October 28, 2013

One of us against us

A selection of people who did well in international cricket against the country in which they were born

Imran Tahir
The man who inspired this list, the bouncy legspinner Imran Tahir took 5 for 32 as his adopted country, South Africa, rolled his native Pakistan for 99 in the first innings of the second Test in Dubai last week. It was a far cry from his previous Test, when he was carted all around the Adelaide Oval last November for eye-watering match figures of 37-1-260-0.

Charles Bannerman
The first runs in the first-ever Test - and later the first century too - came from the bat of 25-year-old Bannerman, for Australia against England in Melbourne in March 1877. But Bannerman, who took his score to 165 before retiring hurt, was actually born in England - in Woolwich in south-east London in 1851. His parents emigrated to Sydney two years later.

Eoin Morgan
The inventive Morgan scored his first one-day international century for Ireland (after a near-miss on his debut, when he was run out for 99). But there were a few embarrassed smiles in September 2013 when, by now captaining England against Ireland in Dublin - the city of his birth - Morgan rescued his adopted country from the potential banana-skin of 48 for 4, scoring 124 not out and sharing a record fifth-wicket partnership with Ravi Bopara.

Gubby Allen
Allen was very much a man of Lord's, often referred to as the eminence grise of English cricket. He played for Eton, Cambridge, Middlesex ... and was such a member of the Establishment that his house backed on to Lord's, and he had his own key to the ground. But Allen was actually born in Sydney, where he led England to victory in the second Test of the 1936-37 Ashes series. That put England 2-0 up - but the opposition had a chap called Bradman in their midst, and scores of 270, 212 and 169 from him enabled Australia, uniquely, to come from two-down to take the series 3-2.

Kevin Pietersen
Pietersen really announced himself as an international cricketer early in 2005 when, after a low-key introduction in Zimbabwe, he was selected for England's one-day series in South Africa, which KP had left under something of a cloud, muttering about the quota system. The crowd gave him the bird, once standing en masse and turning away from him... but Pietersen didn't seem to care, thrashing superb hundreds in the second, fifth and seventh matches, the middle one coming up in only 69 balls. He has now made three memorable Test centuries against them, too.

Lisa Sthalekar
Australia's long-serving allrounder, Sthalekar was actually born in Pune, and produced her highest score in 125 one-day internationals - an innings of 104 not out in Sydney in November 2008 - against India. "Shaker" also scored 55 as Australia beat India in the 2005 World Cup final in Centurion.

Andy Flower
The man who's now England's coach was such a pillar of Zimbabwe cricket that it's easy to forget he was actually born over the border in South Africa (unlike brother Grant, who was born in Harare). And in Harare in September 2001 the older Flower seemed to be playing the bullying neighbours on his own: he followed 142 with an epic 199 not out in the second innings.

Courtney Browne
The only West Indian Test cricketer born in England, wicketkeeper Courtney Browne - who first saw the light of day just round the corner in Lambeth - was one of the late-night late-order batting heroes as West Indies ended a long fallow period with victory over England in the dark in the 2004 Champions Trophy final at The Oval.

Pakistan 1952-53
All Pakistan's players in their second-ever Test, against India in Lucknow in October 1952, were perforce all born in what was then India, as Pakistan only came into existence five years before the match. They had lost their first Test by an innings, but bounced back spectacularly to do the same to a shocked Indian side. Fazal Mahmood, who nearly toured Australia with India in 1947-48, took 12 for 94 in the match. AH Kardar, Pakistan's captain, had played for India, in England in 1946.

Boyd Rankin
The lanky Londonderry-born fast bowler Boyd Rankin took 43 wickets in 37 one-day internationals for Ireland. But his best bowling figures to date came in his first match for England, in September 2013... against Ireland in Dublin, in the same match in which England's other Irishman, Eoin Morgan, scored a century (see above).

Devon Malcolm
Short-sighted but scarily fast, Devon Malcolm is best remembered for a stunning burst of 9 for 57 for England against South Africa at The Oval in 1994, after being clonked on the head while batting. But early in 1990 Malcolm, who was born in Jamaica, took 10 for 137 in a match against West Indies in Port-of-Spain, which England would probably have won but for bad light. Gladstone Small, born in Barbados, took three wickets in that match too.

Steven Lynch is the editor of the Wisden Guide to International Cricket 2013.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on November 3, 2013, 6:24 GMT

    Yes Nasser Hussain wan indeed born in Chennai where his father and uncle were more than ordinary cricketers having played for their state.

    In general, most of the people mentioned did not themselves migrate but were second or earlier generation emigrants.

    Of ther lot only Imran Tahir and KP probably personally migrated. I don't count Eoin Morgan and Boyd Rankin because there is no citizenship involved.


  • Stephen on October 31, 2013, 15:08 GMT

    Andy Caddick took 47 wickets in 9 tests against NZ at 20.48 .

  • Prasanna Gopal on October 30, 2013, 8:12 GMT

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't Chanderpaul born in chennai as well? Other contenders would be Hashim Amla, Monty Panesar against India, Robin Singh against WI, though the stats may not be flattering.

  • Samuel on October 29, 2013, 10:26 GMT

    Didn't Nasser Hussain score buckets against India? He was born in Chennai. Andrew Strauss too, had a stellar series in South Africa in 2004/5, having been born in Johannesburg.

  • Dummy4 on October 29, 2013, 10:06 GMT

    Was I the only one who assumed this would just be a who's who of English cricket over the last 25 years?

  • Robin on October 29, 2013, 2:13 GMT

    How about ENG tour of WI in the early 90's with a 4 prong pace attack, all of West Indian origin. Devon Malcom/Jamaica, Galdstone Small/Barbados. Phil DeFretus/Dominica, Chris lewis/Guyana.

  • Dummy4 on October 28, 2013, 23:49 GMT

    WHY is there no mention of the Chennai-born ex-England captain who scored 824 runs in 10 tests against India at an average of 54, including 4 centuries?!

  • David on October 28, 2013, 22:01 GMT

    @Asad R Kidwai, that's one of the differences between Indian English and Anglo English.

    I'm always amused when I read on cricinfo commentary that the batsmen lofted the ball into the deep and "just about cleared the fielder." In Australia and England, "just about" means "almost, but not quite", in other words, the batsman was caught. In India (and presumably Pak & SL as well), it means the batsman escaped. We'd say that the batsman "just cleared the fielder."

    Likewise, in our version of English, a "near-miss" means "a miss, but by the smallest possible margin" (imagine an archer getting his arrow "near" the bullseye, but not quite there - a "near" miss); in yours it means "nearly a miss".

    It's a bit like Oscar Wilde's famous joke: "America and England - two great nations separated by a common language!"

    In this case, just exchange "India" for "America".

    Hope that clears it up for you!

  • Srinivas on October 28, 2013, 22:00 GMT

    @Paul Rone-Clarke, Nationality will not be the same as land of birth if you change your Nationality by accepting some other country's citizenship. You were born a Belgian on day one. Simple as that. It's a different issue that you have lot of attachment for England and so never felt love for your Motherland Belgium.

    And those other players you were mentioning eg. Strauss, were not born in British Colony (viz Union of South Africa). They were born in Republic of South Africa which came into existence in 1961. Strauss was born in 1977 in Republic of South Africa. Get your facts straight before you troll.

  • Kabir on October 28, 2013, 21:47 GMT

    This is interesting trivia but that is all I take it as ... interesting trivia. This is not military service, it isn't taking a political or civil office ... it is just a game. I don't particularly care too much whether someone is true national in order to play for that team. If the requisite boards have deemed that player to be eligible then it is all good in my book. Lets face it how many times have you heard of a bad player's nationality come into question? It seems to always be an asterisk that we insist on adding to good players.