The 15-member England squad for the five one-dayers here has as many as five players born in South Africa and two of Indian origin.
Medium-pacers Jade Dernbach and his Surrey teammate Stuart Meaker, who replaced James Anderson, wicketkeeper and opening batsman Craig Kieswetter, who is currently playing the Champions League T20 for Somerset in Bangalore, and of course the experienced duo of Kevin Pietersen and Jonathan Trott were all born in South Africa. Ravi Bopara and left-arm spinner Samit Patel have roots in India.
There is more. England Test skipper Andrew Strauss was born in Johannesburg and came to England at the age of six. England’s Test wicketkeeper Matt Prior, too, was born in South Africa and moved to England at the age of 11 and missing out on this India tour due to injury, Eoin Morgan, is Irish.
The phenomenon is not new to England cricket but with the ‘Island Nation’ fast becoming more and more multi-cultural, this could be a trend. The popularity of football and rugby too could influence this with sons of the soil picking up these games early.
England team’s media manager James Avery had an insight. “It’s not about rugby or football. England is fast becoming cosmopolitan and people come and settle here. Their children are brought up through the system and become cricketers,” Avery said.
“That is also because of the very strong developmental structure set up by England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB). There are scouts everywhere and parents see a definite path for their children’s future in cricket.”
Easy victory for visitors
In their first warm-up match against a Hyderabad XI led by D Ravi Teja, England did not last 50 overs. It did not matter in the end as the visitors coasted to a 56-run win, Steven Finn taking a hattrick to finish the match in 35.5 overs.
Brief scores: England 219 in 47.2 ovs (Ravi Bopara 73, Anwar Ahmed 3/35) v Hyderabad XI 163 all out in 36.5 ovs (Arjun Yadav 47, Steven Finn 4/28).