England's South African XI

Kushagra Agarwal

Enter capti

Cricket has seen many players who went on to represent a country different from the one they were born in. England seem to have benefited most from this foreign-born player trend; as many as 106 players who have donned the Three Lions were born in countries other than Britain.

Of these 106 cricketers, the maximum number born in one country are 17- each in India and South Africa. Boycott of the Proteas due to the apartheid movement in the period between 1970 and 1992 led many South African born cricketers to shift base to pursue their careers.

This article constructs an XI out of such players who were born in the Rainbow Nation but went on to bring laurels to the English cricket team.

#1 Andrew Strauss

Andrew Strauss has also served as the Director of English cricket

A very sedate and calm cricketer, former English captain Andrew Strauss was born in Johannesburg in 1977. He made an impressive start to his career as he smashed 10 centuries in his first 30 Tests.

He built a strong captain-coach partnership with Andy Flower as the duo led England to famous victories such as the 2009-2010 Ashes down under and the 2011 thumping whitewash of India, culminating in the English rising to the number 1 spot in the rankings.

In a 100-Test career, the opener scored 7037 runs @ 40.91 including 21 centuries with a best of a career-saving 177 against New Zealand. In the 50 matches as the skipper of his team, the southpaw led England to victory in 24.

Keaton Jennings

Jennings played U-19 cricket for his country of birth - South Africa

Son of former first-class cricketer and coach of IPL franchise RCB Ray Jennings, left-handed opening batsman Keaton Jennings was born in Johannesburg in 1992. After having captained the U-19 South African team, Jennings, who has British citizenship owing to an English mother, moved to the UK in 2012.

He became eligible to represent England in 2016 and after a stellar county season was drafted into the English team for the Indian tour the same year. He had a dream debut as he scored a century against India in Mumbai, although he got out for a duck in the second inning.

His form has though deserted him in the recent past and a batting average of 22 does not do justice to kind of talent he is claimed to possess. With the retirement of Alastair Cook, he will be looking to seal a spot at the top of the order with improved performances.

Jonathan Trott

Trott's flourishing career was cut short by reasons such as stress and anxiety

Right-handed solid top order batsman Jonathan Trott was born in Cape Town in 1981 to a South African family of English descent. Holding a British passport, Trott never had to wait to be eligible to play cricket for England.

After having played for U-19 South Africa, Trott got selected to the England Test team in 2009 and impressed with a century on debut against Australia in the Ashes-deciding Test at the Oval.

He was a very solid batsman and once in, he gave the bowlers a tough time as he put a huge price on his wicket. In his 52 Test career that was cut short by anxiety and depression problems-he retired from international cricket in 2015 and from all forms of the game in 2018, Trott scored 3835 runs @ 44.08 including nine scores of a hundred plus.

Kevin Pietersen

Pietersen was a crowd-puller and one of the greatest batsmen England have ever fielded

Perhaps the greatest South African to have represented England in cricket, Kevin Pietersen was born in 1980 in Pietermaritzburg of the Natal Province of South Africa to a British mother and an African father.

He opted England over South Africa to pursue his cricket as he felt that the racial quota system of the African nation belittled his opportunities to make to the larger stage.

Be it because of his hairstyles, his controversies or his run-making, Pietersen was always in the news and a player with a larger than life image. He complimented his audacity with 8181 Test runs @ 47.28 across 104 Tests, a record at one time. He had announced his arrival in grand style as his knock of 158 in the final Test of the famous 2005 Ashes earned him the Man of the Match award.

He was no less in the limited overs format as he completed 1000 runs in 21 innings, equalling Viv Richards' record.

Allan Lamb

Allan Lamb was a great player of fast bowling

Born in 1954 to British parents in Langebaanweg region of South Africa, Allan Lamb like many other cricketers of his generation had to move to England to fulfil his dream of playing international cricket due to the racist apartheid movement prevalent in South Africa.

After impressing in the county circuit for four seasons, Lamb got selected to play for England in 1982 and across a 13-year long career, played 79 Tests and 122 ODIs. He was a much more effective batsman against pace bowling, as is evident from his six centuries out of a total 22 coming against the West Indies' bowling attack of the 1980s.

