Dear Mr Henderson

A black sports writer condemns Wisden Cricket Monthly's suggestion that non-white cricketers don't give their all for England

I am angry, Robert. Your article in Wisden Cricket Monthly claiming "foreigners" who play for England lack the same commitment to their country as home-grown team mates is just offensive.

The idea that black people or those of Asian ancestry raised in England cannot experience "the same pride and identification ... as a white man" defies belief and belittles the vast sporting achievements of many so- called foreigners. You even state that "it is even possible that part of a coloured England-qualified player feels satisfaction (perhaps subconsciously) at seeing England humiliated, because of post-imperial myths of oppression and exploitation." My, aren't explanations for the failures of English cricket becoming elaborate?

I understand that your editor, David Frith, has been inundated with callers branding you a racist. Maybe you're not. Perhaps you are simply very, very stupid, though not as stupid as the "foreign" cricketers you vilify, those who spend their careers attempting to earn a place in the national squad so they can scupper the English cricket team.

Why have you singled out cricket? Perhaps because in many ways cricket is the most English of games, or perhaps you are an aspiring politician hoping to endear yourself with

right-wing, tub-thumping rhetoric.

You have attempted to disguise a hackneyed racial theory by presenting your views in a sociological manner. I am not fooled. If, as you claim, a serious point is being presented, then the hypothesis in question should be applicable to all British sports. Instead, ground-breaking achievements of other sporting blacks have been ignored - no mention of football (Paul Ince has captained his country), athletics (Linford Christie, Colin Jackson) or rugby (Steve Ojomoh and Victor Ubogu).

On my first trip to Lord's some years ago, I encountered spectators who seemed to share your views. Fuelled by Pimm's, their kindest suggestion for black members of the England team was that they would be better suited to picking cotton and had no right to wear the lion on their jerseys. Curiously enough, they were the first to applaud when Devon Malcolm took five wickets.

Your singling out of Asian and black players exposes your bias, or perhaps you deliberately decided to ignore the Caucasian "foreigners" who represent England in cricket. Does Graeme Hick exhibit more patriotism and pride (whatever these terms mean) when facing the West Indies than Philip DeFreitas? Graham Gooch, one of the most stereotypically patriotic English captains ever, seemed to place other considerations higher when touring South Africa, resulting in suspension of his international career.

Does anyone apart from you believe that a sportsman, black or white, can gear a life towards representing their country while holding that country in contempt? Do you remember Daley Thompson and Linford Christie winning Olympic gold and clothing themselves in the Union Jack?

Must I point out that last year, six black players were in the starting line-up for England's football team? This country's three most expensive footballers - Collymore, Ince and Cole - are black.

I suggest the editor of Wisden Cricket Monthly adds coherence to his criteria for accepting articles, while you, Mr Henderson, stick to writing Norman Tebbit's speeches.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Recruitment Genius: Doctors - Dubai - High "Tax Free" Earnings

£96000 - £200000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Looking for a better earning p...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer

£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly expanding company in ...

Recruitment Genius: PA

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A PA is required to join a leading provider of...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness