A unique XI: Cricketers born in the subcontinent but represented other countries

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14 May 2020 | 04:55 AM
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Pramod Ananth

A unique XI: Cricketers born in the subcontinent but represented other countries

On this day in 1948, Bob Woolmer was born in Kanpur

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Bob Woolmer, born on this day in Kanpur in 1948, tragically passed away in 2007 during the ICC World Cup 2007 in Kingston, Jamaica. On his birth anniversary, we look at a XI of cricketers who were born in the subcontinent but went on to represent other countries at the highest level.

Jeet Raval (NZ): Born in Ahmedabad, Jeet Raval went on to forge a successful cricket career in New Zealand – a country he moved to when he was 16. However, he initially began his career as a medium-pace bowler for Gujarat at the Under-15 and Under-17 stage. He was also India wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel’s schoolmate, with whom he opened the batting in school. He still maintains a healthy relationship with him. 

It was not all easy for Raval to make it to the New Zealand Test team, but since his debut in 2016, he has scored five fifties in his first seven Tests and finally managed to score a ton against Bangladesh after 17 matches. 

Usman Khawaja (AUS): Raval’s opening partner will be Usman Khawaja, who is only one of three Test cricketers to be born in Islamabad, Pakistan.  While Mohammad Akram and the most recent one, Muhammad Musa went on to represent the country of their birth, Khawaja, plied his trade for Australia. Khawaja immigrated to New South Wales, Australia at the age of five and became the first cricketer of Pakistani origin to get the Baggy Green when he made his debut during the 2010-11 Ashes series. Khawaja also is a qualified pilot. 

It is believed that he got his pilot’s license even before he got his driving license. In addition to his 44 Tests, he has also played 40 ODIs and nine T20Is for Australia.

Colin Cowdrey (ENG): One of England’s finest, Colin Cowdrey amassed more than 7,600 runs from 114 Tests for England. In July 1968, he became the first of seven players to have scored a century in their 100th Test. Cowdrey also led England in 27 Tests, out of which he led them to a victory on eight occasions and lost just four times. Cowdrey was born in Ooty in the Southern part of India in 1932, where his father ran a tea plantation. 

Nasser Hussain (ENG): In at four, former England captain, Nasser Hussain never backed down from a challenge during his 14-year international career, in which he played 96 Tests and 88 ODIs. While he never managed to get a stronghold of the 50-over format, Chennai-born Hussain shone much more at the Test level, in which he slammed more than 5,700 runs at 37.18, which included 14 centuries and 34 fifties. 

He led England in 45 Tests in which he recorded 17 wins and 15 losses.

Douglas Jardine (c, ENG): A visionary in a way, Mumbai-born Douglas Jardine was England’s captain who employed bodyline tactics – wherein the bowlers pitched the ball outside leg stump enabling it to rise to hit the batsman’s body, which was deemed physically dangerous. This tactic got the governments of the two nations involved and called for a change in rules wherein in the future, ICC would restrict bowlers to bowl just two bouncers at the batsman and further, only two fielders behind square on the leg-side would be implemented. Jardine has a wonderful record as captain. Among those who have led England in 15 Tests, his win percentage of 60 is the highest and that’s one of the reasons, he will lead this side.

Bob Woolmer (ENG): Cricket was already in Bob Woolmer’s blood as he was born in Kanpur, across the road from Green Park Stadium at Georgina McRobert Memorial Hospital to United Province cricketer Clarence Woolmer in 1948. Woolmer made his Test debut for England in 1975 where he made a steady start, which included a century in his second game against Australia and followed that up with 82 against West Indies. Following a brief decline in form, he slammed 79, 120 and 137 in consecutive innings against Australia in 1977, but could only manage a highest score of 46 in his next seven Tests. His ODI record was nothing to boast about either as he managed just 21 runs from four innings. More than a cricketer, Woolmer is known to be an astounding coach, who was keen to make the best use of technology in every way possible, which is when he tried using an earpiece during the 1999 World Cup to communicate with Hansie Cronje on the field – a move that did not go down well with the ICC. He is also credited with popularizing the reverse sweeps in the 90s and also implemented computer analysis for wicketkeepers by adapting the knowledge of the goalkeepers. 

