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Tanya's Take

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
Tanya Aldred
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

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.

Tanya Aldred lives in Manchester. She writes occasionally for the Guardian