Shashi Tharoor
Indian MP, former United Nations Under-Secretary General, and cricket fan

An Indian-origin XI and other proposals

How about getting players of Indian origin from across the world together into a team to play India?

Shashi Tharoor

April 13, 2011

Comments: 70 | Text size: A | A

Paul Stirling powers one to the boundary, Ireland v Netherlands, World Cup 2011, Group B, March 18, 2011
Players from Ireland and Netherlands would feature prominently in an Associates all-star XI © Getty Images
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With the World Cup behind us and the IPL season in full swing, it may be the moment for a few stray thoughts on international cricket, prompted by both tournaments. Here are four such reflections, on which I would welcome comments.

The best of the rest
The ICC's reprehensible decision to prevent Associate member countries from participating in the next edition of the World Cup in 2015 has already been extensively commented upon. Perhaps indeed there is no room for more than 10 teams in the next edition, though the arguments for and against that conclusion can certainly be debated. But why not give the best of the rest an opportunity to participate in the World Cup in one team rather than several?

Couldn't the ICC hold a competition for Associate members (like the ICC Trophy that produced the last two qualifiers for this World Cup) and pick a stellar 15 from that event - comprising the most able Irish and Dutch, certainly, but also Afghans, Kenyans, Americans and Arabs? Call it "The Rest of the World".

I have often mused about the huge loss to world cricket represented by the inability of a world-class player like Steve Tikolo to parade his talents on cricket's global stage. I am sure that comparable talents are going to emerge from other associate countries, who might otherwise have to "blush unseen" in the desert of associate-nation cricket. I have no doubt that such a team, drawn even from this year's associates, would give at least Zimbabwe and Bangladesh a run for their money.

The same line of thinking prompts a second suggestion - not for the World Cup but for an exhibition match guaranteed to raise interest (and possibly funds for a good cause) in India, which is already the fount of much of world cricket's revenue. A number of cricket-playing countries now include cricketers of Indian (or part-Indian) origin. The government of India even recognises them distinctively as People of Indian Origin (PIOs), a special category eligible for assorted benefits, including an annual jamboree in the motherland: the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas. Why not select a PIO cricket XI to play India in an annual match on that occasion, with the proceeds going to a fund to construct and maintain a memorial and museum commemorating the history and experience of Indian émigrés?

In years gone by, the great West Indians Rohan Kanhai, Alvin Kallicharran, Sonny Ramadhin and Joe Solomon; the Britons Nasser Hussain, Raman Subba Row, Ronnie Irani and Min Patel; and the New Zealander Dipak Patel might have been automatic selections for such a side. Today a contemporary PIO XI, in batting order, might read: Hashim Amla (South Africa), Dion Ebrahim (Zimbabwe), Ramnaresh Sarwan (West Indies), Shivnarine Chanderpaul (West Indies), Ravi Bopara (England), Narsingh Deonarine (West Indies), Samit Patel (England), Denesh Ramdin (West Indies), Ravi Rampaul (West Indies), Jeetan Patel (New Zealand), and Monty Panesar (England), with Devendra Bishoo (West Indies) in reserve as 12th man. A bit light on pace, I know, which is probably inevitable given the mother country's own weakness in that department. But the match would be played on a slow turner in India!

Permitting Indian domestic teams to include up to two foreign players in their playing XIs would sharpen the skills of the Indian cricketers playing alongside foreign professionals; improve the quality of cricket on offer in the domestic tournaments, and therefore improve the audience for domestic games

Internationalising India's domestic cricket
The World Cup demonstrated India's dominance in the world of cricket, the size of its market, its financial and political clout, and the range of resources and venues at its disposal. If India's ambitions go beyond remaining the big fish in a relatively small global pond, it needs to work to strengthen the sport elsewhere in the world. In the circumstances the time seems ripe for India to open its game to players from other countries. There are two things it could immediately do.

