The English cricket team and it’s ‘imported’ players

Published: January 18, 2014

After a very long time, the English team had finally reached perfection and it was claimed that they could beat any team at any venue – which they actually did for a couple of years, before all hell broke loose in the form of the 'Ashes'. PHOTO: REUTERS

England, after ruling the Ashes series over the last few years, was outclassed by Australia by a huge margin of 5-0 and lost its beloved trophy to the victors.

After a very long time, the English team had finally reached perfection and it was claimed that they could beat any team at any venue – which they actually did for a couple of years – before all hell broke loose in the form of the Ashes (pun intended). 

The Australian cricket team celebrate their victory in the Ashes series 2014. Photo: AFP

England proudly stood at its pinnacle where the team had at least three to four substitute players for every position – be it bowling, batting or even wicket-keeping.

However, the question is, did this copious amount of talent actually belong to the English soil?

The answer is a big ‘No’.

England has become a sight similar to the World XI team, where the players belong to all parts of the world.

One such player, who has served England immensely and given his 100% to the team, is Eoin Morgan – Irish by origin. He made his debut from Ireland but after seeing the player’s impressive performance, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) decided to bring him under the English flag.

Eoin Morgan. Photo: Reuters

Morgan acts as the captain of the English T20 squad in the absence of Stuart Broad and there are fair chances of him being the next skipper of both the limited-overs games. So it is safe to assume that the Irish player is benefitting England’s cricket tremendously.

They also picked up the Irish pacer Boyd Rankin, who played with Morgan.

Boyd Rankin. Photo: Reuters

In addition, the star batsman from the English side – Kevin Pieterson – is not originally from England either. Peterson is actually a South African by birth but he never played cricket for the Proteas. However, he has represented his native district of Natal, where he was born.

Kevin Pietersen. Photo: Reuters

Another South African who anchors the English batting line-up is Jonathan Trott. He has been a key player in the English batting line-up for about three to four years now and has risen to the occasion whenever his team needs him.

Jonathan Trott. Photo: Reuters

Matt Prior is also from the same league. He is responsible for a number of wins for England – especially in the Ashes – but he hails from Johannesburg.

Matt Prior. Photo: Reuters

Although the urn returned to Australia in the current Ashes series and the English side performed miserably, I do not mean to claim that players with different nationalities do not give their best for the team that they play for. In fact, as far as I am concerned, the only positive point that England had in the series was Ben Stokes – who is also not English by birth and belongs to another Aussie rival country – New Zealand.

Like Morgan, Ben also seems to be a key candidate for the future of the English team.

Ben Stokes. Photo: Reuters

Indeed, there are many cricketers currently playing for England who do not have an English background – Monty Panesar, Sajid Mahmood and others. It seems like England is actually facing a dearth of native players.

Monty Panesar. Photo: Reuters


Sajid Mahmood. Photo: Reuters

These are only a few non-English players who have brought glory to England’s cricket team in recent years. Hence, although England’s team is full of extraordinary talent, very little of it hails from the English soil itself. If you take away players like Eion Morgan, Kevin Peterson or Jonathan Trott, the English people will definitely lose the flair that they currently have.

For a nation that is the pioneer of this wonderful sport, this situation can become alarming.

Is the England soil not fertile enough anymore to produce quality cricketers?


Arslan Sheikh

An undergraduate student who is a resident of Karachi. He loves cricket and writing.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Nauman Ul Haq

    I don’t see anything wrong with this. A lot of people move to England to find work and cricket is similar to that.Recommend

  • Guest

    What do you intend on achieving with this article? That foreign-born players are much more dedicated to national success than ones born to play for the national team?

    If that’s the case, then please start importing players of foreign birth into Pakistan’s national team. Frankly, I’d put my money for England, South Africa, and New Zealand, than watch it go to waste on Pakistan.

    Furthermore, if there are Pakistani players in these teams, its because Pakistan itself is a pathetic waste of cricketing expertise. The people deserve losses and failure, much the same way PCB deserves to keep this status quo runnning. Because honestly, Pakistanis are a lot which performs better outside Pakistan.

