Archer’s Eligibility?

IMG_3947

England were missing an all-rounder during the Ashes, somebody who could have made significant contributions with both bat and ball, somebody who has been playing in that region this winter. No not Ben Stokes, Sussex’s Jofra Archer.

I’ve held off writing an article regarding Archer’s eligibility whilst I tried to research and understand it but I don’t so here we go anyway!

Barbados born Archer’s father is English yet he won’t be eligible to represent England until 2022. Of course Kevin Pietersen’s mother was English and he had to live and work in England in order to qualify to play international cricket for his mother’s country. Football is a different sport but the likes of Wilfried Zaha and Alex Iwobi seem to have been able to switch/choose allegiance on a whim. When Jamaica rocked up at the 1998 World Cup in France with a load of Englishmen, had Robbie Earle and Deon Burton etc had to reside and work in the Caribbean for years before pulling on the Reggae Boyz jersey? Did Danny Higginbotham and the rest have to live in Gibraltar before playing for their national football team? Did they already have Gibraltar passports or walk straight in based on their parents or grandparents? Chris Birchall anybody… there are many examples but football is different and seems to have varying criteria.

It really annoys me that players like Ryan Campbell (Australia/Hong Kong) and Luke Ronchi (Australia/New Zealand) have played international cricket for more than one nation. I thoroughly accept though that the world is constantly evolving and the determination of nationality needs to be more fluid and flexible than may have been the case at previous times in history. I doubt Nat Sciver considers herself Japanese and whilst the West Indies may not like it, why shouldn’t Bajan Archer be able to play for England now?

There’s a whole can of worms to be opened here. Mahela Jayawardene is able to play in England as a non-overseas player because of EU laws and the fact that his wife is Danish! My wife’s French, our daughter has two passports so am I correct in saying that she could play football for France immediately but not cricket… though a call-up for a one-year-old is admittedly unlikely either way!

Archer lives and works in England, he’s got an English parent and seems to be under the impression himself that he has ‘English residency’. He’s not classed an overseas player when he’s turning out for Sussex. So why can’t he play for England immediately???

Bravo for England!

img_2087

No seriously, think about it. Darren Bravo has fallen out with the West Indies board (There’s a first for everything!). He didn’t get the contract offer that he wanted and to be fair to Bravo, a Grade C contract was probably a little harsh for a guy that seemed one of the more committed West Indies players, i.e. one that tended to choose the hidden backwaters of Test cricket ahead of the glitz, glamour and razzmatazz of global T20 tournaments. Now he’s suing the WICB!

So what does the future hold?

Bravo isn’t generally perceived to be your stereotypical Twenty20 basher, though to be fair his domestic record (Ave 33.60, S/R 118.01) is pretty reasonable. Even if he wants to play in the Big Bash, BPL, IPL or whatever, Bravo comes across as the sort of guy that will want a little more substance to his career.

Could he be destined for the County Championship?

The appeal of Bravo, a man with 3400 Test runs at an average of exactly 40.00 including eight centuries, to an English county is an obvious one, particularly if he’s rid of international commitments and likely to be available for most of the season.

Fast forward three or four years (Or whatever the qualification period is?) and could Bravo even play Test cricket for England?

The idea isn’t as far fetched as you might think and he’s not the only one that could be in such a position. I hope that my fellow blogger Bimal won’t mind me posting the link to his article about someone already in the hypothetical national allegiance switching position I’ve considered for Bravo…

Botha open to playing for Australia

In England we’ve seen the likes of Ed Joyce and Boyd Rankin represent the country of their birth and heritage, Ireland before qualifying to play for England. Their moves were understandable as they had been playing domestic cricket in England for some years and it was the only way that they could play Test cricket (Apart from doing the same in another country of course) Once they lost their places, Joyce quite harshly and Rankin after one abysmal but rather set-up to fail Test and despite an excellent showing in ODIs, they soon returned to Irish colours.

In football, Brazilian born Diego Costa represented his home country before joining Spain and Ivory Coast born England cap Wilfired Zaha has now ‘signed up’ for the country of his birth more than three years after his second and last England appearance. There are many examples of players who if born elsewhere would have won more international caps.

Imagine if uncapped Australian batsman Jamie Cox (FC runs: 18,614 incl. 51 centuries) had been born across the Tasman in New Zealand and not Tasmania? (Of course if he’d been born in New Zealand he might not have been a cricketer at all but you get my drift).

The world is constantly changing, people move, children are born to parents of different nationalities (Just like my own) who may then relocate and relocate again. There are many reasons and examples of why international selection isn’t as straight forward as some people would like it to be but this isn’t club football. The global T20 leagues don’t lend themselves to loyalty, one only needs to look at the list of teams that the likes of Chris Gayle has represented to see that but international selection should bring with it the afore-mentioned loyalty. In my humble opinion, once you’ve represented a nation then you’ve made your bed and you must lie in it.

Back to Bravo, for all we know they’ll be a kiss and make-up soon enough but if his Test career has ended at the age of just 27 then 3400 runs at an average of 40.00 including eight centuries with a top score of 218 in 49 appearances are figures that many would crave but for Bravo they’ll leave a lingering sense of unfulfillment and what if?