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Made in India!
by Venu Palaparthi
Mar 04, 2006
You will find People of Indian Origin everywhere around the world - descendents of plantation workers in Fiji or Sri Lanka, descendents of indentured labourers or traders in Africa and the Caribbean, and the sons and daughters of more recent emigrants to the West.

Indians have always followed the fortunes of these PIOs closely and with great pride too. Although they have never lived in India, you will find that the achievements of Night Shyamalan in cinema, Vijay Singh in golf, VS Naipaul in literature, or Amar Bose of Bose speakers fame are treated as though these are Indian achievements.

But cricket is different! Cricket is a national passion and the thought of an Indian playing for another country is somewhat of a dilemma. It mostly makes for a strong chai-time conversation. To add masala to chai, it takes on a more interesting dimension when cross-country partnerships of a different kind are involved! For instance, when Muthiah Muralitharan (Sri Lankan of Indian roots) married Madhi Malar (Indian Tamil), it got everyone talking about which side Madhi supported when Sri Lanka played India. "Of course, I will support my husband's team," Madhi declared in an interview. More recently, when Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik was engaged to Ayesha (a Hyderabadi), the subject was a hot topic in the countless Irani cafes of Hyderabad.

Even though he was neither born in India nor is married to an Indian, Monty Singh Panesar is being watched just as closely in India as he is in England. Indians consider him one of their own (even after he confessed that he does not remember the name of his favorite Bollywood actress!). And his performance in the first test so far has compounded the dilemma of the loyal Indian fan - especially after he bowled a tight spell and took two wickets - of star batsmen Tendulkar and Kaif!

The pressure on him will be even greater in Mohali - his 'home-away-from-home' ground - his grandparents are going to be in the stands.

Monty Singh Panesar may be the first Sikh to be playing for England, but he is not the first person of Indian origin playing for England. In fact, he has very interesting predecessors - from Kumar Shri Ranjitsinhji ('Ranji') to Nasser Hussain, sixteen Indian-born cricketers have represented England in Test cricket.

Hussain, the captain of the previous England side to tour India (2001-02) spent the first few years of his life in Madras, but he has made no bones that he feels English through and through. Nasser's father Javed (Joe) represented Tamil Nadu (then Madras) in the Ranji Trophy.

And in these more enlightened times his accession to the top job in English cricket in 1999 was widely welcomed.

It was not always so.

Ranji's selection by England for the 1896 home series against Australia was opposed by some in the cricket establishment.

He was not selected for the first Test at Lord's, but such was the Indian prince's popularity that he was brought into the team by public and media demand and promptly scored 62 and 154 not out on debut in the second Test at Old Trafford.

With his flashing strokeplay and his exotic Eastern aura, Ranji was something of a cult figure even at a time when the legendary WG Grace was at his peak.

Like Hussain a century later, Ranji too swore allegiance to England and English cricket. He had contempt for the attempts by his fellow Indians to play cricket and had no part in encouraging the game back home.

His nephew KS Duleepsinhji maintained the family tradition when he recorded a century in his first Test against Australia, making 173 and 48 at Lord's in 1930.

Like Ranji, he faced objections from the powers-that-be in English cricket and was also unofficially banned from playing against the South Africans.

Another Indian-born England captain was Douglas Jardine, who led the team on the infamous 'Bodyline' tour to Australia.

In the party was Iftiqar Ali Khan, the Nawab of Pataudi (father of former India captain Mansur Ali Khan), who made it a hat-trick of princely tons on debut with 102 in the first Test at Sydney.

But after just one more Test he was dropped for the rest of the series apparently on the grounds that he objected to the intimidatory tactics employed by his captain.

Pataudi senior is the only man to have represented both England and India in Tests, also captaining the latter on their tour of England in 1946.

His son would lead India from 1962-70 and from 1974-75.

Many Englishmen were born in India during the days of the British Raj and this was the case with Jardine too.

Unlike Ranji, Jardine did much to encourage cricket in India. In fact, when it came time to choose a captain for India on their maiden tour to England in 1932 the names of both Duleep and Jardine were mentioned as candidates.

In more recent times, England were led by Colin Cowdrey, whose father was a tea planter in the hill town of Ootacamund in Tamil Nadu.

And opener John Jameson, who made his Test debut against the country of his birth in 1971, was the first English Test cricketer after Ranji, Duleep and Pataudi whose parents were both Indian.

In the first Test against India at Edgbaston in 1996 there were four Bombay-born players, three on the Indian side as well as spinner Min Patel making his debut for England.

Ironically, a world-record holder for over 100 years was also born in India but never even played first-class cricket.

In June 1899, Arthur Edward Jeune Collins (born in India in 1885) scored 628 not out in a junior house match for Clarke's House against North Town while a schoolboy at Clifton College in Bristol.

It remains the highest score recorded in an organised cricket match.

He returned to India and played some cricket while serving with the Army. But his military career meant he had no time for top-level cricket.

Collins was killed in Flanders in 1914 during the First World War.

By contrast, only four foreign-born players have represented India: Lall Singh (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia); Ashok Gandotra (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil); Salim Durani (Kabul, Afghanistan) and Rabindra (Robin) Singh (Princes Town, Trinidad)

 
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