Saturday, 5 February 2011

Country of origin

A splendid recent article in CricInfo reviews the country of origin of some Test cricketers and finds some surprises.   For example it notes that Ted Dexter was born in Milan,  George Headley in Panama and Geriant Jones in Papua New Guinea. 

All these players just happened to be born near their parents who were from cricket playing countries but who happened to be in a different country when the youngster's innings started.  A more interesting search would be for players who originated in non-cricketing countries (and FB is sorry to advise his readers that there are a few, so ineffective has the United Nations been in advancing the cause of civilisation) or with parents from non-cricketing countries, who then went on to achieve something in the game.

Pascoe - and exactly what is 
D Lillee doing
in the background?
Indeed Fantasy Bob has stretched his limited grey matter to try to think of anyone who might fit the bill.   It's hard.  He suspects there is something in the genes.  FB's late father-in-law was Polish and FB remembers his telling of his one attempt to play cricket.  The match might well have precipitated World War 3, so heated did the discussion become about whether it was fair that he was stumped simply for standing completely still, but well outside his crease, while the ball passed him. ''Completely still - I do not try to hit ball and still they say out.  How so?  Ach, what a stupid game!'  There are some cultures, which might have produced great poetry and piano music, which might have suffered years of persecution from their larger neighbours, but who are still too crude to understand the beauty of the game of cricket.  Tragic.

But to return to the subject, Australian paceman of the 1970's Len Pascoe is the one relevant name that FB can dredge from his memory.  Pascoe was the son of Yugoslavian immigrants - his original surname was Durtanovich.  How that converted to Pascoe is anyone's guess.  Pascoe's Test caps were limited to 14 by his defection to World Series Cricket just as his career took off.  He was reckoned to genuinely sharp. He took 41 wickets at 21.78 on the 1977 tour of England - including 13 in three Tests - and 5 for 59 (his only five-for) in the first innings of the 1980 Centenary Test. 

Perhaps FB's readers can identify other players with similar backgrounds.

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