indian origin to play for England.

  • on September 9, 2014, 4:00 GMT

    There is no point in showing hatred. Nothing will be achieved by doing these things. Moeen Ali is a great cricketer and we should respect that and not judge by his religion or loyalty towards England. Those who boo him for being who he is are putting the game into shame.

  • on September 8, 2014, 21:26 GMT

    One can change the country of living for various geo-political reasons.However it is difficult to change the heart and soul at the same time.The world is becoming a liberal place to live and no one should dictate terms when it comes to loyalties.This booing has much to do with traditional Indo-Pakistan rivalry rather than anything else.We did not see the same when Bopara and Panesar playing.Let us not dwell too much into this as it may create more problems.Britain is a great place to live and the support Britain gets will never fade away.However ,if some one wants to keep the allegiance to his or her own traditional roots, let it be. After all heart and soul is something very difficult to change wherever you live.

  • on September 8, 2014, 17:33 GMT

    I think we all agree that it's OK to support whatever team you want to support, even if it's not from your country. However, it's not OK to boo an opposition player, for whatever reason. Be it Jadeja, Anderson, or in this case Moeen Ali.

  • Hammond on September 8, 2014, 2:19 GMT

    @Coolcapricorn- actually (I think deliberately) you missed my point. There are a huge percentage of Australians with English ackground/parentage/grandparentage. But they all follow Australia. Not England. Do you get my point?

  • JacksDad on September 7, 2014, 21:18 GMT

    Ian Ashton has put my own point of view perfectly and succinctly. I was appalled to hear the consistent booing of Moeen Ali at Edgbaston today. It shows a complete lack of respect for cricket, and I fear, is a symptom of very poor integration into the British way of life by 2nd and 3rd generation Asian cricket watchers.

  • Coolcapricorn on September 7, 2014, 11:53 GMT

    @Hammond couldn't agree more with you mate! So just as Aussie-born fans like yourself will support Australia in any part of the world, so can't see why a big issue is made of Asian fans, who were born abroad but now reside here in the U.K., still supporting India, Pakistan etc over England. Even if born here, loyalties & allegiances are often based on that of their parents like others have said & as happens in all other sports too like say football.

  • gujratwalla on September 7, 2014, 10:57 GMT

    This is a matter for the individual to decide where his Sporting Loyalities lies.Cricket is a game not politics and is meant to be a game which tests a man's patience,endurance and good will. I am a Pakistani who came to UK when i was 9 and my loyality for Pakistan has never wavered but i don't have any complaints about being British either.It is a great country and has given me so much which i would never would have achieved in Pakistan and i strive to pay that 'debt' back in any way i can.Freedom of choice is the thing in UK.If South African born Brits can play for England what's the big deal if British born Asians have loyality for the land of their fathers?Does playing for England implies Kevin Pietersen has no love for South Africa? I doubt it! Let the individual be and enjoy the cricket.Moeen Ali is just a professional cricketer and professional cricketers play all around the globe and for various teams nowadays. I do not resent his choice.It is his life.

  • isitvah on September 7, 2014, 10:53 GMT

    A game is all about spirit and choices so the game of cricket is. It is the need of the game to have its supporters and opponents. Let people enjoy the way they support any team. In fact no body can control this because it is all about freedom. Supporting any team comes straight from heart. If it is forced to support a particular team then how people will have reason to come to the ground and open the TV set.

    Yes, it can be a way to understand the people from which country their hears belongs to ....:) If somebody born in England and lives there and support for India means he has not forgotten his country yet.

    Love to all of the cricket lovers. --Isitvah

  • Hammond on September 7, 2014, 10:28 GMT

    @Coolcapricorn- here in Australia I do not know a single Australian born cricket lover of any background, even first generation Australians who do not follow the green and gold. To follow any other country other than the country of their birth would be a complete anathema to the Australian psyche and would guarantee them the complete contempt, disbelief and disdain of all those around them.

  • on September 7, 2014, 10:21 GMT

    Well, to each his own, I guess! The Pakistanis and Indians are pretty one-eyed when it comes to supporting their teams, wherever they may be playing. It is interesting that they take the case of people like Moeen actually playing for England to be traitorous. Here they are, born and bred in the UK, going back to their countries of origin perhaps once every five years (or have never been and don't want to go!). No doubt there are underlying currents which the writer has touched on. Now, take the case of the Sri Lankans. Sure, they like giving the Englishmen around them curry at the match, but, during and after, they'll share their beer and sandwiches with the English, and have a good old time. In England, back in the 50's and 60's, we had a few playing county cricket, and performing well. Perhaps the fact that we weren't a test-playing nation at the time, had something to do with them never representing England. All I can say is "lighten up!"

  • on September 7, 2014, 6:24 GMT

    Spectators tend to reflect the mood and tensions out in the middle. Once players learn to control the sledging and disrespect of one another on the field, crowds will learn to temper their excesses.

  • on September 7, 2014, 4:42 GMT

    The matter of concern should be the almost absence of true spirit of the game of cricket, or actually true sporting spirit! Commercialization of all sports and narrow thinking of Patriotism or Nationalism are making games a battle ground. All should propagate and patronize the good performanses of all players! And should condemn those who blindly support and appreciate only one player or only one side(team). All players are ours and their good conduct and great performance should delight all of us! I salute all audiences worldwide who cheer for Federer,Djokovic,Neymar,Serena,Sharapova,Saniya etc.though these players are not there Compatriots!! The true essence of sport is in Enjoyement and Inspiration it provide to one and All!!

  • on September 7, 2014, 2:40 GMT

    I'm and Indianho's never been to Britain. However, if I was there and Kohli walked in to bat, I would definitely boo him.

  • on September 6, 2014, 16:52 GMT

    Supporting the team they like is an individual decision. Booing is simply stupid.

  • danishsyed88 on September 6, 2014, 16:03 GMT

    I think it is different for everyone. Many people cheer for the country of their roots. While some may not. I was born in England, but have lived most of my life in Pakistan. And my roots are Asian. But I support England more, cos it was my birthplace. Booing is plain wrong though.

  • Faz63 on September 6, 2014, 14:48 GMT

    Well, all I can say is that I don't understand these spectators who despise success amongst the asian population. I'm a proud Asian, but also proud to see a fellow a Asian succeed in a predominantly white environment. Well done Moeen and all the best for the future......in fact, I suggested to my wife that he'll be a cure ODI captain for Emgland as he seem to have the right temperament.

  • on September 6, 2014, 14:24 GMT

    Cheering is OK but abusing is definitely not! Those who resort to abuse should be thrown out by the security. It borders on racism and should never be tolerated!

  • Coolcapricorn on September 6, 2014, 10:56 GMT

    @ Arron Dore Note what you say but if you read some of the other comments here, there are even 3rd & 4th generation English people living in many other countries such as Australia, Barbados etc who will always consider themselves to be English & continue to support England over their home teams. The same probably applies to others like South Africans, Australians etc - so this is not unique to Asians living in the U.K. as the allegiance all fans are borne from their origins & maybe a whole host of other reasons too.

  • on September 6, 2014, 10:43 GMT

    The brand of cricket that Eng plays invokes the boos i.e. Eng play defensive cricket in formats which is boring as well as brings no victories.

    Sachin was booed in Mumbai in test in 2005 for consistent terrible performance.

  • on September 6, 2014, 10:38 GMT

    Agree with some comments made by Ian. Cricket crowd should show courtesy and politeness to opposition . Lords English fans shoul NOT have booed Jadeja . This was unwarranted and extremely rude . Perhaps they will learn and amend their manners soon. .

  • PeerieTrow on September 6, 2014, 9:55 GMT

    I am a Hampshire member, British, and at county matches I chat with other regulars who are of Asian heritage. They are nailed on Hampshire supporters and as British Asians they support England, except when either Pakistan or India are playing against England. In the past I have seen them at international matches at The Bowl wearing the colours of their heritage nations. SO WHAT? This is the beauty of multi-cultural Britain and should be applauded. As a Scot living in England I support English cricket and rugby, except on the occasions when Scotland play England and I vainly hope for the odd miracle.

  • jackiethepen on September 6, 2014, 9:46 GMT

    I don't have any problem with British Indians supporting India as a cricket team. When India came to play at Durham at an ODI the communities that turned up with their costumes and music were absolutely wonderful and enlivening and there was great crack between supporters as they say in the North East. What was wonderful was the fun everyone had. And there was no booing of anyone.

    I think abuse of British Asians playing County cricket and for England is a new phenomenon. If the abuse was coming from England fans it would not be tolerated. You have to have a very distorted sense of loyalty to attack a British Asian for playing for their County or England. A love of the game seems secondary to the idea of an exclusive family nexus. I'm afraid it is only a test of dissatisfaction with oneself. Abuse is on the rise. There are English fans who abuse England for kicks.

  • on September 6, 2014, 9:45 GMT

    I disagree with the Tebbit test as a supposed indication of loyalty, but neither do I subscribe to the view that anyone is somehow obliged to support the country of his birth. Your birthplace is the accident of where your mother happened to be at the time: it may be the country of your ancestry, the one your parents chose to move to, or if they happened to be living abroad temporarily, neither of those. You may grow up feeling an allegiance to your country of birth, ancestry or residence, and there should be no reason for anyone else to object.

    What matters more than which team fans choose to support, is how they treat the team they don't. I'd rather see British-born people of Indian ancestry support India but treat players and fans of both teams with respect, than the same people support England but abuse players or fans.

  • on September 6, 2014, 9:36 GMT

    I find with sport that you often take the lead from you parents, my dad is a New Zealander and passionate All Black fan, so despite me being english and never having set foot in NZ, I find myself also a passionate All Black fan as my dad's passion inspired me as a child, he is not bothered about cricket so I support the country of my birth, a lot of these British Indians come from families where the fathers and grandfathers are crazy for the Indian cricket team, so they too grow up like that.

  • on September 6, 2014, 9:19 GMT

    I am half English and half Irish. When England plays, I support England. When Ireland plays, I support Ireland. When England plays Ireland I can't lose! However, I favour England, my country of birth although I am still happy if Ireland does well. It must be similar to how British Asians feel.

  • on September 6, 2014, 9:10 GMT

    I am Barbadian, when i went to school in Barbados in the 60s, my School, Boys Foundation, Had a lot of 3rd and 4th generation English, the majority of them had never even been to England, yet everyone of them 100% used to support England when they came to the West Indies.

  • mohanan on September 6, 2014, 9:06 GMT

    I think nobody should tell anyone whom they should support. It should come naturally, otherwise no meaning to it.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on September 6, 2014, 9:04 GMT

    Cricket is just so deeply ingrained in our (Asian) psyche that a mere piece of paper confirming a change of citizenship cannot take that deeper connection away and neither can those Asian fathers/mothers praise their 'new' country's team in front of their sons/daughters. And so the 2nd gen British Asians also will not have deeper love/allegiance for England cricket team. May be the change can be expected in the 3rd and 4th gen British Asians. This pertains only to cricket. I'm sure all the 2nd gen British Asians are with England in every other aspect. So, questioning allegiance based on support or the lack of it for a cricket team is stretching it a bit and, frankly, is childish.

  • mamboman on September 6, 2014, 8:53 GMT

    It's the same in Australia - the ever-growing Indian and Sri Lankan populations here never cheer for Australia. Oddly,folks from Pakistani backgrounds do seem to get behind Australia. Isn't that curious?

  • on September 6, 2014, 8:47 GMT

    Interesting debate......I've been appalled by the booing going on in this most series against the England team.......absolutely disgraceful......The bottom line I'm afraid is this, and I'll use the Indian supporters from the current series as an example....regardless of one's heritage, if one is born in the UK and live one's life in the UK then one is British, not Indian, end of!

  • Haleos on September 6, 2014, 8:31 GMT

    I am Indian British and the ground reality is our second generation Indians dont associate themselves with India. Now that can not be said even about 3rd, 4th generations from other asians. Just visit places with majority from that places on 14th August and you would know what I mean.

  • IndiaNumeroUno on September 6, 2014, 7:26 GMT

    "Are you still harking back to where you came from or where you are". The key point to understand is that this statement had undercurrents of a sentiment of "you are coming from a poorer, ghastly place with a low living standard and being given an opportunity to lead a much better life here"... while that must have been true in the 50's and 70's with people coming "off the boat" seeking refuge.. it's not true any more with majority of people now coming from economically developed countries to do business or as professionals in various fields. These people have no qualms in cheering teams from countries of their origin.

  • on September 6, 2014, 7:09 GMT

    i think if some one to be a true loyal citizen of a country you have to assimilate to a certain extent n share the values of that country. and other thing is if some one value his roots so much why don't you go to your ancestral country no one is keeping you against your will

  • on September 6, 2014, 5:41 GMT

    Two things drives India mostly their movie industry and cricket. So, whether they are 2nd/3rd/4th generation non-resident Indians they won't compromise with these things. In future we will see a lot more mooen ali, ravi bopara like humiliation on the field because despite of living in adopted country Indians don't like those who showed true dedication or commitment towards their parents adopted country.

  • Insult_2_Injury on September 6, 2014, 4:45 GMT

    And as a young, second-generation British Indian......As a young Asian Brit.... I'm sorry, what's a 2nd generation Brit Indian or Asian Brit? You're British. Do you have to unconditionally support England or British sports people in all sporting contests? Of course not! But are you British? Of course you are. Your parents CHOSE Britain to be your family home, being born in Britain makes you British. If your parents consciously emigrate to another country, they intend that country to be home. Multiculturalism has a lot to answer for; it is perpetuating the cultural divide, not lessening it.

  • Naikan on September 6, 2014, 4:15 GMT

    I don't think there is a simple answer to this. It has much to do with history in the last century from various angles and classifying it just as racial is a simplistic view. Over the past two millennia, the Indian subcontinent has had all types of invasions, but they all generally got absorbed into the main stream. Unfortunately - with the British as the historical events unfolded, that did not happen. Not much later followed the IT and information revolution which ensured that none of the undercurrent of this unique relationship ever disappeared even across generations. I feel 2 or 3 generations down the line this may change for the better as the world is becoming a true "global village" and then hopefully people will cheer for a true performer rather than based on feelings of nationalism.

  • SagirParkar on September 6, 2014, 4:10 GMT

    Irrespective of which team you support, there is absolutely no reason to boo at any professional sportsperson, unless something horrendous has been done.

    I am an Indian, hold a British passport but my two favoured teams in cricket are India and Australia. I also like watching the Windies and Pakistan..

    sometimes the media, the players, the spectators and Average Joe makes a mountain out of a molehill.

    as for Moeen et al, the way to deal with unsavoury characters in the stands is to ignore them all.

  • chuchan on September 6, 2014, 4:09 GMT

    England has to introspect as to how the immigrants feel living in the UK and take steps to root out racism. That's the real learning for the English from the 'Tebbit Test'- the test is meant for England more than for the immigrants.Why are so many immigrants unhappy with their adopted nation and even with the guys who share a similar ancestry? As for some of them 'assimilating', these exceptions happen everywhere.

  • djain-uk on September 6, 2014, 3:58 GMT

    Which football team do you support? Is it your local one, or the one your dad supports? My Dad supports Liverpool, we live in the Midlands! Similarly, as I get my love for cricket from my father (who grew up supporting India), I support India. It has no reflection on my Britishness. As a Liverpool fan can't support Man Utd, an India team cricket fan can not support the England team, and naturally hates all things Aussie (cricket, not the beautiful country or people). I disagree with booing of any form, that's not in the spirit of the game. Booing is never okay whether it's Ali , Jadeja, Anderson, or god forbid an Aussie!

    Further, I support Bell over Bopara, not that I don't like Bopara, it's just that he's an Essex player, and Bell plays for Warwickshire! Go Bears! Race doesn't come into it. Don't denigrate all British Asians because of 1 or 2 incidents of booing! Don't steal the identity of millions of British Asians who are proud to be both British and Asian by making such comments!

  • Brahams on September 6, 2014, 3:15 GMT

    Watching a Test match at Lords between India and England, I was shocked and disgusted by the abuses hurled at the English players by several groups. Having sat in different parts of the stadium, I also appreciated the measured and positive response from the English fans to the Indian players, particularly to Tendulkar.

    I have emigrated to the US from India twenty some years ago and I cannot fathom booing, let alone abusing an out-of-town college basketball team. While racial acceptance may be different in UK, I do feel that the abuse seen in UK is way over the top.

    At the end of the day, cricket is only a game. And shouldn't it be treated that way.

  • on September 6, 2014, 2:10 GMT

    Nobody asked Indians to cheer England in here. But the problem is why do you boo a person when he got to brilliant century? We haven't seen this anywhere in the world at least in cricket.

  • on September 6, 2014, 1:56 GMT

    I am an Indian and the Game Fan. I supported the pak team with waqar n wasim. I supported SA under Hansie's leadership. people who booed deserved the bashing which inzy handed over to one of the spectator. However the players also need to handle the booing cheerfully n not take it to heart. example is Harbhajan Singh during 2008 tour down under.

  • on September 6, 2014, 1:44 GMT

    It does seem anomalous that a person who chooses to live in this country (and unlike a few countries, we are all free to leave), should prefer a different one when it comes to sports. Especially cricket, it seems. I remember Linford Christie being asked the question once. If I went to live permanently in another country, I would then support that country in sports matches, etc., because that has been my choice, and I would encourage my children to do the same. When these people go abroad, do they call themselves British or Indian (or whatever)? Do they hold British passports, use the British health system, etc.? I have nothing against any nationality myself, but I feel that it is sad when people who purport to be British behave this way.

  • on September 6, 2014, 1:37 GMT

    If one has chosen citizenship in a different country ( natural or otherwise ), allegiance to the country is the TOP priority. At any place and time where your home country is involved. Period. No argument. What some fans are doing is disgusting. I switched off the TV when I saw some fans booing the england team.

  • on September 6, 2014, 1:21 GMT

    I think the title of the article says it all. Yes, it's absolutely wrong to boo a sportsman for his color or origin etc. But what I did notice was that the booing picked up big time after the Jadeja - Anderson spat. The way this spat was handled probably reignited strong divides of the past, and when pushed to a corner

  • stueyh1 on September 6, 2014, 1:14 GMT

    This is an interesting debate. I am English, have lived in Australia for 38 years, and would no more dream of supporting Australia than trying to fly to the moon, in fact, I too support 2 teams, England and any one playing against Australia. But I have always encouraged my sons to support the Aussies, why, because Australia is THEIR country, and if they don't support Australia then THEY are the traitors. I support my country they should support theirs! Simple!

  • mikeyp147 on September 6, 2014, 0:49 GMT

    So many people have missed the point it's unbelievable. It's about supporting the country of your birth, or rather not showing a blatant contempt for the country of your birth.

    Going by the rationale of the 'British Asian' spectators, Australian and New Zealand fans should always support England, South African fans should boo Dale Steyn for not playing for Holland, and Indian fans should boo Chanderpaul whenever he walks to the crease.

    It is worrying that England seems to be fair game, even to people who've been born and brought up here.

  • on September 6, 2014, 0:08 GMT

    Meon will not get booed by Pakistani supporters. Insian supporters would be doing it to get under his skin. Panesar never got booed nor did Usman. This is horrrific what is happening to him. This is because he is Pakistani he is getting sledged. Embrace the game

  • on September 5, 2014, 23:39 GMT

    The thing that upsets me the most is that club cricket is a serious success for Multi-Cultural Britain. I've made many Muslim friends, where otherwise I wouldn't have had the chance to mix with them on a social level. I find that in general both parties truly respect and embrace each other's cultures - some of the guys at our club can even speak a little Urdu now! So having embraced out cultures and values at grass roots levels, why then feel the need to persecute those who go on to represent the country? It's blatant hypocrisy, and it confuses and upsets me to be honest!

  • on September 5, 2014, 23:34 GMT

    I think you have to look at this objectively, if people of Asian decent want to support Ind/Pak/SL/Ban then there is no problem. Many of the guys at my cricket club follow Pakistan, and we have a great banter with it. It's the booing of British Asians that I find hard to comprehend. Mooen has grown up in Birmingham, and represents British Asians, surely that is something for them to be proud of and not protest against?

