Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Is Kieswetter a South African too far?

The news that the South African-born Craig Kieswetter has been called up to the England Lions tour has sparked controversy.

The wicketkeeper-batsman is expected to challenge for a place in the one-day team over the next year and if he succeeds he will join South Africans Kevin Pietersen and Jonathan Trott in the England fold. On top of this captain Andrew Strauss and current wicketkeeper Matt Prior were both born in the country and have a South African parent.

National selector Geoff Miller said: "We have got to get to the stage where we are very careful on that [the number of South Africans in the England team], and we will be."

So should the England team strictly be a preserve for the truly English? Personally, I feel that the team is reflective of the cosmopolitan nature of the country. If someone is qualified to play for England and are good enough, then we shouldn't hesitate in picking them, regardless of their heritage.

It's hardly a new phenomenon. Both Alan Lamb and Robin Smith were South African born players with English parents who represented England during the apartheid ban.

The team of that era also saw the likes of the West Indies' born Chris Lewis, Devon Malcolm, Gladstone Small and Phillip DeFreitas appear, and the former captain Nasser Hussain was born in Madras.

The current concern is that there will be more Afrikaans accents than English in the dressing room, with Kieswetter and Trott having represented South Africa at under-19 level.

English fans might struggle to get behind a fully South African team, but I tend to think that the number of South Africans currently available for England is an anomaly rather than a trend and I can't see anyone in cricket betting otherwise.

Our selectors should just carry on picking the best players available to them, regardless of history or passports.

Meanwhile, the online sports betting markets currently make South Africa the favourites to win the fourth Test.


Anonymous said...

Meanwhile, the online sports betting markets currently make South Africa the favourites to win the fourth Test.

What have the betting markets for this test got to do with Englands future selection policy.

This just doesn't seem to make any sense.

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