Twice Upon a Time

ICC events have witnessed players representing two countries in two different eras

Muhammad Suhayb June 16, 2024
Prolific Irish cricketer Eoin Morgan led England to historic 2019 World Cup title win. PHOTO: AFP


Indeed, cricket has a rich history of players switching national allegiances, often due to changes in residency, opportunities, or personal reasons. This phenomenon creates fascinating scenarios where players represent different countries, sometimes even in World Cups. We have witnessed pairs of fathers and sons representing the same or different teams during the ICC events, but rarely do we see players, representing two countries in two different eras. Many players have shifted loyalties over the years; an entire dream team of such players can be created on paper.

The dream team would consist of formidable openers, a dependable middle order and excellent pace and spin attack. The set of openers would include Corey Anderson, a former hard-hitting batsman from New Zealand accompany Kepler Wessels, the first captain of South Africa after redemption. Corey, who had played in two T20 and one 50-over World Cup for New Zealand, would be playing for the USA this time around. The other opener, Kepler Wessels had represented Australia in the 1983 edition, and captained the South African side after its readmission in 1992.

Ed Boyce could be a perfect candidate as the reserve opener; he is the only player to have played for two different countries in successive World Cups. Ironically, he made his ODI debut for England, against his home country Ireland in 2006, where his younger brother Dom was playing for Ireland.

After England failed to reach the semis in the 2007 World Cup, Ed switched back to Ireland, just in time for the next tournament in 2011.

He got a special dispensation from the International Cricket Council (ICC) to play for his home side. In the England-Ireland match of the World Cup 2007, Joyce was dismissed for one run by 6 feet 8-inch-tall quickie Boyd Rankin. Rankin and Morgan, (yes Dublin-born Eoin Morgan led England to their only World Cup trophy in 2019) were representing Ireland at that time.

Rankin got a chance to play for England but after missing the World Cup 2015 squad, returned to his native Ireland. One can find Harare-born Garry Balance in the squad with Morgan and Rankin. Balance had earlier represented Zimbabwe in the U-19 World Cup in 2006. He later moved to Zimbabwe after his luck ran out for England senior team.

The middle order of this dream team could easily be completed with the addition of Luke Ronchi and Mark Chapman. Ronchi had the rare distinction of representing both New Zealand, his country of birth, and Australia (not in a World Cup though), but since a quality wicket-keeper is needed, he can enjoy the special ‘dispensation’ Joyce enjoyed for qualifying purposes. Born to a Hong Kongese mother and a New Zealander father, Mark Chapman made both his parents proud. He represented the Hong Kong under-19 team at the 2010 Under-19 World Cup, aged 15, and later made it to the New Zealand international squad.

Chapman would be representing the Black Caps this time in the World Cup being played in the USA/West Indies. Another player who is representing a country based on ancestry is famous in the Pakistan Super League circuit; David Wiese. Wiese had represented South Africa in the T20 World Cup in 2016, but since he was not the perfect replacement needed for Jacques Kallis, he was dropped. As his father was born in Namibia, Wiese got the direct link to play for the team he belonged to.

A useful all-rounder, Wiese could help form a fast-bowling bowling trio with Rankin and Dirk Nannes; who despite representing Netherlands in the 2009 ICC World Twenty20, went on to play for Australia. Dutch parents were his link for success.

A powerful spin-bowling attack is any captain’s dream. Roelof van der Merwe, Pakistan-born Imran Tahir and the unlucky John Traicos could be the answer to Morgan’s problems.

Van der Merwe played in the 2004 Under-19 World Cup for South Africa. Being a tidy left-arm spinner and a clean hitter, he played for Netherlands in the T20 World Cup 2022. Currently, he would be representing The Netherlands in the event. Many still remember him for the stunning high catch off he took in the 2022 event that helped knocking his old team, South Africa, out of the tournament.

Leg spinner Imran Tahir represented Pakistan in 1998 Under-19 World Cup, before moving to play for South Africa. Pakistan-born spin wizard made his debut at the age of 32 for South Africa, and became one of the best leg-spinners in limited overs international.



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