Tanya's Take

Tanya Aldred

Hail Britannia, you dear old multicoloured thing

The England team full of players from other countries? Well, knock us down with a feather

Tanya Aldred

Comments: 20 | Text size: A | A
England players rush to celebrate with Eoin Morgan and Paul Collingwood after the title was won, England v Australia, ICC World Twenty20 final, Barbados, May 16, 2010
Start the car, crank up the pedalo, toss another wildebeest on the braai © AFP
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Players/Officials: Craig Kieswetter | Kevin Pietersen
Series/Tournaments: ICC World Twenty20
Teams: England

Thought the rainbow coalition was squeezed out of the action in the aftermath of the General Election? How wrong you were. Just a few thousand miles across the Atlantic, in the inviting environs of Bridgetown, Barbados, England's mix of South African, Irish, three northerners, two midlanders and a southerner were dispatching those Australians somewhere almost as humiliating. With a hop and a skip and ne'er a glance back, England were World Twenty20 champions by seven wickets, and Australia, reduced to 8 for 3 at one point, were left to head-shake in a pitiful kind of way.

As the first Kieswetter six soared over the boundary on Sunday afternoon, I swore I could hear over the back fence a cry of "Stoke up the braai," and smoke started billowing into the air all around the neighbourhood. Not long afterwards, as Our Kevin was walloping the ball into the crowd with the gusto of a new father who hasn't yet had to change a nappy, there was a run on biltong in the continental grocer's round the corner. Guinness never had it so good, and... oh you get the picture.

Dash those immigrants and their flamboyant strokeplay; now England have had to leave that cosy little club of two, that group never to have won a major one-day competition, and set off into the big wide world. And without any proper mourning period. Sorry, Bangladesh, there was something quite comradely about the two of us pottering around together at the bottom of the table, providing brotherhood and plenty of cheap ammunition for the Australian after-dinner speaker.

(Let's wish Bangladesh their own trophy soon. They've got time on their side - they've played just 221 one-day internationals and 16 Twenty20s. England took 528 ODIs and 32 Twenty20s until they got the hands on that exploding champagne bottle.)

Next time around, Collingwood, or possibly Strauss, will come face to face with a couple of words no English one-day captain has ever had to contend with - realistic expectation. Try rolling them around your mouth - they stick a little in the throat, like a too-large handful of strawberry space dust.

 
 
Dash those immigrants and their flamboyant strokeplay; now England have had to leave that cosy little club of two, that group never to have won a major one-day competition, and set off into the big wide world
 

At least in the days of those other adopted Englishmen, Phil Edmonds, Allan Lamb, Robin and Chris Smith, we couldn't be accused of using immigration to our advantage - we won no more tournaments than we had done previously, despite the insouciance that now came with the British passport.

Pull on your grungy trousers and flannel shirt and drift aimlessly back in time to the 1992 World Cup final in Melbourne, when England's bowling attack was as many-hued as the top five in Bridgetown. Derek Pringle (born in Nairobi, Kenya), Chris Lewis (Georgetown, Guyana) and Philip DeFreitas (Scotts Head, Dominica) joined up with Ian Botham and Richard Illingworth, with Dermot Reeve (who played for Hong Kong in the 1982 ICC Trophy) trundling in as sixth bowler. Slot in Lamb and Graeme Hick, and suddenly if everything has changed, everything has remained the same. And we lost, of course.

Eighteen years on, England remains a temptation for Southern Africans in particular, who tire of the good weather, amazing wildlife, beautiful winelands, gorgeous weather and lack of self-doubt in their own land.

Difficult as it may be to stomach when England's, and the tournament's, most valuable player and the Man of the Match in the final, still has more than a whiff of the veldt about him in the post-match interviews, 'twas ever thus.

Unless, of course, the Tory clampdown on immigration turns out to be tougher than we think. Our Kevin and our Craig could soon be relics of a golden age of a liquorice allsorts England team. With KP as Bertie, of course.

RSS FeedTanya Aldred lives in Manchester. She writes occasionally for the Guardian

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Comments: 20 
Posted by Christy1268 on (May 22, 2010, 6:05 GMT)

Now that the Trophy has been won, England is trying to be "holier -than-thou" and is looking for reasons to disown its own - c mon England. you won it hard and fair. Hence perish those self-doubts and forget immigration and birth places. If at all any blame is due, it shud be to those who left the land 1/2 centuries ago to settle down in far-away places to spread their skills. If England reaps those benefits today, it cannot be held guilty for the same.

Posted by vichan on (May 22, 2010, 0:02 GMT)

This is all getting very repetitive and, quite frankly, boring. England won, others are jealous of their success...just get over it.

Posted by 0NBH on (May 21, 2010, 21:58 GMT)

jake2010 - how did the South Africa 1sts get on?

Posted by CrickSam on (May 21, 2010, 20:49 GMT)

Actually there were three midlanders in the team not two (Wright, Swann and Broad). Well Wright is a midlander in the same way that Kieswetter and Pietersen are South African.

Posted by Mushtanda on (May 21, 2010, 19:59 GMT)

brianKC- seems you don't get it. Wessels played for Aus because South Africa were a political, cultural, and sporting pariah those days. There was no SAf team during the apartheid era- get it?

Posted by Cymru_Am_Byth on (May 21, 2010, 19:45 GMT)

Can I just say, as a proud Welshman & fervent supporter of English cricket, how wonderful it is to see/hear all this criticism? No-one complained when we lost - I wonder why that was? English cricket has always been a broad church, with captains such as our own Tony Lewis (born in Swansea), Colin Cowdrey (Bangalore) and Ted Dexter (Milan). Congratulations to the winning squad - we're proud to have you represent us so well.

Posted by cric_follower on (May 21, 2010, 19:34 GMT)

Inspite of beautiful SA the UK is still the land of opportunity, after US, for most people in the world. On top UK's best atlhletic talent prefers soccer over cricket, which leaves space for the more talented South Africans to make their mark. Nothing wrong in that. UK is a country which welcomes immigrants more than other nations and has the right to reap the benefits. The situation is good for cricket. Nobody wants one-sided encounters. I would recommend that every other cricketiing nation should award citizenship to deserving players from other countries. India and Australia have enough talent to distribute. Let it flow and improve the quality of cricket.

Posted by jake2010 on (May 21, 2010, 18:22 GMT)

Joke that has been going around in SA since England toured SA last year: ''At which hotel do the English players stay whilst in SA on tour - no boet, they are not staying over in a hotel, they stay at their parents'.'' You go South Africa B

Posted by Bilal_S on (May 21, 2010, 14:13 GMT)

"Eighteen years on, England remains a temptation for Southern Africans in particular, who tire of the good weather, amazing wildlife, beautiful winelands, gorgeous weather and lack of self-doubt in their own land."

Very funny article

Posted by briankc on (May 21, 2010, 13:04 GMT)

Les77- "SWAPPING ones country???..... should never be allowed to happen.. "

Really - i will give you two words "Kepler" and "Wessels", who not only changed his country but also changed it back again - any complaining then? i think not

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Tanya fell in love with cricket during England's Ashes-winning summer of 1985. She went on to be features editor at Wisden Cricket Monthly and a regular-ish contributor to the Guardian. She once hit a six over a sea wall on the Isle of Wight.

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Tanya Aldred Tanya fell in love with cricket during England's Ashes-winning summer of 1985. She went on to be features editor at Wisden Cricket Monthly and a regular-ish contributor to the Guardian. She once hit a six over a sea wall on the Isle of Wight.
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