Large numbers of England cricketers, both past and present, will be recategorised as non-England players as a result of plans being drawn up in the wake of the UK’s decision to leave the EU.
A member of the Leave campaign explained: “One thing this referendum has told us is in no uncertain terms is that the British public have no time for nuance in the matter of national identity. We are therefore looking to impose a clear definition of who can and cannot represent the England cricket team.”
Asked what this would entail, he continued: “We all know that there are only two kinds of immigrants – the good kind and the bad kind. We need to distinguish between these and the obvious place to start is with a person’s place of birth. We all know that British people are born in Britain and, ideally, in England.”
Under the proposals, current England cricketers including all-rounder Ben Stokes and current one-day captain Eoin Morgan would be immediately excluded from the team. However, players born overseas who have represented England in the past would also be expunged from the records.
The Leave spokesman demanded the immediate resignation of England’s director of cricket, Andrew Strauss, who was born in Johannesburg, and listed a number of other players born outside the UK who would be struck from the history of England cricket. One of the players mentioned was Basil D’Oliveira, about whom the spokesman said: “He should have represented his own country.”
It seems highly unlikely that the project will stop there, however. The spokesman said that birthplace would merely be the first of a number of criteria that would need to be met to ensure eligibility. “Take someone like Moeen Ali,” he said. “Moeen was born in Sparkhill in Birmingham, so if birthplace were the only criterion, he would be considered English – which is plainly ridiculous.”