One is to permit all Indian domestic teams (including in the flagship Ranji Trophy) to include up to two foreign players in their playing XIs. This would have the merit of sharpening the skills of the Indian cricketers playing alongside foreign professionals; improve the quality of cricket on offer in the domestic tournaments, and therefore improve the audience for domestic games; and, incidentally, help provide sustainable livelihoods to foreign players currently deprived of such an employment opportunity. It might be argued that an infusion of foreign talent would deprive an equivalent number of Indian players the chance to shine, but there is little doubt that the overall beneficiary would be Indian cricket. An Indian Test batsman who has grown up facing foreign pacemen in domestic cricket would be far readier for the rigours of the international game than a flat-track bully of medium-pace bowling, who may be quickly found out the moment a Steyn or even a Klusener is unleashed on him. And an Indian paceman bowling alongside a Morkel, or even an Anderson, would rapidly improve and refine his own craft.

The second initiative would be a more altruistic one. India has in the past invited the occasional foreign team (the England Lions come to mind) to play in a domestic tournament. I propose that we build on this and seek to strengthen subcontinental cricket by expanding the current, oddly-configured five-team Duleep Trophy into an eight-team South Asian tournament with three foreign sides - from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka - permanently participating in it. All three suffer from insufficient opportunities to play first-class cricket, and though Sri Lanka's strong club-cricket culture has helped them overcome this deficiency, they could use the Duleep Trophy to blood players on the fringes of Test selection. There is little doubt that such a tournament would strengthen cricket in the subcontinent, help Bangladesh establish their credibility at this level and prepare Afghanistan for greater honours in due course.

And finally, seamless Pakistanis
On sleepless nights during the World Cup, I read Shehan Karunatilaka's extraordinary first novel Chinaman (and have reviewed it elsewhere). One of the delights of the book, quite unrelated to the main plot but a potential source of endless diversion, kept me happily distracted in Mohali. This was the "Seamless Pakistani" game played by the novel's protagonist, "WG", and his friends, which consists of seeing how many Pakistani cricketers' names one can string together so that the surname of one becomes the next player's first name, and so on, till you run out of possibilities. The novel's winner has nine: Saqlain Mushtaq Mohammad Zahid Fazal Asif* Iqbal Sikander Bakht! In my idler moments I came up with 11 Seamless Pakistanis: Saqlain Mushtaq Mohammad Wasim Akram Raza Hasan Iqbal Qasim Umar Akmal. I'm sure there are enough fans on ESPNcricinfo who can do better than that.

The sequence of names is reproduced as published in the novel, though there does not seem to be a record of a Pakistani cricketer called Fazal Asif

Shashi Tharoor is an Indian MP and a former United Nations Under-Secretary General

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Posted by   on (April 16, 2011, 10:56 GMT)

It is a joke murali has no place in the team. Murali is pure indian origin. 2ndly I agree with agapornis atleast there can b 4 teams south west north and east

Posted by   on (April 15, 2011, 18:44 GMT)

Honestly, is n't the line between competitive sport and international relations so wide?

Posted by cric_fanatics on (April 14, 2011, 21:35 GMT)

@Sachinalways....even i thought that..after INDIAs world cup win..and the comprhensive drubbing of so called good bowler umar gul...

Posted by Gundus11 on (April 14, 2011, 21:28 GMT)

Idea #1: Totally absurd. A world cup is more than a "cup". Its one country feeling on top of the world, a feeling it is supposed to hold on to for 4 years. Its you talking to your kids and grand kids about it for years to come. So say ICC XI wins the cup, do you think the feeling would be same? I don't think so. I guess your thoughts are an extension of IPL mantra, just swap some uniform and play. After a month, you will probably never talk to the guy you shared your room with.

Go back to 1996, increase the number of teams to 12. 2 associate teams, 2 groups of 6, 8 QFs. Given that 4 out of 6 teams from each group WILL go through you are almost ensuring that the big nations will almost go through and you give a chance for 2 associate nations to play in the big league.

Posted by   on (April 14, 2011, 19:59 GMT)

The PIO team and the Rest of the World (RTW) idea sound like a far fetched fantasy, almost absurd. On the issue of inviting first class teams to play in India, that seems like a good idea. It will give the foreign teams an opportunity to play "indian spin" on "flat/turning indian tracks" while also giving young indian players to face up to genuine pace bowling. However, several limitations exist in actual implementation of this idea. As Aakash Chopra has pointed out several times before here on Cricinfo, the infrastructure provided to first class cricket in India ranks far behind those in other cricket playing nations which makes me wonder if foreign teams (albeit first class) will want to come to India to play a season of first class cricket to begin with.

Posted by Agapornis on (April 14, 2011, 17:59 GMT)

The Indian subcontinent is to cricket what Europe is to Football. Yet Europe has about 30 teams of which it sends 13 to the world cup while South Asia can have a maximum of 6 or 7 teams. It is best to separate both politics and commerce from cricket and ensure that nations without states too get represented at the international stage. If Scotland, despite being a part of the UK can field its own football and cricket teams, I see no reason why the Kannadigas, Gujaratis, Balochis, Assamese etc cannot have their own international cricket teams since many of these nationalities are much bigger than Sri Lanka. If this is allowed we could have 30+ strong teams at the international level and many more talented youngsters having their dreams to play cricket at the international stage fulfilled rather than shattered.

Posted by wicketman on (April 14, 2011, 15:50 GMT)

Nice of Shashi to acknowledge players of indian origin. I am Guyanese indian and we have produced some of the best indian batsmen outside the subcontinent. I for one don't think there is any bowler playing now who could have bowled to Kallicharran in his prime. When he was dropped from the WI team he promptly vented his frustrations on all the WI fast bowlers in english county cricket at the time (Croft, Daniel, Holding,Clarke) especially Joel Garner whom he totally destroyed in one game playing for Warwickshire. If anyone is in doubt just check out the WC semi final of 1975 where he took on Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson - pretty handy bowlers thenselves - no helmets in those days either.

Posted by   on (April 14, 2011, 14:15 GMT)

Such a lame proposal.I think we need more IPL's around the world.The Africans need to have a league.The Americas,The Pacific islands, Europe,Asia too.All the international ODI tours should be stopped.The test tours should be retained and only T-20's should survive in the ODI formats. Anything that bores the general public isnt sport.

Posted by aether29 on (April 14, 2011, 12:02 GMT)

This is ridiculous..The West Indians are not Indians! Descendants of Indians after over 100 years..don't bring us into this..all the west indians are patriotic to their parent countries, in this case Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago. They don't know anything of India. So please limit this search to those born in India only..leave West Indians to the West Indies, God knows we could use the talent

Posted by Dazzling_Devil on (April 14, 2011, 11:51 GMT)

How about 'Ape Origin XI' ?

Posted by Horn.OK.Please on (April 14, 2011, 8:15 GMT)

For all those asking for Pakistanis and Bangladeshis to be included in the PIO list, the official definition of PIO excludes people from these two nationalities since they technically moved out to their own country and did not migrate to another pre-existing country.

@kiwirocker - welcome back. I do hope you will stay back for the next 4 years till the next world cup.

Posted by DibblyDobbler2 on (April 14, 2011, 8:03 GMT)

Is Shashi bored or does he not have a day job at the moment? Some of these suggestions are pie-in-the-sky stuff. The Ranji Trophy etc. need to be overhauled completely to make them more competitive and relevant - better wickets would help. Lesser competitions need to be made more attractive to younger players so that they can show their ability better. Ask yourself why is Valthaty not playing regular circket for his state at least? I suppose we will find out soon enough if he is a complete fluke but I think Gilly can spot talent a mile away. Where are the fast bowlers? Make our fast bowlers stronger and encourage them. Take Ishant - he clocked 150 Kph in Australia (1st series) and now struggles to clock 135 Kph. Yes bring in overseas players if they will come - competiton makes people work harder might even work..

Posted by KiwiRocker- on (April 14, 2011, 5:58 GMT)

vadakkemury - I still claim core of article is flawed as person of Indian origin means zilch. Do you really think Hasim Amla born and bred in Natal, SA will consider himself an Indian? Just because someone's parents came from India, Pakistan or SL does not make this article any exciting. By this definiation, All of NZ and Australian playrs are English...?Apart from Darryl Tuffey and few who have Maori links. Make some sense mate! cric_fanatics - I failed to understand your comments? Afridi hit Kumble in Kanpur for 23 runs in an over..Saeed Anwr hit Kumble for 27runs in an over in Chennai..Imran Khan hit Kapil Dev for 20+ runs in 1989 Nehru cup? Does it make anyone a lesser bowler? Everyone has their day...Its a game of cricket. Saeed Ajmal made Tendulkar look like a club cricketer but that does not make Tendulkar a bad player of Spin? or Does it?

Posted by notvery on (April 14, 2011, 5:02 GMT)

umm did i miss something.. you mentioned "the Britons Nasser Hussain, Raman Subba Row, Ronnie Irani and Min Patel" and yet you didnt mention the great Smith... or Ranjithsinji as he was also sometimes known. mind you didnt mention his nephew Smith either (Duleepsinhji) both would have more stock in English cricket history that the 4 mentioned above.

Posted by BoonBoom on (April 14, 2011, 4:52 GMT) your seemless names you have Akram far as I know there is no player from Pakisatan with the name of Akram Khan??

Posted by CricketpunditUSA on (April 14, 2011, 2:18 GMT)

you have to love this Kiwirocker guy!! He went into the hiding after the semi-finals. He is back again! Now slowly getting his voice back!! All the others are as average as Indian bowlers. Also, if you don't define bowling as "fast Bowling" alone, India has the highest wicket taker (active bowler ie) in the world (yes guys.. Bhajj is the highest wicket the world. Kumble, Bedi, Chandra and Prasanna are world class. None of the pakistan bowlers will come close to matching the record (though I love Abdul Qadir). So it is an illusion that Pak had a better bowling team, Pak had two great fast bowlers in Ws and that's it. Sarfraz Nawaz , Akthar etc. are not world class in any shape or form in the bigger scheme of things. So don't think that Pak attack is somewhat like WI attack!!!

Posted by caught_knott_bowled_old on (April 14, 2011, 1:12 GMT)

Indian cricket may not stand to gain...e.g., English cricket did not benefit from having overseas players in their domestic teams. However, it did help in raising the standards of cricket as players from WI, India, Pakistan, SA etc were able to learn and showcase their skills. Its worth exploring.

Posted by   on (April 13, 2011, 22:41 GMT)

Whatever happened, a South African origin side would probably be unbeatable!!

Posted by cric_fanatics on (April 13, 2011, 20:56 GMT)

@kiwirocker...yeah..but UMAR GUL is very talented..he gave away only 22 runs in an over..

Posted by goknicks on (April 13, 2011, 20:42 GMT)

I have seventeen for seamless Pakistanis saqlain mushtaq muahmmed wasim akram khan mohammed asif iqbal qasim umar gul mohammed zahid fazal mahmood hussain

Posted by   on (April 13, 2011, 19:34 GMT)

the PIO team sounds fun and exciting. but most of them will be west indian players, coz west indies have the most players of indian descent, other than india, and WICB may not agree to this. if west indies dont take part, there wont be able to find enough other indians from other countrys to make up a team..

Posted by drsankalp on (April 13, 2011, 18:55 GMT)

I think its non sense idea.

Posted by enigma77543 on (April 13, 2011, 18:46 GMT)

Don't know about other ideas but opening up the domestic teams for foreign players can only be good for India as with 27 teams probably allows in too many ordinary players diluting the standard of their cricket so if some of these places are taken by foreigners then that'll definitely thicken the quality. And their may be players who might look forward to it, not just ones from Associate Nations but also the established players from countries like England, New Zealand, South Africa, etc who might want to improve their batting against spin or to get used to the Indian climate keeping in mind future International tours or to improve their spin-bowling as a spinner.

Posted by zarasochozarasamjho on (April 13, 2011, 18:44 GMT)

Very clever article, but I would add ADDITIONALLY India should really start looking seriously into other sports if it wants to make a name in sports - worldwide. Cricket is only a minority sport at the world stage. Can you imagine strong Indian and Pakistani football teams or these countries winning a handful of medals at the olympics? For God's sake, these are the 2nd and 6th most populous countries in the world. As a Pakistani supporter, my first interest is cricket too, but we should aim for dominance in world sports and that would come through better administration, marketing, and financing backed up by a superb and workable vision.

Posted by   on (April 13, 2011, 18:41 GMT)

PIO eh? Just wondering, would all Pakistanis and Bangladeshis qualify as well? I mean, they were Indians up until 1947, which is much makes them more Indian than the Bishoos and Deonarines :-)

Posted by   on (April 13, 2011, 18:02 GMT)

The best of the rest can perhaps be tweaked a little. The current ICC trophy can be much better if its given some more exposure and media coverage. We saw what Australian 'team' did to a group of talented individuals in the super tests. Best of the rest is never going to be a team, just talented individuals. Also, in addition to the internationalizing of indian domestic cricket, how about sending the Ranji winners to Australia's sheffield shield? Get some experience on the quick bouncy wickets too.

Finally, I am sure many other readers noticed how Tharoor conveniently looked over Pakistan's domestic teams in a 'South Asian' tournament. To immediately follow this with the seamless pakistani 'proposal' is a bit odd to say the least. Anyway, I hope the best of the rest and internationalization of domestic cricket proposals do get some coverage. Pakistan will find a way to always be unpredictably dangerous and competitive whether they play in IPL or the south asian tournament or not.

Posted by Mr_Anonymous on (April 13, 2011, 17:54 GMT)

Mr. Tharoor.

I do like the idea of allowing up to 2 foreign players in the team on paper but I think it might not be financially feasible for domestic sides to be able to afford the highly rated players you have talked of (e.g. Steyn/Morkel/Anderson playing in the Ranji would be nice but I doubt they would be interested as they will not get IPL like big bucks). Getting foreign coaches for domestic sides might be another good option to consider.

I do like the idea of expanding the Duleep trophy to allow 8 teams but disagree with the permanent membership. Why not rotate the teams? One year allow Afghanistan/Bangaldesh/SL another year allow Ireland/Holland/Kenya and yet another USA/Canada/Scotland (for example). That will allow for more variety and allow our domestic players to experience different team compositions and strengths while providing other associate nations an option for strengthen their sides.

Posted by bigime on (April 13, 2011, 17:42 GMT)

No Body knew that Bangladesh vice captain Tamim Iqbal is of indian origin, both his maternal and paternal grandparents came from Uttar Pradesh, India before partition of India.

Posted by OtherLebowski on (April 13, 2011, 17:11 GMT)

Joe Solomon is of Indian origin?

Posted by GujranwalaWaqar on (April 13, 2011, 16:39 GMT)

@SagirParkar... Owais Shah is from Karachi, Pakistan.

Posted by NikhilDXB on (April 13, 2011, 15:16 GMT)

Another infinite loop for seamless: Mohammad Aamer Hanif Mohammad ad infinitum :)

Posted by NikhilDXB on (April 13, 2011, 14:49 GMT)

How about Hasan Raza Hasan Raza Hasan ad infinitum...infinite loop, beat that :P

Posted by   on (April 13, 2011, 14:34 GMT)

I like the concept of the best players from thee associate nations coming together and participating in a World Cup which at least gives them the opportunity to showcase their talent on a world stage.As far as people of Indian origin coming together and playing against India is concerned i don't see the point of doing this and i'm not sure whether the players would agree to play such a match.

Posted by   on (April 13, 2011, 14:13 GMT)

If at all two players from overseas can be allowed in domestic tournaments,make another rule that atleast one of them be from an associate country.Why would you wan to give a chance to a Ricky ponting or Jacques Kallis in Ranji trophy when they already have hell lot of Cricket to play in their own cntry...? Rather allow a Doeschate,Hemp,Tikolo or Joyce... I've heard the BEST OF THE REST thing before but all said & done its one of the best ideas of all time.A test team need not always be national side.The WEST INDIES for example, is a group of nations which would otherwise find it difficult to sustain themselves at this level.I Hope they consider it seriously...

Posted by SagirParkar on (April 13, 2011, 13:54 GMT)

do u seriously prefer Samit Patel over Bishoo in your starting line up ??? and do not forget Owais Shah, who would be a better batsman than Dion Ebrahim..

Posted by nair_ottappalam on (April 13, 2011, 13:39 GMT)

Your idea of bringing a Rest of the World XI is the most welcome idea. That makes wonderful sense as players like O'Brien gets full reward for their hardwork. Some of the associate teams had excellent players who could have been the Sachins, Pontings, Mahelas, Steyns, Zaheers, Muralis had their team got the proper guidance and recognition. The idea of Asia XI,, Africa XI, Australian XI (consisting of Aussies and Kiwis) have also been tried in the past with great success. An idea of an India (champions) Vs a team consisting of the best players of other 13 teams of the recently concluded World Cup would be excellent and such a series minimum 5 ODIs should be played either in England or South Africa for mooting quality 50 over match

Posted by   on (April 13, 2011, 13:33 GMT)

I would love to see the BCCI do anything but help themselves! I would be worried if I was Andy Flower or Tim Nielsen about youngsters picking up the habits of indian players! Also, will they be able to perform outside india when there's pace on the pitch? It seems unless MS Dhoni is commanding a team anything goes in terms of training. I remember Graeme Smith complaining that it was impossible to get Viru and Inzy to fielding practice before the ICC World XI v Australia match. Foreign cricketers would get frustrated by the diva behaviour of the indian 'stars'

Posted by   on (April 13, 2011, 13:01 GMT)

Dion Ebrahim? Indian origin??? Now I tried Googling this and came across only ONE evidence of the same: . Now you can't really trust this page as this Wiki page is open to all for editing: The same page also lists the West Indies' Nyron Asgarali, of Afghan Origin, as a cricketer of Indian Origin. Now has the author come out with this idea(although a decent one, admittedly) after merely stumbling onto a wiki page, or does he know something almost none of the rest of us do?

Posted by Sportsscientist on (April 13, 2011, 12:48 GMT)

Very intersting read. I remember in the 80's many people questioned if englands cricketers should play in the caribbean domestic competition to help them cope with the west indies pace attack. The idea never materialised due to money. Traditionally SA, AUS & ENG have been the only nations to have domestic teams with the finance to sign overseas players and support their wages. No T20 has given the BCCI the clout, maybe a player on a T20 contract can spend a few months playign 3 or 4 day cricket in india, before the IPL???? Another issue is the seasons, with England being the only test nation in the northern hemisphere all the other countires has seasons that overlap so that may be an issue for established SA, ZIM, WI, and AUS players, but what if some fringe players could go to india and play??? also a south asian league?? with SRI L, AFG, PKN & BANGLA??? the more ideas are discussed the more likely something feasible will be worked out.

Posted by DeemiZafar on (April 13, 2011, 12:18 GMT)

Coming to the last paragraph of this article, I think a little modification could make it something like this: Fazal Mahmood Hussain Muhammad Asif (even though Muhammad Hussain's name gets reversed, but that is the best that can be done under the given condition!).

Posted by HatsforBats on (April 13, 2011, 12:18 GMT)

What about a South African second XI? Oh wait, England have done that already! Sorry, couldn't resist : ) But seriously, there should be more under-23 international games would benefit everyone.

Posted by sacricketlegend on (April 13, 2011, 11:51 GMT)

That Indian team will lose to a South African Expats XI 9 out of 10 times (and then only if the 10th time is a World Cup knockout game).

Posted by   on (April 13, 2011, 11:19 GMT)

lol kiwirocker where were you all these days when india won the world cup.Seriously i was wondering lolz you went off into some sort of hybernation after indias win.And can you tell me are you a newzealandar or a pakistani.Its sort of confusing nationality which you possese

Posted by   on (April 13, 2011, 10:22 GMT)

Really good article.. Like the concept of Best of the Rest.. and Inviting other teams to play in our domestic league... Also having 2 foreign players is definitely good.. more variety..On a lighter side this can be restricted to Fast bowlers -> 140+kmph...

Posted by vadakkemury on (April 13, 2011, 10:20 GMT)

@ KiwiRocker : If you do not know what is meant by Person of Indian Origin.. keep quiet rather than saying that the core of the article is flawed; Moreover, the core of the article is on a few proposals to uplift cricket in India and also to give chance to gifted players around the world who are not previlaged to be part of a good team; not about PIO XI team!. Dear Mr. Tharoor, I appreciate your excellent writing and fresh ideas!..

Posted by Shaktiamar on (April 13, 2011, 9:34 GMT)

Probably an Indianlist wud be like as below(7):- krishnamachari srikkanth anirudha singh ravindra jadeja ajay sharma cheatn

Ravindra Singh is Robin Singh and I have palyed with the ordering of names for some of them. Only Aniruddh singh and Cheeka's son have not played intn'l cricet for India.

Posted by Matricfail on (April 13, 2011, 9:27 GMT)

Mr Sashi Tharoor's proposals to invite indian origin players and internationalizing Indian domestic circuit are exciting to be honest. It will be good to have people coming in from across the world and teaching us some professionalism which sports in India lacks, like everything else. Although it is quite possible but it will be impossible to achieve, the quality of life for players coming from western countries in India will be a measure road block. They will not be able to survive the bureaucracy, corruption and sycophancy that pervades sports in general. But, yes if it is possible it will be beneficial to everyone including home and away boys. India people will love it as well; they have always welcoming hearts. For sports it will be a huge bonus point..

Posted by   on (April 13, 2011, 8:55 GMT)

All of you including Shashi Tharoor himself forgot an important fact: MUTTIAH MURALITHARAN's grandfather was born in Tamil Nadu, southern India, and migrated to Sri Lanka. This makes him a PIO. He is NOT, I repeat, NOT a Jaffna Tamil or Batticaloa Tamil (who are native to Sri Lanka). He's of Indian origin as much as Devendra Bishoo or Hashim Amla.

Posted by   on (April 13, 2011, 8:49 GMT)

Mr. Tharoor's idea of having foreign players in the Indian domestic tournaments is a commendable one. And it seems to have been done before as well. That too in India with the same motive i.e improving Indian players in the pace department. I seem to remember a sports column ("Khelte Khelte") from my childhood by Chuni Goswami -- the legendary Indian national footballer who also played domestic cricket -- where he mentions at least two West Indian fast bowlers the infamous Roy Gilchrist and Lester King who were part of domestic teams in India. I think there were four bowlers in total who had been invited but I cannot recall the names of the other two. What I mean to say is I wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Tharoor and there is already historical precedence of having foreign players in the Indian domestic league, so the idea is definitely workable.

Posted by SachinAlways on (April 13, 2011, 8:41 GMT)

@kiwirocker I thought you were dead....

Posted by   on (April 13, 2011, 8:39 GMT)

I wish BCCI uses its clout to help teams like Afghanistan and Ireland, like it did supporting SA's reinclusion which was followed by a long standing friendship..

Posted by   on (April 13, 2011, 7:52 GMT)

the players name is hassan raza i dont think its raza hassan

Posted by soumyas on (April 13, 2011, 7:52 GMT)

" Saqlain Mushtaq Mohammad Wasim Akram Raza Hasan Iqbal Qasim Umar Akmal." this was gr8....

Posted by ygkd on (April 13, 2011, 7:31 GMT)

Seamless Pakistanis - Waqar Younis Khan Mohammad Shahid Saeed Anwar Ali Tahir Saqlain Mushtaq Mohammad Hafeez Shahid Kabir Khan Mohammad Asif Iqbal Qasim Umar Gul Mohammad Farooq Hamid. posted by my son.

Posted by rosbif on (April 13, 2011, 7:27 GMT)

To continue the seamless Pakistani which you left at 11 names, Akmal Hayat Mohammed Arshad Ali Mudassar Mushtaq Sohail...this could go on forever, I suspect.

Posted by Umair_umair on (April 13, 2011, 7:10 GMT)

Definitely Agree with "The best of the rest"; thats the only way to support great payers from associate teams, untill those teams get a chance to qualify. Its also a reat idea to retain these players, so that they don't need to move to other countries to pursue their careers.

"seamless Pakistanis", is an intersting one. thought on that for some time myself. You have doen good work though.

I am not from India, so cannot comment well on other two ideas. Innovative though.

Posted by analyseabhishek on (April 13, 2011, 6:56 GMT)

Brilliant writing and a sound understanding of Cricket as well from Mr Tharoor! All his suggestions are worth investigating- especially a Rest of World (RoW) team should demand immediate attention. The Seamless Pakistanis game would surely be entertaining for their fans!

Posted by Emancipator007 on (April 13, 2011, 6:35 GMT)

Good to see the acknowledgement of Tikolo the classiest non-Test player who was in the Greenidge mold and was a sureshot 45 plus average Test batsman. Kanhai at one time was rated the best player of pace bowling in the world. It's really time for a great book to chronicle the life and times of the Indian diaspora spread all over the Caribbean, North America, UK, EU, Africa, Mid-East, Far East and now ANZAC too. And the amazing and vibrant Indian origin crowds that Indian teams draw in all cricket playing nations. Disquieting though that again Pakistan not mentioned in a cricinfo article-why can't its domestic teams too participate in the Duleep Trophy.

