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South Africans in the England cricket team: Good business sense?

Recruiting high-calibre employees from overseas is not an uncommon practice when it comes to business. But when it comes to cricket and national pride comes into play, the situation is a little different.
 England's Kevin Pietersen slated the SA selection polic..
 
 
Recruiting high-calibre employees from overseas is not an uncommon practice when it comes to business.

But when it comes to cricket and national pride comes into play, the situation is a little different.

England however seem to have a preference for calling-up South African-born players. Although yet to feature, seam bowler Jade Dernbach, who was born in Johannesburg, is the latest on an increasingly long list of players born in South Africa to make the England squad.

"I don't owe South Africa anything"

The 24-year-old has told the English media that he feels no sense of loyalty to the country he lived in until the age of 14.

“I only started my cricket career in England as I didn’t play much in South Africa. I was more of a rugby player back then,” said Dernbach.

“South Africa isn’t my home at all and I don’t owe it anything. I was just born there, and did a bit of schooling, but my whole cricket career has been based in the UK, and that’s my home.

“I want to give everything I can for England as it’s the country I love and the country that’s given me everything I have now.”


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England’s current cricket squad at the ICC Cricket World Cup included former captain Kevin Pietersen, from Pietermaritzburg, who had to fly home early due to injury, Jonathan Trott, from Cape Town and Craig Kieswetter, Matt Prior and captain Andrew Strauss – all born in Johannesburg.

An old tradition?

However, this trend of South Africans representing England is not new. Way back in 1968, all-rounder Basil d’Oliveira made his debut for England after escaping the apartheid regime in his native country.

In 1972, Queenstown’s Tony Greig adorned the three lions and went on to captain the English side, by virtue of his Scottish father. His brother, Ian, also made two test appearances for England.

Allan Lamb, born in Langebaanweg to British parents, is another South African-born batsman to become an England legend.

Why England?

The reasons for these players switching allegiance are different in each case. Pietersen, whose mother is English, made the move after slating South Africa’s racial quota selection policy for apparently hindering his progress in the country.

He stated in his autobiography that, “It created an artificial team and that will never do anything to encourage the racial integration of cricket in South Africa.”

Others travelled to England to forge international careers, denied the chance of doing so with South Africa due to their exclusion from international cricket during apartheid.

Some, such as Strauss and Prior simply became British citizens through moving to the country during childhood, just like Dernbach.

South Africa are the continent’s only nation left in the ICC Cricket World Cup and are currently trying to overcome New Zealand to make it into the semi-finals of the tournament – can they finally shake off the ‘chokers’ tag?

Meanwhile, Durban, Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth are competing to be South Africa’s official bid city for the 2020 Olympics, but who will win?

 


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