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Wisden India logo Wisden India 11-05-2016

Across sports, we come across players who have excelled against the country of their birth. Ben Stokes, who inspired this list, was the latest addition as he starred for his adopted country, England, against New Zealand, where he was born, in the first Test at Lord’s in May 2015.

Stokes followed up his first-innings 92 with a century in the second innings before picking up three crucial wickets in New Zealand’s second innings to set up a 124-run victory. In the five-match One-Day International series that followed, Stokes scored a half-century and scalped nine wickets.

Wisden India looks at ten other players who did well in international cricket against the country in which they were born.

Kevin Pietersen

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The flamboyant batsman first ruffled feathers by quitting South Africa, due to the perceived quota system, in favour of England. He announced himself as an international cricketer early in 2005 when, after a low-key debut in Zimbabwe, Pietersen was chosen for England’s ODI series in South Africa. Undeterred by the hostile crowd, he scored three centuries in the seven-match ODI series. Late in 2008, he succeeded Michael Vaughan as captain, starting with a century as South Africa were beaten at The Oval. Pietersen has three memorable Test tons against South Africa.

Jonathan Trott

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The story sounds familiar – an aggressive right-hand batsman, born in South Africa, and scoring bucketful of runs in the English county circuit. No, it’s not Pietersen again, but Trott, who represented South Africa at the Under-15 and Under-19 level, before moving to England in 2003. Trott didn’t turn up the heat against South Africa as much in Tests as he did in ODIs. In the third ODI against South Africa in August 2012, he made a match-winning 71 at The Oval to level the series at 1-1. But it was his unbeaten 82 against South Africa in the semifinal of the ICC Champions Trophy 2013 that knocked South Africa out of the tournament.

Eoin Morgan

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Eoin Morgan gained initial recognition with Ireland, playing 23 ODIs and even scoring his first ODI century for them, before switching allegiance to England, for whom he made his debut in 2009. Despite an unproductive Champions Trophy 2013, Morgan was handed the reins for the ODI series against Ireland and Australia. Leading England against Ireland in Dublin, the city of his birth, Morgan won the one-off ODI, rescuing his adopted country from a precarious 48 for 4 with a career-best 124 not out.

Imran Tahir

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The Lahore-born legspinner represented the Pakistani Under-19 and ‘A’ teams, but failed to win international honours for his country. He became eligible to play for South Africa in early 2011 after meeting his residency requirement. But it was only in October 2013 that he announced himself, grabbing his maiden five-wicket haul – a career-best 5 for 32 as his adopted country rolled his native Pakistan over for 99 in the first innings of the second Test in Dubai.

Grant Elliot

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The hero of New Zealand’s semifinal triumph in the 2015 World Cup is a South African by birth. The Johannesburg-born Elliott even played three seasons of domestic cricket in South Africa before moving to Wellington in 2001. Although Elliott’s inclusion in New Zealand’s World Cup squad raised a few eyebrows, the right-hand batsman proved his worth when he anchored New Zealand’s tense chase with an unbeaten 84 to knock South Africa out of the tournament.

Sikandar Raza

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Born in Sialkot, Pakistan, Sikandar Raza’s dream of being a fighter pilot ended prematurely when he failed an eye examination. It was only when he moved to Zimbabwe, where his parents had resided since 2002, that Raza developed a reputation as an aggressive top-order batsman. Relishing the return to his native Pakistan, Raza stood out for Zimbabwe during the recently-concluded limited-overs series, making an unbeaten century from 84 balls in the second ODI in Lahore. He followed it up with a career-best 3 for 59 in the third ODI.

Boyd Rankin

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The lanky Londonderry-born pacer took 43 wickets in 37 ODIs for Ireland. But he quit Irish duties in 2012 in the hope of earning a Test call-up for England. On his England ODI debut in September 2013, Rankin held his nerve amidst pressure to claim career-best 4 for 46 against Ireland in Dublin.

Andy Flower

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The former England coach was such a stalwart of Zimbabwe cricket that not many might know he was actually born in South Africa. In Harare in September 2001, Andy played South Africa on his own, scoring 142 out of Zimbabwe’s 286 in the first innings. He followed it up with an epic unbeaten 199 in the second innings. In all, he has scored 566 runs in five Tests against South Africa at 70.75.

Nasser Hussain

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Making his Test debut in 1990, the Chennai-born former England captain had a stop-start Test career initially and managed to seal his spot only in 1996, when he returned to the England squad to face India. Hussain responded with his maiden Test ton – 128 in the first innings, and hit another century in the last Test to become the Man of the Series. In all he scored 824 runs in 10 Tests against India at an average of 54.93, including four centuries.

Andrew Symonds

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The Birmingham-born aggressive allrounder was originally qualified to play for England due to it being the country of his birth. He was even selected as a part of the England A side to tour Pakistan later in 1995, but instead chose to pursue an international career for Australia. His maiden Test hundred, against England in 2006, set up an innings and 99-run victory for Australia.

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