All-Time XI of cricketers who weren't born in countries they played for
Thanks to England, cricket pundits from around the world have adopted an interesting hobby these days – spotting players who are born in one country and playing cricket elsewhere. While this shouldn’t really matter in the gentleman’s game, the word ‘adopt’ itself has become a buzzword, especially in the last couple of decades during which England has almost always had at least one foreign-born player in its side.
Cricketing tales are abound with players who played for two countries; men like Kepler Wessels, Nawab of Pataudi Sr., Gul Mohammad and Billy Murdoch are a few noted names amongst many. While that is a well-known list, there aren’t many in cricketing folklores that talk about cricketers who played for one team but were born in another country.
So, we thought, why not make a team out of all those players who were born in one country and played cricket elsewhere. Mind you, since we tried our best to pick players to fit into an XI, it was heart-breaking to leave some good players – Robin Singh, Robin Smith, Nasser Hussain, Salim Durani, Douglas Jardine, Mike Brearley, Matt Prior, Imran Tahir et al – to make way for players needed to complete the XI in crucial positions.
Interestingly, most of these players were quality batsman, a surprising find, making our job of picking bowlers for the team a little trickier than usual. But, we tried. You could always offer your two cents as cricket has never been short of surprising names and pop-ups.
A Baron, Colin Cowdrey, was a legend, becoming the first cricketer to play 100 Tests. It shows the special talent of a man, when peers say his 7624 runs at an average of 44 with 22 centuries and 38 half-centuries didn’t quite do justice to his talent. With a similar average, Cowdrey, who was born in Bangalore, India, scored close to 43000 First-Class Test runs.
He is one of the several English greats who were born in India and went on to play cricket for their ancestral country, England. To Cowdrey’s credit, he also has 107 first-class tons to go with a whopping 231 half-centuries.