  • on September 5, 2014, 23:33 GMT

    I'm English born and raised with A Jamaican dad and an English mom. I support England and UK teams in all sports EXCEPT cricket, where I am a die hard West Indies fan! The reason? The England cricket team stands for nothing. Invariably there are players from other countries, even foreign born captains, from South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, India, Pakistan. They even have a West Indian from Barbados on their team right now. On the other hand, West Indies players are all home grown (with the recent exception of Nash), and they replesent the dream of belief over might, power and money. That a region of small islands (not even one nation) with a population base of less than five million could dominate rich and powerful nations with huge populations for so long is something to cheer.

  • paapam on September 5, 2014, 23:24 GMT

    Kanoria has restated the obvious. Indians/Pakistanis are not unique in this respect. The Greeks, Irish and Italians in US behave similarly, not to mention the Chinese. Algerians in France, asians in Scandinavia and Portugese in India are other examples.. Former colonial powers experience this phenomenon more emphatically than others. The reason among many other things, is a combination of love for their roots and hurt at being treated as second class citizens. Overt responses must be welcomed with amusement to ensure harmony in multi-racial societies.

  • shaka81 on September 5, 2014, 23:14 GMT

    Why should all "British Asians" support England? I was born in Scotland to Pakistani parents and always support Scotland first, then Pakistan and finally any team that plays England.... so I'll happily boo England! It doesn't make me any less British!

  • on September 5, 2014, 22:03 GMT

    And this is part of the problem with England, when large quantities of people born and raised in England don't even consider themselves English!

  • johnthekiwi on September 5, 2014, 21:48 GMT

    As a foreign national who has lived in the US for 20 years I can't tell you how much it irks me to see the refusal of those naturally born second-generation US citizens to assimilate. There is a reason your parents moved to the US. That was for a better opportunity in life (same applies somewhat to those moving to the UK). I root for NZ in cricket of course but if I ever naturalized and the US played cricket at a higher level I would root for them over NZ. The current illegal alien farce in the US is a reflection of the desire of some in power to destroy American culture. It is veiled as racism to dissent but most thinking people know it has nothing to do with that. It has everything to do with national identity and rejection of the failures of attitude, work ethic and other flaws that caused the emigration to occur in the first place. I don't care if your parents came from Oslo, Istanbul or Harare. If you were born in a country your allegiance is to that country over all others.

  • Long-Leg on September 5, 2014, 21:47 GMT

    This must be one of the best articles I have ever read on Cricinfo and has provoked some of the best comments from fans. I think all agree that abuse of players has no place in cricket whatever your allegiance. England fans have been guilty of doing it to opposition players as well (remember the Mitchell Johnson song). British Indians should cut out the abuse, but be free to support who they like.

  • dinosaurus on September 5, 2014, 21:40 GMT

    I think it is not inappropriate to have this discussion on crowd behaviour. After all, we have "rivers of" bits and bytes about the notorious Aussie sledgers. The TV pictures of the Indian crowd making gestures when Andrew Symonds was playing for Australia in India were remarkable for their intensity and ugliness. And the reaction of officialdom was incredible. I'm 76 years old, so I try to avoid nostalgic references to the past, but I do kind of wish we could revert to the old-fashioned ways when cricket crowds, especially in England, responded to events with ripples of polite applause.

  • on September 5, 2014, 21:38 GMT

    I know ex-pats and second and third generation English in Australia who support England instead of Australia.

  • on September 5, 2014, 21:22 GMT

    My feeling is that part of the problem is that the "British Indian" fans, at these ODIs aren't really cricket supporters, they aren't lovers of the game but are more in the mould of football fans who's interest is purely partisan, evidenced by the nature of their chanting. Their team is India and they are for them and against their opponents, whoever it may be, all they care about is that their team wins and the other looses and not the quality of the cricket played. It's sad really as all the "true" Indian fans I have met either here in the UK or abroad are knowledgable, generous and are students of the game.

  • Hammond7249 on September 5, 2014, 21:07 GMT

    Some booing James Anderson in England was disgraceful, and I have to wonder how many of them were born here. I was not born in England but I'm a passionate England and Great Britain supporter in all sport since this is the country I live in and love.

  • on September 5, 2014, 20:49 GMT

    This is not related to 1st generation or 2nd generation citizens of any country - this issue is universal to any sport and any person. Giving an example - I am of Indian origin but settled in Canada for last decade. When I first landed in Canada I moved to Vancouver. I have grown to like Ice Hockey and loved watching the Vancouver Canucks. 5 years ago I decided to move to Calgary. Even after spending 5 years in Calgary I am yet to like Calgary Flames and still support Canucks whenever there is any match. Am I traitor for supporting a team that is not a local team? It's just my personal preference and which team I can connect to. Maybe the Flames ought to perform better to earn my fandom. When I had moved to USA to Washington DC area and grew to love watching Baltimore Orioles (Baseball) still now when I see a baseball match I still support that team.

    However, booing any person anywhere is not acceptable.

  • jb633 on September 5, 2014, 20:40 GMT

    There is a reason as an English fan I will always love the Aussies more than any other country. Although they can wind you up deep down you know it is just banter and it rarely crosses the line. I don't feel that way about some of the behaviour here. I would more than welcome any Aussie barraging over the rubbish directed at Moeen.

  • on September 5, 2014, 20:36 GMT

    @ Masking_Tape, yes you can rest assured that if US had a cricket team that had to play India, I would cheer for India and take solace from those countless victories, while still remaining a loyal American.

    That wouldn't make me any less of an American. I would still work hard for the American dream for my family and contribute to this country in every possible way, I would still be teary eyed about 9-11, but they wouldn't be able to get me to support US cricket against Indian team. That's just the way it is. Now my kids who grew up in the US, they wanna be just like their dad in everything, coz they think dad's the best, so I would not fault them for being an Indian supporter in cricket as well.

    All hypothetical though, thank goodness I make home in the US and not England, so I don't actually have to grapple through this problem.

  • perl57 on September 5, 2014, 20:25 GMT

    Have we ever seen an Italian support a german or French football team even if they are not competing and living in paris? Have we seen a german support Canadian team in Olympics even though those germans have taken canadian citizenship? Have we ever come across any Indian supporting Oz in cricket even though most of us live in Melbourne most of our lives. No. Just like us athletes needs to have their space.

  • on September 5, 2014, 20:03 GMT

    Im indian but I support 2 teams nz and any one playing against Australia. This is the kiwi way.

  • RipalParmar1 on September 5, 2014, 19:46 GMT

    As a British Indian, I would be happy to support England but it is not Britain playing it is England playing and with very true honesty most white English don't class them as British but just English. Well, first of all I am British and then Indian, can anybody change that? No so the answer is no.

