Almanac Cricket: Two Test Team

Fifteen players have represented two nations in test cricket. I recall three in my lifetime, including one this century.

 

Anyhow I thought I’d try to put together a team of the best performed of these players.

 

Keppler Wessels is there facing the new ball. The South African born, Australian opener who scored a century on his test debut for Australia prior to returning to South Africa as they re-entered the international arena after apartheid was banished to the dust bin of history, was a pugnacious cricketer.

 

He finished his army service in South Africa, went to England to play county cricket with Sussex, then down to Australia during the WSC years where he turned out for the home side. It’s worth noting Wessels held his South African passport despite turning out for the ‘Australian’ side. He subsequently played for Australia and debuted against England in Brisbane during the summer of 1982-1983; he scored 162. His role in Australia’s win was further emphasized by being named man of the match. The next few years he was solid contributor for Australia before he lost form, then announced his retirement.

 

Lo and behold within twelve months he was back in South Africa playing for an ‘Australian’ team that took the filthy lucre offered to play in South Africa during the apartheid era. Within a few years South Africa was back in the international arena, where Wessels returned to the test arena, captaining the nation of his birth. Wessels is the only player to make test centuries for both his test nations.

 

Billy Murdoch could open with him. Murdoch started his test career keeping wickets, for the one test, before he reverted to being a specialist batsman, and not too bad a one at that. The two centuries of his test career were both trend-setters. Murdoch was the first test captain to make a century this being 153 at the Oval in 1880. He also made the first double century in test cricket, this being 211 at the Oval in 1884; he liked the Oval.

 

Murdoch also held the Australian captaincy during his time down under, 16 times leading the Australians. This was not without controversy as Murdoch was a key figure in the players’ strike of 1884.

 

Following his tenure with Australia he turned out for England, his sole performance seeing him score 12 in an English victory. This was against South Africa in March 1892.

 

The Nawab of Pataudi Snr, Mohammed Iftikhar Ali Khan Siddiqui Pataudi, could fill number three. The Nawab of Pataudi oversaw the princely state of Pataudi prior to Indian independence. He debuted for England in the opening test of the 1932-1933 tour of Australia the infamous Bodyline Series. Despite making a century on debut he was dropped after the following test ostensibly because he was opposed to Bodyline. He played a further test against Australia in 1934, prior to a series of health problems.

 

Subsequently his time in the Indian side was limited. He was part of their 1946 tour of England, just under 12 years since his last test for England. He only played the three tests for India, his tally of 55 runs in five innings indicate a drop off in what was expected of him. Within five years he was dead; he suffered a heart attack on his son’s 11th birthday. The son, Mansoor Ali Khan was another test playing Nawab of Pataudi, but he appeared just for India.

 

Albert Trott made a spectacular debut for Australia commencing with figures of 8/43 added to handy knocks of 38 and 72, batting late in the innings. His debut test against England in Adelaide back in December 1894 saw Australia win by 382 runs. Trott also played the next two tests of the series, the latter his final appearance for Australia.

 

Interestingly, Trott still holds the highest test batting average for Australia, 205 runs at 102.50.

 

He then moved to England to play county cricket, leading to two uneventful tests. His most meritorious event was when playing for Middlesex against Sussex at Lords he hit a ball over the pavilion towers, as mighty a stroke as you can ever hope to see. He sadly ended up almost destitute and committed suicide on 30 July 1914 aged 41.

 

Sammy Guillen could keep wicket, he born in Trinidad and first played for the West Indies then later for New Zealand. During his eight tests he was responsible for 16 dismissals. In an era before the wicket keeper-bat he averaged a respectable 20.19 with the one-half century, a top score of 54. One of the highlights of Guillens career was his role in New Zealand’s first test victory which was over the West Indies! His stumping of Alf Valentine clinched New Zealand’s first test victory. Guillen retired from first class cricket straight after this match.

 

One more interesting point re Sammy Guillen is that his grandson Logan Van Beek has represented Netherlands in cricket.

 

Abdul Harfeez Kardar was a versatile cricketer bowling slow left arm, as well as being handy with the bat. He played for India prior to the partitioning that led to the establishment of Pakistan of which he was their first test captain. He subsequently became the President of the Pakistan Cricket Board, a position he held for five years. In this role he sought to minimize political interference in the running of Pakistani cricket. Kardar was a strong advocate to the International Cricket Council on behalf of Pakistan cricket, also presenting/advocating cricketing issues on behalf of cricket throughout the broader sub-continent. To some he is the Father of Pakistan Cricket.

 

Kardar did not just appear for one of his nations against another, he captained Pakistan in its first official test series, the 1952-1953 tour of India. Kardar led Pakistan to some notable victories such as at the series levelling win at the Oval against England in 1954, as well as beating Australia on the mats in Karachi.

 

Kardar was inducted into the Pakistan Crickets Hall of fame in 2022. He was also a politician, being a parliamentarian for the Pakistan Peoples Party. He represented the Punjab, and whilst in parliament held different portfolios including the Minister for food. Kardar also served as Pakistan’s ambassador to Switzerland.

