The news that Tatenda Taibu had considered qualifying for South Africa - before being put off by a less than welcoming chat with the head of the board - set us thinking about players who have successfully played for more than one country. Taibu did became a double international of sorts at the weekend when he turned out for Namibia
Kepler Wessels Australia and South Africa
The 1980s heralded a mass exodus of South African sporting talent, as players of the calibre of Robin Smith and Allan Lamb sized up the political atmosphere and decided to pledge their allegiance to countries that could offer them international cricket. Kepler Wessels was no different, except that he chose Australia rather than England as his new home-from-home. A teak-tough Afrikaaner with ambition to burn, he soon found himself inked into a weak Australian side, where he offered yeoman service for six years, averaging a commendable 42.95 from 24 Tests. His heart never entirely left South Africa, however, and few Aussies were surprised when he returned home with the Australian rebel tourists in 1986-87. With little prospect of further international honours, he concentrated on captaining Eastern Province to back-to-back Currie Cup titles in 1988-89 and 1989-90, the first in their history. But then Apartheid crumbled and South Africa were readmitted to international cricket. Wessels swiftly succeeded Clive Rice as captain, and his unflinching experience proved invaluable.
Frank Hearne England and South Africa
Frank Hearne was one of three brothers who played Test cricket for England, but unlike his siblings, Frank added four appearances for South Africa to his two for the Mother Country. As a member of Major Warton's 1888-89 tour of the Cape, he decided to stay on for health reasons and opened a sports shop in Cape Town. He was soon invited to play for Western Province, and in an era when qualification for a new territory such as South Africa was extremely relaxed, within two years he was making his debut against his two brothers, who were both making their own debuts for England. He toured England in 1894, and to add to the mixed family loyalties, his son, George Hearne, played for South Africa as well.
Billy Midwinter Australia and England
Midwinter holds the distinction of being the only man to have played for both sides in the Ashes. Born in Gloucestershire, he moved to Australia where he became a professional in Melbourne and he represented his new country in the first-ever Test in 1877. An early commuter, he travelled back with the England side to play the 1877 summer with Gloucestershire, and continued his globetrotting between seasons for the next few seasons. In 1878 he was reportedly kidnapped by WG Grace from the Australian dressing-room at The Oval to play for Gloucestershire, and he remained with them for the rest of the summer. It was as a Gloucestershire player he toured Australia with England in 1881-82, playing four Tests. He was not finished yet, and the following season he was back playing for Australia and in 1884 he toured England for a second time.
Billy Murdoch Australia and England
The outstanding Australian batsman of his generation, he led Australia on four tours of England and set many batting records. He retired in 1884-85 when he got married, but was persuaded to return to captain the 1890 team to England and he remained there after the tour. He went on skipper Sussex then moved to join his old friend WG Grace when London County was formed. As if there were any doubts about Murdoch's nationality crisis, at Lord's in 1884 he caught one of his own players while fielding as a substitute for England.
Abdul Kardar India and Pakistan
Widely recognised as Pakistan cricket's original father-figure, Abdul Hafeez Kardar was an Oxford-educated leader of men who provided the sort of stability and unity that has so often being lacking in the national team. He was captain during Pakistan's inaugural series against India in 1952-53, leading the team to victory in only their second match, and he was also at the helm during their win against England at The Oval in 1954-55, which remains to this day one of Pakistan's finest achievements. Revered by his peers for his fearless approach with bat and ball, he was one of three Pakistanis who had played for India pre-Partition, the other two being Amir Elahi and Gul Mohamad (who didn't switch allegiance until 1956). After retirement he was no less forthright in his leadership, and was chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board from 1972 to 1977.
Trott made a remarkable debut for Australia in 1894-95, taking 8 for 43 and scoring 110 runs without being dismissed. He was, therefore, understandably miffed when not asked to tour England in 1896, the more so as his brother was captain. He paid his own fare to England, presented himself at Lord's and spent two years on the MCC staff while qualifying for his adopted country. He had a distinguished career with Middlesex, but The Cricketer noted his "body spread under the effects of ale - often taken along the boundary from admiring spectators - and from dropsy". In 1898-99 he toured South Africa with England and took 17 wickets in two Tests, but again found himself on the sidelines immediately afterwards.