Sikandar Raza (ZIM): Zimbabwe’s highest ranked allrounder in Tests and ODIs, Sikandar Raza was born in Sialkot, Pakistan in 1986. He moved to Zimbabwe with his family in 2001 and was granted the country’s citizenship in 2011 following his excellent showing in the domestic circuit, where he earned the reputation of being one of the best batsmen.

He made his debut in an ODI in 2013 and since then has gone on to represent Zimbabwe in close to 150 international matches across all three formats. He also developed his off-breaks extremely well and has more than 100 wickets to his name other than scoring over 4,000 runs. 

Dick Young (wk, ENG): Born in Dharwad, 430 kilometres north-west of Bangalore in 1885, Dick Young managed to play just a couple of Tests for England between 1907 and 1908. He was picked mainly for his batting prowess initially ahead of Joe Humphries. However, he could manage just 27 runs from four innings, but at the first-lass level – where he largely played for Cambridge University and Sussex – he accumulated 6,653 runs at 28.80, which included 11 centuries and 38 fifties.

Ish Sodhi (NZ): Born Inderbir Singh Sodhi on October 31, 1992 in Ludhiana in the state of Punjab, India, ‘Ish’ moved to Auckland with his family when he was just four-years-old. He made his debut in the Plunkett Shield for Northern Districts in 2012-13 and within a season, he was seen playing for New Zealand in Tests, making his bow against Bangladesh. 

Since, then, he has gone on to hone his skills as a leg-break bowler in limited-overs as well and is one of the first names on the sheet these days in the format. Sodhi is also a handy batsman down the order, having slammed three Test fifties already.

Imran Tahir (SA): One of the best spinners in the world today, Imran Tahir played the 1998 Under-19 World Cup with Pakistan alongside future international cricketers like Shoaib Malik, Saeed Anwar, Abdul Razzaq etc… While they went on to represent Pakistan at the highest level, Tahir did play international cricket, but did so for South Africa. 

Tahir made his first-class debut for Lahore in the same match as Saeed Ajmal, who played for Faisalabad. He initially moved to South Africa to be with his future wife Sumayya, who he met during the 1998 Under-19 World Cup. He made his debut for South Africa in the 2011 World Cup and has picked up 293 wickets from 165 international matches for them.

Robin Jackman (ENG): And finally, making the XI, is England fast bowler Robin Jackman, who was born in Shimla in 1945 and got his chance to play Tests for England at the age of 35 when Bob Willis broke down during England’s tour of West Indies in 1981. However, he had already played a few ODIs for England before that. Jackman was a prolific wicket-taker at first-lass level, but managed to play just four Tests and 15 ODIs for his country.  He picked up 1,209 first-class wickets for Surrey and was also part of the championship winning side in 1971. 

CoachDav Whatmore: Born in Colombo, Dav Whatmore played seven Tests and an ODI for Australia, but made his name as one of the best coaches going around after retiring as a player in 1989-89. He was the coach of the country of his birth Sri Lanka when they won their maiden World Cup title in 1996 and also went on to be the head coach of international teams like Pakistan, Zimbabwe and currently, Singapore.

Another feather in his cap was the 2008 Under-19 World Cup success he tasted, when India won the title and Whatmore did so as a coach. He has also held the post of a Director of the NCA, had a stint with KKR in the IPL and also coached the Kerala Ranji team

Final XI (Birth city): Jeet Raval (Ahmedabad), Usman Khawaja (Islamabad), Colin Cowdrey (Ooty), Nasser Hussain (Chennai), Jardine (c) (Mumbai), Bob Woolmer (Kanpur), Sikandar Raza (Sialkot), Dick Young (wk) (Dharwad), Ish Sodhi (Ludhiana), Imran Tahir (Lahore), Robin Jackman (Shimla)

Coach: Dav Whatmore (Colombo)

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