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Donkin's World: Cricket Test

...I'm reminded at these matches about Norman Tebbit's infamous "cricket test" of national sympathies. Most of the Indian crowd, I would guess, would be British nationals. So shouldn't they have been supporting England? I don't see why this should be an issue. It's natural to stay close to your roots in sport. I live in Surrey today but as a Yorkshireman I know which team I want to win the county championship, and it isn't Surrey...

Richard Donkin says it takes more than a passport and an oath of loyalty to turn your back on the country of your birth.

Do please visit Richard's well-stocked Web site http://www.richarddonkin.com/

Details of his book Blood, Sweat and Tears which is acclaimed world-wide can be found here http://www.amazon.co.uk/Blood-Sweat-Tears-Evolution-Work/dp/1587990768/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1214554429&sr=1-2

I'm not sure if we could have asked for more at Lords: warm sunshine, brilliant atmosphere, great seat, fine wine and a win for England against India in the Twenty20 match.

My only regret was an evens bet with my host on India to win; not because I lost, but because it created divided loyalties at the death.

Some people say that Twenty20 isn't real cricket. Others say it's the future. In one sense it's a little bit more like football as the outcome of a match can turn on one or two incidents and that means that the best team does not always win.

It would be a shame if test cricket was allowed to decline in favour of the one-day and Twenty20 games where cash generated by TV and crowd-pulling contests might begin to overshadow the 5-day game. But if you are looking for the heart and soul, the history and the heritage of cricket, most of the events that have made it such a great game have happened in test matches.

Indian supporters easily outnumbered those for England yesterday which made for a great atmosphere in the ground. I know these are international matches but the playing of the national anthems seemed a bit out of place in this atmosphere. When the Irish lined up for their anthem in the first match, hardly anyone sang. After listening to the Irish thumping out their anthem in Croke Park at rugby matches, it seemed odd to hear it played with barely a voice raised.

I'm reminded at these matches about Norman Tebbit's infamous "cricket test" of national sympathies. Most of the Indian crowd, I would guess, would be British nationals. So shouldn't they have been supporting England? I don't see why this should be an issue. It's natural to stay close to your roots in sport. I live in Surrey today but as a Yorkshireman I know which team I want to win the county championship, and it isn't Surrey.

It takes more than a passport and an oath of loyalty to turn your back on the country of your birth, or even your parents' birth. Well, it does for some. All it took for me was an evens bet on India to win.

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