  • SpaMaster on September 5, 2014, 19:45 GMT

    First of all, why should British-Indian support England? Yes, their parents or grandparents may have come from India and they may have been born there. But does that make them English? Their immigrant parents, we agree, may still remain Indians. Now, just because they have given birth to a child in England, can we expect that child to feel English at heart? I have always questioned this automatic citizenship to children just because they were given birth in such particular lands. The feeling of country and national pride should come from within. Don't make passport and citizenship as a matter of convenience or easy offers. So, instead of questioning why they are supporting India, may be one should question why they should support England. Feeling for the nation must come from deep within and it has deep connections. May be many of the 2nd and 3rd generations still feel Indian and don't feel British. They are still residents, not citizens. What's wrong with that?

  • mzm149 on September 5, 2014, 19:45 GMT

    You can support whatever team you like but booing a player in his home country is insane.

  • on September 5, 2014, 19:43 GMT

    I watched the 2nd ODI between India and England in Cardiff when I was holidaying in England. I live in Chicago .That was the 1st time I watched a Cricket match in England.I was happy to watch the Indian team play when I was on a vacation there. From an Indian perspective the atmosphere was electrifying. However I did feel a bit weird.There were English white men selling Indians flags , T-shirts ,other merchandise supporting the Indian team . I did not see anyone selling British flags or other merchandise outside the stadium. There was a large contingent of British Indian supporters who were booing against the English team. That should have been avoided. I think the Indian fans outnumbered the English fans. It was really weird to have so much Indian support in a foreign land.That can easily change if English fans go and watch a cricket match in large numbers with flags and other merchandise in the stadium. For that to happen England has to play better in ODIs.

  • JohnMR on September 5, 2014, 19:27 GMT

    The only way to shut them up is to beat them. I'm from Durban which has the largest Indian population of any city in the world outside of India. When they play SA in Durban it gets to the point where you're not sure if SA are playing at home or in India. Until you start beating them, like we did recently. Then they shut up very quickly and not a sight of them will be seen.

  • Masking_Tape on September 5, 2014, 19:17 GMT

    I have noticed this and it always bothered me. I'm an Asian American. We don't play cricket in the US so that's not a problem. To put this into perspective we have the same issue with our National soccer team. Mexicans/German Americans don't cheer for team USA when they play those countries. If USA had cricket team I'm sure Asian-Americans wouldn't be cheering for the US even if they have an American passport. I don't think there's any punishment for it. It's a free country, it's a free world. But I think they should feel guilty and selfish on their own. People are saying it's not connection between this and patriotic allegiance. And I don't agree. Besides war, sports is the ONLY thing where you can loudly show you allegiance.

  • on September 5, 2014, 19:15 GMT

    for me if someone can't do a simple thing like be happy when your country wins it is very hard to imagine that person do anything more for his country when the real need arise like real sacrifice like join army or helping in some other way way country really needs you.

  • on September 5, 2014, 19:11 GMT

    I see this as two problems. Booing someone because of their race or religion is a disgrace regardless of who does it.

    Secondly people should be free to support who they want. Let me put it this way - I'm English but moved to nz 3yrs ago where my son was born. I have bought him england kits and he watches england and supports them with me. It's likely as he grows up, he'll support England, not NZ. Possibly his children then the same, I see nothing wrong with that, will be similar for a lot of these Indian lads - simple as!

  • gbz22 on September 5, 2014, 18:58 GMT

    So cricket fans are not fans anymore, but supposed to be nationalists? They can't cheer a different team because they like their style, their players or their talent?

  • on September 5, 2014, 18:14 GMT

    "To be or not to be" is not just a Hamletian dilemma. Indian & Paks seem to be facing a dilemma of siilarHamletin proportion: Root for your ancestral root India, Pak, Sl, et al) or root for the young Root from Yorkshire, who will be the backbone of the England team for quite a few more years to come

  • on September 5, 2014, 18:13 GMT

    I think i agree a bit with the featured comment and bit with the author. There is a bit of perception of underlying discrimination as well as natural liking for a team. an example is living in manchester i have never supported manchester united but more of arsenal and liverpool. why is that. is not because i just like the way they play and just the players that played for them.and hated the arrogance of Man U's Manager and players. in a bit of same way when India and England play i can support India but when England play any other country I can support England. We do love Bopara and Panesar and Ramprakash,samit patel etc but the treatment meeted out to them by ECB and them being dropping for reason not making sense makes us dislike ECB and english team. Take Patel for that matter why has he not played , just because he is slightly overweight, but still is amazing player. and bopara , what did he do wrong to not be selected in the team.

  • GeoffreysMother on September 5, 2014, 18:05 GMT

    Supporting the distant country of your ancestors is a bit of cultural nostalgia, and their is nothing wrong with that. Booing a person from a family whose migrant history is similar to your own simply shows individual and family shortcomings in attitude and upbringing. There really isn't an excuse for it. That is true of some of the children of English migrants in Australia and New Zealand as much as is it of the children of Indian and Pakistani ( or South African) migrants in the UK. When we migrate we should not look to ignore our roots but we should look to assimilate sensitively into the country we chose to live in.

  • jb633 on September 5, 2014, 17:46 GMT

    @gandabhai, there is a difference though as the Indian fans were booing Moeen Ali. Booing against the pantomime villian is part of sport, look at Warner in England and Broad in Aus. Indian fans booing Anderson is fair enough too. However, you have to ask why were the Indian fans booing at Moeen? Please explain on what grounds was the booing made. There is a huge difference IMO to the banter that goes on at these ODI games between ENG and AUS and ENG v IND/PAK. I have been to both sets of games and I know which atmosphere I prefer and would prefer to take children.

  • on September 5, 2014, 17:36 GMT

    Indeed this was a well thought out and thoroughly researched unbiased article of high journalistic quality; well done! Kishan. Your article made me aware of the Tebbit's report. Whatever the root cause of the abuse meted out to the Asian Brits who made the team; it is totally unacceptable that these players should be attacked therefore all well meaning supporters should condemn such puerile behaviour by uncultured folks whose behaviour borders on absurdity. I do sympathize with these players because they are they ones who seem to be the biggest losers and rightfully I feel that they may harbour feeling of anger, confusion, bewilderment and even astonishment. So all Britain should celebrate a system that allow all players opportunities to showcase their talent- whatever their race, creed or origin.

  • tests_the_best on September 5, 2014, 17:16 GMT

    @billycricket, @Rakesh107 Agree with your opinions. An individual should be able to support any team that he/she wants but as billycricket pointed out, demeaning the individual players is pretty much uncalled for.

  • wide_gully on September 5, 2014, 16:40 GMT

    @Rakesh107, I completely agree with you...I am a proud Canadian but a staunch, die-hard Indian fan. There is nothing wrong in being able to choose the team that you wish to root for...Supporting a team should in no way be confused with patriotic allegiance.

  • DingDong420 on September 5, 2014, 16:11 GMT

    Its tribal banter nothing else, Some Pak fans cross the line sometimes by chating 'Allah Hu Akbar' when paying against India. English expats in Spain dont support Spain they support England. Its cultural identity

  • steve_kiaora on September 5, 2014, 15:27 GMT

    It's a generational thing. In the 1970's, all London matches were home matches for the West Indies. No longer. And in another generation or two, Indian and Pakistani matches won't be 'home matches' either.

  • billycricket on September 5, 2014, 14:48 GMT

    Firstly I would say what a brilliant article! Well thought out and well balanced. The problem I fear goes far deeper than cricket. Personally I feel that all british Asians or south Africans or Australians etc etc have a perfect and fully understandable right to support the country of their roots. The problem lies in the seeming growing hatred of the English. I spent a long time living abroad in Portugal and indeed went to a Portugal verses England football match. I supported England, but what I didn't do was demean the Portugese who made me very welcome during my time there. With the current growing troubles booing etc of this nature just fans the flames of English discontent. Cricket is certainly has no place for behaviour like this and if it continues will incite greater tensions in the wider society. We should all take stock and quickly for if not the potential outcomes do not bear thinking about... Cricket is about mutual respect, let none of us ever forget that.

  • KingOwl on September 5, 2014, 14:38 GMT

    It is simple really. I live in Canada and I think of Canadians of English origins. It is easy for them to support Canada in everything because Canada is always on the side of England on all matters. Now imagine that Canada started bombing England or started supporting separatism in Britain through political or indirect military assistance. Then, the Canadian of English origins will have major conflicting thoughts. Now this is a hypothetical situation and will not happen because the Canadians of English origin rule Canada. But it illustrates a key difference between English immigrants to Canada and Indian/Pakistani immigrants to England.

  • Devapriya on September 5, 2014, 14:27 GMT

    Good article - you mention the Sri Lankan who played fro England - Dimitri Mascarenhas.

  • on September 5, 2014, 14:25 GMT

    Multi culturalism on anything other than an aesthetic level does not, and can never work. It would require different laws, different economics and different calendars being implemented for each culture. One nation cannot support that without civil war. What we have is cultural ghetto-ism. Liking Bollywood movies and enjoying a Vindaloo is not multi culturalism in anything other than a superficial aesthetic level.

    We are all immigrants here in the UK. Saxony, Brittany, Celt, Viking or Roman - we all come from somewhere else. Celts in particular still hold on to aesthetic aspects of their heritage over 1500 years after arriving, and it's fine that those from India do. Sport is aesthetic, they can support who they like. It adds interest to a series. It's been an excellent Summer for cricket :)

  • ricflairforlife on September 5, 2014, 14:16 GMT

    Is it not ironic that the people who are pointing the finger at people like Moeen Ali are themselves contributing to a foreign economy and not their own??

  • binojpeter on September 5, 2014, 14:05 GMT

    I didn't know that people are supposed to cheer only based on national allegiance. Last I read, all the cricket associations are supposed to be private organizations without any ties or allegiance to the nation they are based on.

  • PPCC2014 on September 5, 2014, 13:17 GMT

    What Rakesh107 has posted did resonate with me quite a bit as did the post made by big_al_81. As a father who's son is playing competetive club and county cricket at the U11 ranks, this may well lead him to progress to the highest level that he can. If that brings national representation, that would be great, and clearly that would be England, which is an emotional conflict that I pray one day I will face. When we speak, whilst his heroes are predominantly Indian, he is actually quite balanced in his recognition of all players globally both past and present, Warne, Cook, Bell, Gayle etc. For him it is about appreciating talent, and he rallies around supporting great cricket ability rather than any specific team. He supports England players, but the fire in his belly for the sport of cricket clearly comes from his Indian heroes. In him I see a balance between pride in his heritage, respect for his country of birth, love for this great game and his desire to learn from the greats.

  • obaidshariq on September 5, 2014, 13:12 GMT

    A brilliant article. Very well written. My take on it is that everyone has a choice and affection towards a sporting team like for instance I lived in Liverpool for years and graduated from there but I support Manchester United. Should I support Karachi as that is where I am from? I think it is something which just happens and is not in your control. Love at first sight maybe :). Having said that, I am so proud of living in a beautiful and tolerant society/country that is England and I support them when it comes to Football or even cricket unless when they are playing against Pakistan and that is the only sport they are decent at anyways ;).

  • PeerieTrow on September 5, 2014, 13:05 GMT

    @Rakesh107: Priceless comments, thank you for injecting the voice of reason. I've lived in England for over 40 years now, having left my roots in the north of Scotland. I support English cricket and rugby against everybody except Scotland, a position for which I have been the target of good humoured banter over the years. My children, born in England, have the same approach to supporting England and Scotland. However, I don't get the booing of Mo; at best it's childish and at worst.......... well, let's not go there.

  • on September 5, 2014, 10:54 GMT

    "big_al_81" hit the nail on the head. Intelligently constructed article, well done to Kishan Koria and Cricinfo for publishing it. Should really be on the back or front page of a broadsheet, not just on a cricket enthusiast's website, with all due respect to Cricinfo.

  • gandabhai on September 5, 2014, 10:54 GMT

    What about the booing by English fans of Jadeja and Dhoni on day one of the Lords test. At that stage, no one knew much about what had happened and yet the respectable Indian captain was insulted by the English crowd. I know, i was there. Please don't think it is ok to dish it out only and not expect anything in return.

  • big_al_81 on September 5, 2014, 10:07 GMT

    I'm going to restrict my comments purely to the article itself. I think this is, by some distance, the most important article I've read on Cricinfo. Not simply because of its subject but because it discusses a really important issue in a balanced and sane way. Thanks so much to the author and credit to Cricinfo for publishing it. With material like this, I very much hope that the author's doesn't remain an 'aspiring' journalist for too long but is snapped up by quality newspapers or other platforms. It would be great for our politicians and opinion-shapers to read this.

  • fwd079 on September 5, 2014, 9:02 GMT

    I agree with Pubudu, on principle when you 'migrate' then you imply that you tend to leave the country you were born for whatever reasons. In that case the logic of "roots" does not stand at all. If you so loved your roots why move at all? Cheer for country you are resident of despite its performance, instead of country you ran away from, otherwise its plain hypocrisy in my view.

  • VillageBlacksmith on September 5, 2014, 8:49 GMT

    It's a free country, anyone can support who they like. But IF a 1st/2nd/ generation immigrant is feeling DISENFRANCHISED from the country they are living in anyway, it is possibly natural to rail against the country's team they are living in. It will probably not ultimately ENLIVEN their experience of living in, or INTEGRATING in to that country tho and so it goes on. And on.

  • on September 5, 2014, 8:26 GMT

    @ Nanda Kishore. For your information, the England / SA tests were much better attended than the England / India tests. International cricket is very well supported in England, with or without Indian involvement. The empty stands you refer to exist exclusively in your imagination.