Simpson Guillen West Indies and New Zealand
Simpson Guillen, better known as Sammy, secured his niche in history at Auckland in March 1956, when he stumped West Indies' Alf Valentine off the bowling of Harry Cave to secure New Zealand's first victory in their 45-year, 26-Test history. It was a moment made all the more poignant for Guillen, because the win had come against his former team-mates and countrymen. Born in Trinidad in 1924, Guillen played five Tests for West Indies in 1951-52, two of which had come against New Zealand. He was so taken by the country that he emigrated to Christchurch, where he plied his trade for Canterbury in the Plunket Shield. His abilities came to the attention of Walter Hadlee, the chairman of selectors, who pressed for Guillen's inclusion in the 1955-56 series. He needed approval from both the West Indies Cricket Board of Control and the ICC, but both were granted with minimal fuss. As for his former team-mates, they harboured no grudge, and during their tour match against Canterbury, they greeted his arrival in the middle with three cheers.
Nawab of Pataudi England and India
Educated in England, Pataudi made his England debut during the infamous Bodyline series in 1932-33, months after All India had played their first Test. He made 102 on debut but was dropped after the second Test, apparently because he disagreed with the tactics of Douglas Jardine, and returned home before the end of the tour. He played his third and final Test in 1934, but dropped out of most cricket after that season. He was appointed to lead India in 1936 but withdrew claiming he was not fit. A decade later, however, he did lead India but struggled having not played much in the interim - he failed in all three Tests.
John Traicos South Africa and Zimbabwe
When the wiry offspinner John Traicos played in Zimbabwe's inaugural match against India at Harare in 1993-94, he parachuted straight into the record books, for this was his first international appearance for an astonishing 22 years and 222 days. Born in Egypt in 1947, he had made his Test debut for South Africa against Australia in 1969-70, the country's last series before their banishment from Test cricket. At 45, he retained superb reactions in the gully, and was still arguably the best spinner in the whole of Africa, let alone Zimbabwe. He returned with figures of 5 for 86 in 50 overs on his return to the international fold as India were given a run for their money, but business commitments meant he was unable to tour Pakistan later that year and retirement swiftly followed. As Zimbabwe went into meltdown, his departure was inglorious, as he fled the country in the boot of a friend's car in 1997 and emigrated to Australia.
He is not an official dual international, but Steve Waugh nevertheless made waves when, in 1998, he agreed to represent Ireland in a five-match one-day series against a touring Australia A team. The Aussies fielded players of the calibre of Matthew Hayden, Mike Hussey and Andrew Symonds, and won easily, 4-0 with one abandonment. But Waugh's experience served his side well, with scores of 67, 0, 17 and 36 in his four innings. "I know my fellow countrymen will be keen to do well against me," he said beforehand, "and I can assure them I will be keen to do well against them." The trip was arranged as part of the ICC's development programme and also involved a number of coaching and promotional engagements. The following year Waugh succeeded Mark Taylor as Australia's Test captain, and returned to the British Isles to secure his second World Cup triumph.
Rahul Dravid India and Scotland
Not to be outdone, Scotland also landed themselves a superstar overseas player in Rahul Dravid, when in 2003 they were invited to join county cricket's National League for the first time. His arrival sparked a frenzy of interest north of the border, although even he proved powerless as Scotland struggled to make an impact on the competition. He registered a second-ball duck in his second outing of the campaign, but swiftly made amends with two unbeaten centuries in his next three innings. Neither match was won, however, nor was the match against Northamptonshire in August, when he registered his third hundred of the campaign. Happily, Dravid did play a significant role in one victory, making a steady 69 in a six-wicket win against Sussex.
Martin Williamson is managing editor and Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo