As you well know, in-form South African paceman Duanne Olivier has packed his bags for the land of tea, water and Emmerdale… Yorkshire!
That move is disappointing in itself. I’m a Yorkshireman but maintain romantic notions when it comes to international sport. I’d like to see a top player want to perform for his/her country.
The quota system in South Africa probably requires a post of its own. Maybe I don’t even understand it properly.
Olivier, capped ten times at Test level, now says that he wants to play for England. Well I don’t want him to! Does that make me xenophobic and/or a hypocrite? Possibly.
My wife is not from England. She has come to this country and worked here, therefore potentially denying a willing English person that job. Regardless of Olivier denying an Englishman a place in the Yorkshire team or enhancing the quality of the league, he has represented South Africa as an adult. My opinion is that once you’ve made your bed then you must lie in it.
I can understand sportsmen and women switching allegiance from junior level. Nationality is not always as simple as people being born in one country to parents both from said country and being brought up there until adulthood. My daughters are English born to an English father but will still be exposed to a lot of French culture and language here in England before we even consider their visits to France. If they become athletes, I’d have no qualms about them representing France. Of course Jofra Archer, despite having an English parent (And see KP etc) has to qualify to play for England.
Of course there are many previous examples all with varying circumstances but I’m very uncomfortable with the possibility of Olivier pulling on an England shirt.
I have absolutely no problem with a person from any country living and working, including next door or alongside me, in this country but if they relocated as an adult then I wouldn’t expect them to represent our nation at international sport. If I lived in any other country, I wouldn’t say that I was that nationality just because I’d spent two thirds of each of three years living and working there.
There’s an argument that international sport needn’t exist. That we shouldn’t divide ourselves in such ways. There’s no balance between populations, it’s just politics and land grabbing. But if international sport does exist, I don’t think that you can change your mind in your late twenties and switch allegiance. My wife might gain British citizenship but she’ll have been here a lot longer than Olivier.
That’s my piece and I’ve said it.