The 2019 World Cup final winning England team had as many as four players who were born in countries other than England. Several players in the history of the game have played for a country different from where they were born. A few have played for two countries as well!
It is not a new template about players migrating from one land to another. There are plenty of reasons for cricketers to try their trade-in another nation. Lucrative deals such as Kolpak, lack of opportunities in their own country, family movements in early life, and some for love as well have drifted to another territory. But there is a group of cricketers who played under-19 cricket for their birth country and senior-level cricket for another.
Here we look at 5 cricketers who played U19 and intl cricket for different teams
1. Imran Tahir
Imran Tahir. (Photo Source: Twitter)
A late bloomer in international cricket, Imran Tahir is known for wily leg-breaks, sharp googlies, and a frenzied celebratory run-up. Tahir was South Africa’s go-to spinner for almost 9 years, but the leggie was actually born in Lahore, Pakistan. He played for Pakistan in 1998 Under-19 World Cup alongside Shoaib Malik and Abdul Razzaq. The leggie took 7 wickets in 6 games including a 4-fer.
In the search for new opportunities in cricket and his love life; his wife, Sumayya, Tahir then moved to South Africa. He got selected in the Protea team as soon as he became eligible. Making ODI debut in 2011 at the age of 31, Tahir took 173 wickets in 107 games at 24.84.
He was South Africa’s lead spinner for three straight ODI world cups where he took a total of 40 wickets at an average of 21.1. Tahir retired from ODI cricket after South Africa’s disappointing campaign in the 2019 World Cup.
2. Colin de Grandhomme
Colin de Grandhomme. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)
The all-rounder duties for the Kiwis are in safe hands of Jimmy Neesham and Colin de Grandhomme. Both finishers carry brute power and are more than decent medium pace bowlers. CDG was born in Harare, Zimbabwe in 1986 and played the 2004 under-19 World Cup with the likes of Brandon Taylor and Sean Williams. He scored runs at an average of 23 in 4 innings before migrating to New Zealand.
His impressive performances in the domestic circuit paved way for his national call-up. Interestingly, CDG made his T20I debut against his home country in 2012. CDG’s strike rate of 107 in ODIs and 146 in T20Is along with his tight economy with the ball makes him an asset for the black caps.
The 33-year-old has now become an all-format player of New Zealand and was a pivotal part in their run to the finals of the 2019 World Cup.
3. Grant Elliott
Grant Elliott. (Photo by MICHAEL BRADLEY/AFP/Getty Images)
New Zealand has always had a surplus of quality all-rounders; one of them in recent years was Grant Elliott. Yes, the man who knocked his own birth country out of the World Cup semi-final 2015. Elliott was born in Johannesburg in 1979 and moved to Wellington in 2001. Elliot was part of South Africa under-19 team in 1998 world cup. He scored 130 runs in 5 innings at an average of 32.5.
Elliott was in and out of the New Zealand side because of the presence of experienced players like Jacob Oram and Scott Styris. He played some match-winning cameos throughout his career, but none more significant than the one on a gripping night in Auckland. Elliot’s winning six en route of an 84 run inning in the semi-final propelled the world in a whirl of emotions.
4. Tim Murtagh
Tim Murtagh. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Before anyone could decipher Murtagh’s lengths, he demolished a competent English batting line-up with a 5-fer inside a single session. Born in London, Murtagh played the 2000 Under-19 World Cup for England where he took 9 wickets in 5 matches at an average of 17!
Murtagh had fabulous domestic seasons in 2008 where he scalped over 100 wickets but was still sidelined by the selectors. Denial of an international break and by considerations of his Middlesex teammate Ed Joyce, Murtagh made the move to Ireland.
His move to Ireland benefitted both; himself and Ireland cricket. He made his ODI and T20I debut in 2012. The 38-year-old has 74 wickets in 58 matches including a five-fer against Zimbabwe earlier this year. Timothy James Murtagh is the wine that keeps getting better with age.
5. Craig Kieswetter
Craig Kieswetter. (Photo by Bob Thomas/Popperfoto via Getty Images/Getty Images)
One of many South-African origin players to represent England at international level; Craig Kieswetter was an attacking wicketkeeper-batsman. Born in Jo’burg, Kieswetter played the 2006 Under-19 World Cup for the Proteas. Kieswetter amassed 123 runs in 5 innings at an average of 30.
Kieswetter moved to England in search of opportunities at the age of 18 and four years later made his international debut as an opener. He scored his maiden ton in his third ODI innings against Bangladesh. He was the chief architect in England’s T20I World Cup triumph in 2010. He accumulated 222 runs at an average of 31.71 with a strike rate of 117.
Kieswetter suffered an unfortunate eye injury as a short ball struck him while playing county for Somerset in 2014. He could never completely recover from that physically and mentally and therefore a year later he announced retirement from cricket.
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