 

Amer Elahi played six tests in his career. After beginning as medium pacer he found leg spin more suitable on the slow, low, sub-continent pitches. He spent much of his first-class career playing in India, with whom he played the one test, this on the tour of Australia in 1947-1948. He then appeared for Pakistan. He, like Abdul Harfeez Kardar, played for Pakistan on that first official test tour of India, though his test career ended straight after that.

 

John James Ferris was born in Sydney. On his debut for Australia, he helped bowl England out for 45 on the Sydney Cricket Ground. He later moved to England where he played the one test in which he picked up match figures of 13/91. This was against South Africa. Interesting to note Billy Murdoch, another Australian born cricketer who played for two nations also debuted for England in that clash; this was Ferris’s, also Murdoch’s only test for England. Ferris’s record saw him pick up 61 test scalps in his nine tests at an average of 12.70, with a strike rate of 37.7.

 

Sadly, he died in 1900 aged 33. Ferris was enlisted in the British Army during the Boer War, when he died under mysterious circumstances after a dishonorable discharge from the army: a few questions, though the answers are debated re his death.

 

John Traicos played for South Africa, then Zimbabwe, with a spell of 22 years and 222 days between tests. He was part of the victorious South African team that defeated Bill Lawry’s Australians 4-0, then the apartheid ban kept him out of test ranks until Zimbabwe received test status. He then played four more tests.

 

In the lengthy spell between tests, he played ODI’s for Zimbabwe, though when he first appeared the team had retained the old colonial name Rhodesia.

 

Frank Hearne turned out at test level for both England, then South Africa. His first test for South Africa was a trivia writers’ fantasy. On the English side Hearne’s brothers Alec, and George, made their test debuts. Along with the Hearne brothers the English team included two previous Australian test players, Billy Murdoch and John James Ferris. You wouldn’t read about it, or maybe you would if you perused this website.

 

Boyd Rankin, the most recent member of this team picks up the final cap. Rankin debuted for England on their disastrous Ashes tour of Australia of 2013-2014. His first test wicket was Peter Siddle. Rankin then turned his attention back to representing Ireland. He was chosen for their inaugural Test, that being against Pakistan in Dublin, May 11, 2018. In his brief test career Rankin picked up the first ever test wicket by an Irish bowler dismissing Pakistan’s Azhar Ali caught in the slips cordon.

 

His final test for Ireland saw him achieve his best test figures of 2/5 as Ireland gained a 122 run first inning lead over England in their 2019 encounter at the Oval. Sadly, Ireland’s second innings capitulation for 38 was the end of Rankins’ test career, also his first-class career; he retired after this.

 

Who would be captain of this team, as there are quite a few contenders here. Thoughts? Should I have included Billy Midwinter, who has a particular claim to fame?

 

Keppler Wessels and Boyd Rankin are the only men who have played both Test and One Day International cricket for two nations. As with tests fifteen players have represented two nations in limited over internationals, but that can be another side for another time.

 

 

Glen!

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. Good story, might be a new one soon with Garry Ballance.

    Was hoping Billy Midwinter made the team playing for Australia then England then Australia

    Also like the trivia question
    Name the brothers who have played for two different countries ?

  2. G’day Rodney.

    Would you mean James, and Darren Pattinson?

    Yes, I see Garry Ballance is off to Zimbabwe.

    Re playing for two different nations among the 15 limited over players who have done so, you’ll find in these ranks players who have appeared for both test,and non test nations.

    Glen!

  3. Luke Reynolds says

    Love this Glen, each and every one of these players is a fascinating story.

    Kardar is a massive figure in Pakistani cricket, such an interesting era before partition. The two Nawab’s also interest me a lot. John Traicos took 5/86 on Zimbabwe Test debut, Sachin Tendulkar included in that 5 for. Kepler Wessels as captain of your team for mine, magnificent competitor, I only saw him play for South Africa but he was a hard nosed leader that was perfect for them when they were re-admitted to international cricket in late 1991.

  4. matt watson says

    Superb Glen,
    I didn’t know there were 15 dual country Test players.
    I had read about those in the early days recently in several superb books.
    And of course Kepler…
    He’s living in the Brisbane region, and is a gun at lawn bowls.
    I did admire him and his unusual stance. I wanted him to do well when he captained South Africa against Australia.
    Alas, he was 37, but still a mighty force, with that force of will he possessed.
    Cheers

  5. Hello Glen, fascinating read. I had absolutely no idea there were as many as 15 men who’d played Test cricket for two nations.

    You referred to Kepler Wessels’ tenure in WSC (78/79). Do you believe players who participated across those two summers in the Packer sponsored series should have their runs/wickets included in their official records?

    Look forward to your response. Take care and keep up the great work.

    MCR

  6. Thanks for your comments chaps.

    Mic, I reckon the participants in the WSC matches, ‘Tests’, also ‘ODI’s’, should have these figures included in their official records. I’d do the same with the players in the two Rest of the World series: England 1970, Australia 1971-72.

    These matches were all against test level opponents, so it is important these contributions be recognised. Seriously if we look at many of the official tests played during the WSC schism it’d be hard in almost any comparing the Australian, West Indies, official test teams to the teams appearing in the WSC competition.

    Does the ICC have the will to grant these matches official status: Is there any one pushing for it? Certainly a case worth taking up.

    Glen!

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