Posted by ROLAYH on (April 13, 2011, 6:18 GMT)

How about players like Asif Iqbal and Mohammad brothers who were from India but moved to Pakistan after independence...

Posted by KiwiRocker- on (April 13, 2011, 6:09 GMT)

Great Cric info for sure is getting some creative writers! May I just make a correction that core of this article is flawed. Almost all the names mentioned in the article are either West Indian born, NZ Born or SA born. if their ancestors came from India then so what?

A more interesting article can be about Pakistanis as Imran Tahir, Usman Khawjah, Owais Shah, Rizwan Cheema are not only playing for countries other than Pakistan but were also born in Pakistan. Quality of Indian bowling is so poor that pretty much any average bowlers ends up playing for India.

Posted by DEDKIK on (April 13, 2011, 5:30 GMT)

Probably Shashi Tharoor got into the wrong profession. He would be better as a columnist than a politician.

Posted by sumitfreak on (April 13, 2011, 5:29 GMT)

Even i thought about an All star associate XI. I think it is a great idea. A country like Afghanistan will feel great even if one player plays in the world cup and the team does well.

Posted by ramsharat on (April 13, 2011, 5:08 GMT)

good article... at the moment INDIA'S domestic competition (RANJI TROPHY) is the best...domestic teams from the other countries should also take will help india in a big way...

Posted by Kaze on (April 13, 2011, 5:07 GMT)

How about you try to find athletes of Indian origin to compete at the next Olympics for India so that they can actually win a medal !

Posted by   on (April 13, 2011, 4:22 GMT)

If Tharoor is so concerned with India's domestic cricket, why doesn't he and Pushkar sponser the Kerela Ranji trophy team. they wont bcoz they know that glamour and cheap publicity comes from showing your face during IPL.

Posted by   on (April 13, 2011, 4:21 GMT)

awesome article.....the suggestions if implemented would help not only improve quality of cricket in india but also helps in globalising the game....

Posted by smudgeon on (April 13, 2011, 4:18 GMT)

Great article, by the way - a bit of out-of-the-box thinking is required to shake up cricket a little, unfortunately we're stuck with a conservative, money-driven ICC who are keen to close the door on anyone not already in "the club".

Posted by   on (April 13, 2011, 4:18 GMT)

What is the motive behind this? Who is going to benefit from this? Idea seems to be little weird.

Posted by smudgeon on (April 13, 2011, 4:16 GMT)

I think in the "Internationalising India's Domestic Competition" idea, you've missed a vital benefit to those international players not from the subcontinent - they get more experience playing in subcontinental conditions. It's obvious that a lot of players (bowlers in particular) struggle with subcontinent conditions. For one, Australia might have a chance of developing a decent spinner if they could blood one in the spinniest conditions at a domestic level :) I'm only sort-of joking, but my main point stands - a lot of teams struggle with the conditions in India in particular, so a seasoned domestic performer there suddenly becomes an atttractive potential selection when a test tour to India is coming up. I'd also love to see a Best of the Rest squad playing in a three-way series against any of the full members...Bagai, Tendo and Balaji Rao alone would make it worth watching. Throw in a cameo from Dwayne Leverock, and I'm there!

Posted by tooringtest on (April 13, 2011, 4:12 GMT)

I thought there was already a Cricketing association dedicated for Persons of Indian Origin, and their team even has test status. It is called the Pakistan Cricket Board. :-P

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Shashi TharoorClose
Shashi Tharoor Shashi Tharoor watched his first Test match at age seven and has been hooked ever since. He wanted to play cricket very badly, and that's what he has done, playing cricket very badly in such hotbeds as Singapore and Geneva. He also managed a three-decade career at the United Nations, rising to the rank of Under-Secretary-General, and was India's candidate to succeed Kofi Annan as Secretary-General. After coming a close second in that race, he returned to India and was elected to Parliament by a near-record margin from the Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha constituency. A former Minister of State for External Affairs, Tharoor is the author of 12 books, including Shadows Across the Playing Field: 60 Years of India-Pakistan Cricket (co-authored with Shaharyar Khan). Among his many awards and distinctions, including the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman and a Commonwealth Writers' Prize, he captained the Ministry of External Affairs cricket team in its triumphs over the British High Commission and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry in early 2010.

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