    Who wouldn’t, when your national identity is being represented by such irrelevant articles such as these. What are you using for comparison? What is the hypothesis? What is the evidence? These are the substandard blogs involved in the degradation of Pakistan’s institutions.

    Go England, all the way – at least they perform better than the green-and-white.Recommend

  • Ian

    England is a good mix of people now – hard to say who or what is a native english.Recommend

  • Kamil Raheem

    Arslan, I’m not sure what you mean by Monty and Sajid not being of “English background” or from “English soil”? Both of them were born in England, Monty in Luton and Sajid in Bolton. The UK is a multicultural and multiethnic country. Please do not espouse your bigoted views on the internet with your belief that only “white English players” are truly of English background or products of English soil.Recommend

  • MA

    they aren’t imported players. they are all British citizens. since it looks like you’ve not been to UK you won’t understand the demographics of the country. Them being part of the cricket team is a result of having equal rights for all regardless of their race and religion i.e. merit, which, unfortunately is absent in our own cricket team.Recommend

  • bargal20

    Your article is offensive and bigoted for suggesting that Monty Penesar and Sajid Mahmood, who were both born and raised in England, are somehow not English. You should be ashamed of yourself.Recommend

  • Abdul Ahad Jawaid

    You must focus on the current squad instead of counting the players who played for England in the past. You missed the name of Gary Ballance here and listed Sajid Mahmood who played in 2009 for the last time.Recommend

  • Arslan Sheikh

    I do not find anything wrong in including players with different background in the team. I just have mentioned English giants who are not actually English and has brought glory to england cricket. I have not criticise ECB for that. I have only discussed that English cricket is at the top of their game because of some non English cricketers. English one if soil are not great not great enough. That was my point.

    Your feedback is always welcome and appreciated and I am thankful for thatRecommend

  • Arslan Sheikh

    I meant sons of soil rather than one of soilRecommend

  • Arslan Sheikh

    I too do not see anything wrong in importing players and play them for your good. In the article I have not criticised ECB for that. My point is just that English cricket glory is not because of the ‘native English players’. I just tried to discussed the point that native English players are not great enough to bring what English cricket deserves. English sons of soil are not proving to be great enough.

    Your feedback is always welcome and I appreciate it. Thank you for reading the articleRecommend

  • Mike

    I like others that have comments find it funny that you make these broad sweeping comments..You don’t have to be white to be English no matter what pro-white nut jobs might tell you…just like you don’t have to be white to be bigoted or racist.Recommend

  • IAbdussamad

    The comments are more illuminating than the article.Recommend

  • Danyal

    Did you think before writing this up? ‘the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) decided to bring him under the English flag’, ‘they also picked up the Irish pacer Boyd Rankin’, what you imply by writing this, sir, is that the ECB dragged these cricketers out of their native countries and forced them to play in english colours, which is most certainly not true. Players such as Morgan, Rankin, KP, Trott etc came to play in england because of better opportunities there; they came entirely of their own accord, contrary to what you suggest. I urge you, rather, I beg you, to please take down this article before more people undergo the torment I underwent as I read it. Recommend

  • geoff thompson

    English cricket team??? Rubbish more like an international team
    still hopeless anywayRecommend

  • No one

    Well, rightly said Arslan! After reading your article, I actually realized that English cricket is based on more imported players than native English. No doubt that those players are British national but they are not English by background. I think there is nothing wrong in playing non English players and I do not see any criticism by the author in his article. Comments actually astonished me how readers have shown their hatred towards Arslan.

    I am with you Boy, write these interesting pieces I am looking forward to it. Good Work!Recommend

  • Arslan Sheikh

    The point of article was not that English board forced them. It is about native English players. English soil is not fertile to produce cricket greats at the moment.Recommend

  • Arslan Sheikh

    I did not pin point every player. I did not mention Bopara. Ballance is new to the squad and has not created impact that is why did not mention him. Sajid Mehmood was once their Key bowler. Thank you for the feedbackRecommend

  • Stranger

    There are Afghani players that have played first class cricket in Pakistan, but, did not get a chance to play in for Pakistan. There is no doubt that our selection criteria is not neat, but, there is a big aspect that Pakistan have tons of talent that is why they do not to play any foreign player. Same is with India and Sri Lanka. Imran Tahir did not get a chance to play for Pakistan as I personally believe that he is not good enough to play as a leggie with a green cap on his head. Proteas always lack quality spinners that is why they give chance to Tahir. That is what I think the article is all about.Recommend

  • Noman Ansari

    For me, this is a good thing. It shows racial diversity. I am sorry, but I find this blog to be quite racist!Recommend

  • Noman Ansari


  • Noman Ansari

    “Is the England soil not fertile enough anymore to produce quality cricketers?”

