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July 18th 2018

By Chris Morrison

Every time a national team wins a major trophy, out come the social justice warriors claiming that “diversity” played a major part in the success.

England’s brilliant one-day cricket side might be a fashionable “multi-cultural” mix – but English cricket teams have often been multi-cultural going right back to Victorian times when Ranjitsinhji, the Maharaja Jam Saheb of Nawanagar, batted in the English cause.

Typical of the reaction to the English win was the writer Matthew Syed who wrote:

“Diversity. That is the word that jumps out when looking at England’s World Cup winning team”.

“Diversity” doesn’t seem to get such a big hand when the English cricket team loses – a not uncommon event. The ethnic mix of the team is rarely discussed when drink is being taken, pedalos are peddled out of hours and the commentary tends towards the critical as the losses pile up.

But happy days. Now all is forgiven as AP circulated an article speaking of a team rich in talent and cultural diversity

“…at a time when the country is facing socio political challenges as it tries to leave the European Union”.

Treble dog whistles all round!

But the diversity noted by Syed and many others can be seen throughout English cricketing history and reflects talent available across the British Empire and latterly the Commonwealth. Of course, few countries play the game at the very highest level so the “diversity” usually occurs within this select group.

The only difference now is that £££ money – tons of it – is available to the richer test nations to attract talent from across the world. England’s new fast bowling star Jofra Archer chose to leave the country of his birth Barbados to play English cricket. Archer, an exceptional prospect, was fast-tracked into the England team. But spare a thought for the once-great West Indian team who finished second to bottom in the world cup qualifying table just above Afghanistan.

In the past cricketers moved around with some freedom providing they qualified under passport or naturalisation laws. Eoin Morgan, the victorious English captain, played for Ireland for three years before seeking fame and fortune in England. His contemporary Boyd Ranking went one better playing for Ireland, picked up a couple of Tests for England (bowling average 53.25, batting average 9) and then returning to his former home. It is thought that 29 cricketers have represented two different teams in international cricket.

Ranking didn’t make it in the English team and another who struggled was Zimbabwean Graeme Hick, although admittedly much higher feats were expected of this talented batsman. Hick spent years qualifying for England –  time he spent profitably at Worcestershire flogging county carthorses to the boundary. When the international test call came, he often failed to replicate his lower division form.

From India, Ranji’s exploits were followed by the 8th Nawab of Pataudi. He played three times for England in the 1930s and shared his talents a similar number of times as captain of the Indian team. In more recent time Nasser Hussein led England with some distinction from 1999-2003. Born of an English mother, Nasser was descended on his father’s side from the Nawab Wallajab of Karnatic – a touch of the grand manner sometimes being noted by his colleagues both on and off the cricket field.

Jofra Archer was born of an English father of Caribbean decent and raised in Barbados. Needless to say, he is not the first person of West Indian heritage to play for England. In fact, where to start? From Barbados alone, Archer is preceded by Roland Butcher, Gladstone Small and Chris Jordan. Nearby in Jamaica came Norman Cowans and Devon Malcolm.

The SJWs get all misty-eyed about “diversity” in elite sports teams, but these operations are not primarily about re-ordering society to suit the wishes of liberal globalists.  Elite club sides in many popular sports have long stopped trading on a local identity. They are as diverse as you could wish – few barriers stand in the way of fame, glory and hard cash.

Cricketers playing for top international sides like England are well paid these days, far better than players in earlier eras. The BBC talks trade protection nonsense about “Crown Jewels”, but it is for the birds. The Sky broadcasting money has poured millions into cricket – it might not have done a lot for cricket in the schools but it has transformed the game at the top level.

It is even easier to switch playing allegiances these days so promising cricketers finding themselves based in unpromising locations need little encouragement to move. Hence the “diversity” virtue signalling heard in parts of England is not necessarily shared by Barbadians in the Archer case.

West Indian cricket is in a poor state both on and off the field. In past years the production line of wonderful fast bowlers would have entered service under local colours. Alas, no longer.

Still, West Indies loss is England’s gain. Congratulations for a historic world cup win by a group of sensational players – as diverse a bunch as they have often been in the past!