Spin proved to be his nemesis, resulting in a career average of 36 that did not justify his potential as a talented batsman. His most famous victory remains the one e achieved for England in an ODI versus Australia in 1987 when he smashed 18 runs off the last 5 balls to take England past the finish line.

Robin Smith

Robin Smith was a ferocious cutter of the cricket ball

Just as in the case of Allan Lamb, Durban born Robin Smith could not represent South Africa owing to the apartheid era and went on to play for England owing to English parents.

In a career that spanned 62 Tests and 71 ODIs between 1988 and 1994, Smith accumulated 4236 and 2419 runs in the respective formats with averages on either side of 40.

Remembered as one of England's most courageous batsmen, Smith was a potent force against the best pacers in the world but found it hard against the slower bowlers. His ODI best of 167 in 1993 was for long England's highest ODI score and also the highest in a losing cause.

Tony Greig

Tony Greig: the voice of cricket for so many years

For many cricket lovers of the present generation, Tony Greig was the voice of cricket for years. His unique way of covering cricket matches was a viewer's delight. However, before turning into an eminent commentator, Greig was one of England's best all-rounders ever.

Born in Queenstown in 1946, Greig qualified to play international cricket for England due to his Scottish parentage. He scored 3599 Test runs and picked 141 wickets in a 59 match career, averaging 40 with the bat and 32 with the ball.

He also successfully led England in the period 1975-1977 before his involvement in the Kerry Packer World Series made him do away with the captaincy. A sportsman wary of his commercial value, Greig encased on his image which was huge among fans.

He breathed his last after being diagnosed with lung cancer in December 2012 in his adopted homeland Australia at the age of 66.

Matt Prior

Prior's success with the bat played a huge role in England's rise to the top

Born to an English father and a South African mother in Johannesburg in 1982, Matt Prior moved to England at the age of 11. He impressed in his county stints with Sussex and was selected to play for England in 2004.

Prior featured in 79 Tests and 68 ODIs across a 10-year long career, scoring 3920 and 1282 runs in the respective formats. He was particularly effective with the bat in Tests as he provided depth to the English batting order which saw their team claim the number 1 ranking in 2011.

He scored a century on debut at Lord's against West Indies and went on to score six more in his Test career.

Basil D' Oliveira

Basil D' Oliveira belonged to a race that was discriminated under the apartheid system

The man who actually initiated the eventual boycott of South Africa from international cricket was himself born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1931.

Having been born into a family with Indo-Portuguese descent, Oliveira was considered to belong to the coloured group of individuals, a race of people discriminated democratically by the government of South Africa in the apartheid era.

After obtaining British citizenship in 1962 he started playing for English counties and soon got selected into the national squad. When England's team for their 1968 tour to South Africa included him as an all-rounder, South Africa pulled out of the series citing that their players could not play the sport on the same field as where a coloured individual also played, eventually leading to their boycott from cricket for the next 22 years.

Oliveira went on to represent England in 44 Tests, scoring 2484 runs @ 40.05 and picking up 47 wickets. It is noteworthy to mention that the winner of the Test series between South Africa and England now takes home the Basil D' Oliveira Trophy.

Jade Dernbach

Dernbach's slower ball was tough to deal with

Unlike the rich batting talent that England received from South Africa, the bowling talent was nothing in comparison.

Jade Dernbach was born in Johannesburg in 1986 and moved to England in 2000 and eventually acquired British citizenship, enabling him to play for England.

In the 24 ODIs and 34 T20Is that he featured in between 2011 and 2014, Dernbach picked 31 and 39 wickets respectively, the wickets coming at a heavy price.

His only claim to fame, apart from his tattooed body, remains a deathly slower ball that batsmen found hard to get away initially.

Tom Curran

Tom Curran comes from a cricketing family

Son of former Zimbabwean cricketer Kevin Curran, 23-year old Tom Curran was born in Cape Town and moved to England in 2011.

Having completed a four-year minimum residential requirement in England by 2015, he was eligible to play for the national team and was called upon for the same in the Boxing Day Ashes Test of 2017.

Till date, he has played just 2 Tests and 8 ODIs but the right armed medium pacer has a bright future ahead of him, just as his younger brother Sam Curran who recently debuted for England.