    This is just racist. What’s wrong with you buddy?Recommend

  • Danyal

    Oh, oh, I see. Have you ever heard of players like joe root, James taylor, Danny Briggs, Jos butler, Steven Finn, Michael Carberry (and I would love for you to tell me that he is not a ‘native’ Englishman), jade Dernbach, the list goes on and on and on. Are they not ‘products of English soil’? And addressing your point of ‘English soil being fertile’ enough to produce cricket greats, um, how do I put this, cricket greats are few and far between. It is not everyday that Sri Lanka produces a Kumar Sangakarra or a Ricky Ponting comes out of Hobart.Recommend

  • Maria

    What point are you trying to make here? Do you even know what argument you’re trying to present? This comes across as a highly confused and racist piece of writing. My advice to you is to research more on the UK society because then you’ll realize it’s a very diverse society and these players are all British citizens and have actually been selected on merit. Noone cares if they aren’t “native”. Maybe except you.
    P.S. it’s Pietersen, not Peterson.Recommend

  • Amrita Yasin

    The blog reminded me of the ‘Miss America is actually Indian’ fiasco.Recommend

  • Amrita Yasin

    Some of these people moved to England at a tender age; they were raised in England, what else counts as English? By your argument all the white players playing for South Africa are also imported, because they are visibly not native to that region.Recommend

  • Arslan Sheikh

    Is Danny Briggs, Butler, Finn, Carberry or Dernbach responsible for the no. 1 rank that England got a couple of years back? Or even now, It was KP, Trott, Prior and many others who were the base of their glory. There were also players like Cook, Swann, Anderson or Broad behind their success who are actually native English. Morgan seems to be their next skipper, no doubt it is on merit and there is nothing at all wrong in it, it is just that England is out of local talent. You will be happy to know that another 17 years old left arm Irish slow bowler who made debut for Ireland a few years back was picked by England at that time and he will be featured in English team. There is nothing wrong in importing players mate, I have not criticized it either, I have just discussed native English talent. I repeat I have not criticized ECB for that and there is nothing wrong in importing players.

    Your feedback is appreciated.Recommend

  • Arslan Sheikh

    Amrita I am just talking about native English. KP has even represented his regional team of Natal, I am again saying I do not find anything wrong in importing players.Recommend

  • James Clark

    his whole argument is that England aren’t represented in the majority by home grown and developed players. players are either bought into the system after leaving their country of origin during youth/teens or get in on heritage. the systems good but the game isn’t popular with English kids.Recommend

  • James Clark

    his whole argument is that England aren’t represented in the majority by home grown and developed players. players are either bought into the system after leaving their country of origin during youth/teens or get in on heritage. the systems good but the game isn’t popular with English kids.Recommend

  • Arslan Sheikh

    Thank you Sir! Finally someone understood my argument. Thank you so much!Recommend

  • Harry

    By your argumernt if Monty and Mahmood are not English then Ramnaresh Sarwan and Shivnarine Chanderpaul not West Indian? What about Hasim Amla is he not Soutth African. Or in fact are all white SA players not “native” African players.

    Please do not confuse a person’s skin colour or name with nationality.Recommend

  • Aidan Taylor

    The point of the article seems to have eluded you. The number of imported or foreign-by-birth players in the English team is currently rather noticeable and begs the question as to why that is the case. And it’s an interesting question. The Premier League (Football), has plenty of mediocre ‘foreign’ players, who by their sheer numbers increase the difficulty for home-grown players to make the first team. Cricket may be going the same way. And sadly, cricket fans, like their footballing counterparts may not care.Recommend