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One Word To Describe Each Test Nation

Updated: May 17

Every country playing cricket in the world has its own unique character and it’s something that makes the sport so different from any other.

When a World Cup occurs or two nations face off against each other in a series, you are reminded of the different personalities that are involved.

The 12 Test playing nations have their own distinctive style and idiosyncratic route that led them to the top. Without any one of them the game would be weaker for their absence. So here is just one or two words of what each team brings to the world of cricket and what cricket means to them.

Afghanistan - Phoenix

One of the greatest sporting stories of all time, personified through the rise of young leg spinner and captain Rashid Khan who learned the art of cricket, like so many others in the country, in refugee camps in Pakistan. Their rise from an outpost of world cricket to an international conveyor belt of spinners is the most fantastic story and everything that cricket is about!

West Indies - Flair

My esteemed colleague Matt Butcher once referred to the West Indies as the ‘Brazil of cricket’ and I don’t think he’s far wrong.

The West Indies have always provided style and swashbuckling cricket in abundance. From Sir Viv Richards to Sir Curtly Ambrose flair and excitement has always been a key part in the style of cricket played in the Caribbean.

India - Religion

For fans in India, cricket goes beyond being a sport - it is a religion that unifies a country of 1.3 billion people. The clamour that their gods of cricket receive is beyond compare. Sachin Tendulkar, MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli are deities in India and are unable to walk in the streets without being mobbed. The excitement and fervour that cricket generates there is a sight to behold.

Sri Lanka - Invention

Lasith Malinga, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Muttiah Muralitheran are all some of the greatest creators of new and novel techniques in the game to get ahead of the opposition. Every couple of years or so, Sri Lanka seem to churn out a player with a bizarrely inventive approach to the game, the most recent of which being Kamindu Mendis, the ambidextrous cricketer. This inventiveness always makes Sri Lanka worth a watch!

England - Tradition

The Home of Cricket

(Photo Credit: "Lord's Cricket Ground" by jimbowen0306 is licensed under CC BY 2.0)

The inventors of the game have some of the best traditions in the world of cricket. Historic venues are dotted across the land from professional settings such as the Home of Cricket, Lords, to every day village grounds where cricket has been played for hundreds of years. The MCC, based at Lords, are the upholders of the laws of cricket as they have been so since 1744. Not afraid of change however, England was also the inventor of T20 cricket and recently launched the Hundred!

Bangladesh - Passion

When Bangladesh win, the streets of Dhaka are filled with people. Wherever Bangladesh play, tigers and green shirts are aplenty. I was lucky enough to watch a Champions Trophy game involving Bangladesh at Edgbaston in 2017 and the atmosphere was something I’d never seen before. The noise and the crowd were spectacular, even as a neutral you couldn’t help but get sucked into the fervour.

South Africa - Toughness

The South African team in any decade can always be relied on to fight to the last. They have a history of a number of stubborn and hard nosed cricketers, players you always want on your team rather than against you. Allan Donald, Kagiso Rabada, Graeme Smith, Hashim Amla the list goes on.

New Zealand - Dark Horses

Always overlooked in every series and always manages to pull something out of the bag. Currently experiencing a golden generation, the likes of Wagner, Southee, Taylor and Boult led by the magnificent Kane Williamson are one of the best sides in the world but never seem to be recognised as such. They could also quite easily be described as nice guys: they always play cricket in a way that is a credit to their nation.

Pakistan - Resilience

For a nation to be starved if the sport it loves for so long is incredibly tough but the fact that Pakistan has managed to fight on and thrive despite the limitations against its fans has been remarkable. Despite the lack of cricket the country has seen within its borders since 2009, Pakistan still managed to win the Champions Trophy and go to number 1 in the Test rankings. Thankfully it looks as though international teams are beginning to head back to this cricket mad country once again.

Australia - Pride

Australian’s are an immensely proud people when it comes to cricket and they usually churn out the results to prove it and are never far off the top. The greatest symbol of this pride comes in the presentation of the baggy green, the ultimate prize for any Australian who has put in the years of blood, sweat and toil to reach the pinnacle of the game.

Ireland - Surprises

Ireland’s rise to Test match cricket has been very much based on its ability to consistently spoil the party for the other team. From World Cup wins to bowling out England at Lords for 85; Ireland always seems to pack a surprise punch when teams expect to roll them over. With Ireland now in the big time, I’m sure we can expect more Test surprises from them.

Zimbabwe - Rebuild

At the turn of the millennium, it looked as though Zimbabwe could become a force of cricket but due to a number of players boycotting the team and the country, Zimbabwe struggled through without some of its star players. Now some players are beginning to return and so are some of the results such as a recent ODI victory in Pakistan. Much like Ireland and Afghanistan, Zimbabwe can begin to grow cricket once again from scratch.

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