    In any case, a ticket to enter a cricket ground is not a licence to publicly abuse hounourable sportsmen like Moeen Ali who have never done anything to deserve your or anyone else's disapproval.

  • rajat_magic on September 5, 2014, 7:27 GMT

    Some very interesting and thought provoking points here. I'd like to bring up one other aspect of the booing behaviour though - which is the fact that it is decidedly group behaviour, not individual behaviour, and thus its applicability to an individual's sense of identity may not be as direct.

    Usually, booing is only really fun as a group activity, when being part of the crowd is most of the fun (as opposed to cheering, which many people would engage in even if they were the only spectator in the stands). To this extent, its quite possible that 2nd generation South Asians, who otherwise only intend to support, their "dad's team" (i.e. do not actually dislike their British identity), could join in a boo with the rest of the group "just for fun", or just to confirm their membership of the group "in the moment." This might still be representative of a weaker British identity, but perhaps not as aggressively antagonistic as one might otherwise assume.

  • on September 5, 2014, 7:09 GMT

    The fan usually cheers or tries to support the team that wins more often. He is looking for the easy way out. England, unfortunately does not win as often and hence the Brit Asians support the India/Pakistani teams. This is of course the mass crowd and not the more sophisticated, well informed crowds, who often lose out in an argument with such fans just because they bring in their lineage.

  • crickeymate on September 5, 2014, 3:02 GMT

    In Australia I have English and South African friends that having lived in Australia for 10 to 30 years, still hate Australian sporting teams and follow their country of birth. Coming from a Dutch background I do not have the same rivalry as them. When holland and Australia meet I cannot loose. I am happy with a win from either side. My friends love living in Australia but cannot bring themselves to cheer it on in sport. Their children however, having been born here, support Australia. I think that's the right way to go. Still be proud of your heritage , but embrace your country of choice and birth.

  • on September 5, 2014, 2:56 GMT

    i really dont understand 1 thing when english crowd booed jadeja where were you + every fans have their own likings + whats the problem if indian community doesnt support players who didnt play for indian & joined england i see it diff way for example look @ the capacity of fans who buy tickets for test match for ENGLAND VS SOUTH AFRICA ITS like almost all the stands are empty & when its indian vs other country its close to house full if you want us to waste our time to watch the match in stands & you ask us not to express our feelings remember 1 thing there is no cricket without its loyal cricket fans & when u want loyal fan he has his own likes & dislikes here is 1 more thing when its england vs other teams i just see like 500 - 1000 fans in the whole stadiums { barmy army } so if u want loyal fans stop complaining we cheer you if we like u { what you are in & out of the fields } & if we dont like you we dont bother cheer you so respect the feelings of the fans THANK YOU :)

  • on September 5, 2014, 2:55 GMT

    i think what tobitt told was true.if one can not support the country which they live in a simple thing like a cricket match i wonder where their alliegence when a much serious issue occurs. and if you don't like the country u like why don't they go back to country they love

  • wake_up_india on September 5, 2014, 2:55 GMT

    The article does raise some deeply disturbing questions about British society. Having lived in both the US and UK I can attest that Indians are much more integrated -- proud to call themselves American -- than their British counterparts. While the professional respect I got in both countries was similar, the often unstated disrespect I sometimes got from strangers in Britain I have never experienced in the US.

  • on September 5, 2014, 0:12 GMT

    Very interesting article. I'm from Melbourne at SL vs Aus ODI games there were more Sri Lankan supporters than Australian supporters. This was also probably due to the fact that most Australian supporters care very little about limited overs cricket. However, there is hardly any abuse given, also Sub-Continental immigration occurred later in Australian then in the UK. However, it's quite funny, I remember I was on the street not having seen the game and I asked a man wearing a Sri Lankan T-shirt who won. He replied "we did" so I thought SL won but then went home and found Aus did so he meant "we" as in Australia. I know support for the Indian team is also very common. 80% of our taxi drivers are Indian so when India won the WC in 2011 it was impossible to get a taxi. However, most are first or second generation immigrants, after a few years in Australia they tend to feel Australian.

  • on September 4, 2014, 23:07 GMT

    @frumurious - you missed the point. The article wasn't focusing on expats but more on those of South Asian descent who were born in the UK and yet support India and detest England.

    Plus your point is invalid because no Aussie, Kiwi or Saffa would ever support England over their home nation - it just wouldnt happen.

    I must admit that the theme of this whole article is my worst nightmare for us here in Australia. With guys like Gurinder Sandhu on the fringe of national selection for Aus, it would be a sad day indeed if he was ever booed whilst playing in his country of birth just like Bopara.

  • TheCricketEmpireStrikesBack on September 4, 2014, 22:07 GMT

    Many interesting points in this article.

    Intrinsic to the "Tebbit test" is an assumption that supporting a foreign team is a threat to or a rejection of the home country or its values. Overwhelmingly it is neither. It is simply a personal choice - in the same way that enjoying Indian, Italian, French, Greek ......... food is not a rejection of more traditional fare.

    The sometimes excessive support or even abuse will usually be due to the passion that high-energy competitive sport often engenders. Perhaps all that is required is a less defensive attitude from the Norman Tebbits of this world.

  • on September 4, 2014, 21:30 GMT

    Just wondering - if an expat Aussie or Kiwi or South African who had settled in the UK showed up at the cricket and cheered on their mother country's side, and even hurled a bit of a abuse at the Poms for good measure, would they be subjected to the same degree of scrutiny as Asian Britons?

  • Jaffa79 on September 4, 2014, 21:23 GMT

    I don't think people should read too much into this. I know many British-Asian people who fully support England in all ways except cricket, where they support the country of their fathers and grandfathers. It is a connection to your culture and whats wrong with that? If I moved to NZ or Aus, I wouldn't support them or want my son too if Ii could help it! Nothing bad about those countries but it is what happens! Booing is just a part of the pantomime aspect of cricket. The booing of Ali by Indian fans harps back to Indian-Pakistani rivalries. It'll probaly go in the next 20-30 years but it is just the way it is. Nothing terrible really! Being an Englishman in Australia incurs way more routine abuse.

  • haq33 on September 4, 2014, 21:13 GMT

    What prejudiced rubbish in your opening paragraph. You make a bold assumption that British Pakistanis would behave the same way as British Indians just did. Although British Pakistanis may support Pakistan, you won't see Bopara, Patel or Monty come in for such organised abuse from the stands from British Pakistanis for their Indian roots. That is your assumption. Please don't drag everyone down to your level. I think the arrogance of British Indians is a purely British Indian phenomenon.

  • babusathishs on September 4, 2014, 21:03 GMT

    Very Interesting Article. Never thought about these factors before.

