Studies in Lancashire and the North West of England, 1880s to 1930s
Chapter Seven: Cricket and the Imperial Connection: Overseas Players in Lancashire in the Interwar Years
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The global migration of sports talent in first-class cricket is now commonplace. Since the late 1960s England, with the most developed form of professional cricket, has become a magnet for star players from the world’s major cricket-playing countries. With the exception until recently of Yorkshire all the English county clubs have felt it necessary to include one or more such stars in their teams.1 This process, however, has not been without its critics. The importation of overseas sports talent has frequently been held responsible for the apparent decline of English test teams in international competition, particularly in the 1980s.2 Indeed, the problems of cricket have often become subsumed in the wider discourse of ‘decline’ that has been a characteristic feature of British national life in recent years. But what is often overlooked when such ideas are voiced is the fact that players from overseas – from various parts of the Commonwealth and, before that, the Empire – have long been a feature of the game in England. For example, a glance through the Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack for the 1953 season reveals a total of 17 Commonwealth players employed by nine of the 17 county clubs, at least 10 of them occupying leading batting or bowling places.3 Not, admittedly, as great a number as were to figure in more recent seasons but a significant proportion none the less.
← 163 | 164 → This imperial connection in English cricket has a long, if not always very conspicuous, history....
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