  • Diaz54 on September 4, 2014, 21:02 GMT

    It is sad but true. I wonder why this happening. I think it is partly to do with feeling not part of the society, and belonging or able to share success. I remember going to watch England play in South Africa, and the English supporters around me had assumed I was supporting SA! This is quite common,,this also happened in Abu Dhabi!

  • yorkshirematt on September 4, 2014, 20:42 GMT

    Why are England players from an Asian background vilified by their "own"? Simple. Jealousy. They have achieved what their detractors could only dream of

  • drdickdixon on September 4, 2014, 20:33 GMT

    I sat in front of a group of rowdy British-born Asians who goaded England, Asian English fans and Ali for most of the day whilst getting absolutely slaughtered on non-stop booze (how English!). We had a great laugh with them - the atmosphere only turning once however when one older guy told them all to go back home to where they came from to much derision from Asians and England fans alike. Maybe the dislike simply comes as a sense of identity coming from not being made to feel welcome in their country of birth?

    Mirroring what the original poster says however - the only thing that bemused me was their barracking of a British Asian who wore an England top.

  • crindo77 on September 4, 2014, 20:27 GMT

    British Asian as a term belies the dichotomy, the chasm that separates the people originating from either side of the Radcliffe line. Both sides maintain strong ties to their roots, and the parent animosity is reflected in the UK diaspora. Hence, Moenn Ali playing for England does little for Brit Indians, as Bopara's feats mean little to Brit Pakistanis. As for cheering for England, well, to put it simply, thats not gonna happen. India's colonial past is a big hindrance; 9/11, 7/7, Irag, Palestine and now Syria, its more difficult for the Pakistani fan. Indian outnumber SLs in the UK; otherwise SL victory in the Test series would have been equally raucous. The number of SL/Pakistanis that agreed with Ian Botham's IPL bashing is further proof of that. Multiculturalism in the UK hasn't really succeeded. Mass immigration is not the same as successful ethnic assimilation. To rise above all that is commendable, but difficult. Don't expect a lot.

  • sjm5000 on September 4, 2014, 20:23 GMT

    Excellent article. I can understand there are issues outside cricket to be discussed, but let's actually discuss them and not descend into the horrors of ignorant football fanaticism. Sure, support the Indian team because they represent your distant roots, but forget about the abuse. If you feel you have to be outspoken then try to aim towards banter, not bigotry. Live to learn. Moeen and Ravi, wish you well.

  • sjm5000 on September 4, 2014, 20:23 GMT

    Excellent article. I can understand there are issues outside cricket to be discussed, but let's actually discuss them and not descend into the horrors of ignorant football fanaticism. Sure, support the Indian team because they represent your distant roots, but forget about the abuse. If you feel you have to be outspoken then try to aim towards banter, not bigotry. Live to learn. Moeen and Ravi, wish you well.

  • crindo77 on September 4, 2014, 20:27 GMT

    British Asian as a term belies the dichotomy, the chasm that separates the people originating from either side of the Radcliffe line. Both sides maintain strong ties to their roots, and the parent animosity is reflected in the UK diaspora. Hence, Moenn Ali playing for England does little for Brit Indians, as Bopara's feats mean little to Brit Pakistanis. As for cheering for England, well, to put it simply, thats not gonna happen. India's colonial past is a big hindrance; 9/11, 7/7, Irag, Palestine and now Syria, its more difficult for the Pakistani fan. Indian outnumber SLs in the UK; otherwise SL victory in the Test series would have been equally raucous. The number of SL/Pakistanis that agreed with Ian Botham's IPL bashing is further proof of that. Multiculturalism in the UK hasn't really succeeded. Mass immigration is not the same as successful ethnic assimilation. To rise above all that is commendable, but difficult. Don't expect a lot.

  • drdickdixon on September 4, 2014, 20:33 GMT

    I sat in front of a group of rowdy British-born Asians who goaded England, Asian English fans and Ali for most of the day whilst getting absolutely slaughtered on non-stop booze (how English!). We had a great laugh with them - the atmosphere only turning once however when one older guy told them all to go back home to where they came from to much derision from Asians and England fans alike. Maybe the dislike simply comes as a sense of identity coming from not being made to feel welcome in their country of birth?

    Mirroring what the original poster says however - the only thing that bemused me was their barracking of a British Asian who wore an England top.

  • yorkshirematt on September 4, 2014, 20:42 GMT

    Why are England players from an Asian background vilified by their "own"? Simple. Jealousy. They have achieved what their detractors could only dream of

  • Diaz54 on September 4, 2014, 21:02 GMT

    It is sad but true. I wonder why this happening. I think it is partly to do with feeling not part of the society, and belonging or able to share success. I remember going to watch England play in South Africa, and the English supporters around me had assumed I was supporting SA! This is quite common,,this also happened in Abu Dhabi!

  • babusathishs on September 4, 2014, 21:03 GMT

    Very Interesting Article. Never thought about these factors before.

  • haq33 on September 4, 2014, 21:13 GMT

    What prejudiced rubbish in your opening paragraph. You make a bold assumption that British Pakistanis would behave the same way as British Indians just did. Although British Pakistanis may support Pakistan, you won't see Bopara, Patel or Monty come in for such organised abuse from the stands from British Pakistanis for their Indian roots. That is your assumption. Please don't drag everyone down to your level. I think the arrogance of British Indians is a purely British Indian phenomenon.

  • Jaffa79 on September 4, 2014, 21:23 GMT

    I don't think people should read too much into this. I know many British-Asian people who fully support England in all ways except cricket, where they support the country of their fathers and grandfathers. It is a connection to your culture and whats wrong with that? If I moved to NZ or Aus, I wouldn't support them or want my son too if Ii could help it! Nothing bad about those countries but it is what happens! Booing is just a part of the pantomime aspect of cricket. The booing of Ali by Indian fans harps back to Indian-Pakistani rivalries. It'll probaly go in the next 20-30 years but it is just the way it is. Nothing terrible really! Being an Englishman in Australia incurs way more routine abuse.

  • on September 4, 2014, 21:30 GMT

    Just wondering - if an expat Aussie or Kiwi or South African who had settled in the UK showed up at the cricket and cheered on their mother country's side, and even hurled a bit of a abuse at the Poms for good measure, would they be subjected to the same degree of scrutiny as Asian Britons?

  • TheCricketEmpireStrikesBack on September 4, 2014, 22:07 GMT

    Many interesting points in this article.

    Intrinsic to the "Tebbit test" is an assumption that supporting a foreign team is a threat to or a rejection of the home country or its values. Overwhelmingly it is neither. It is simply a personal choice - in the same way that enjoying Indian, Italian, French, Greek ......... food is not a rejection of more traditional fare.

    The sometimes excessive support or even abuse will usually be due to the passion that high-energy competitive sport often engenders. Perhaps all that is required is a less defensive attitude from the Norman Tebbits of this world.