By Stephen Wagg
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Test Matches and Misses

This article is over 22 years, 4 months old
Could I make a couple of adjustments to Mike Gonzalez's article on 'Britishness' (January SR)?
Issue 260

Firstly, Norman Tebbit’s infamous ‘cricket test’ of 1990 was not designed to test immigrants’ knowledge of cricket. He called specifically for white British people to note who black British people were cheering for when England played the West Indies. If they supported the West Indies (and he knew, of course, that most of them did) then the implication was that they therefore constituted some sporting version of ‘the enemy within’.

Secondly, the West Indies first beat England in a test match in 1950, not 1963. Indeed, they won the series of that year three-one. The shock of the establishment at this may have been partly mitigated by the fact that the West Indies still had a white captain–the Barbadian John Goddard–and Britain still had its colonies in the Caribbean. In test cricket between England and the West Indies, the first serious manifestations of anti-colonialism and white anxiety were probably seen on England’s tour of the Caribbean, when England captain Len Hutton was accused of disdaining local dignitaries, and numerous Caribbean whites told Hutton’s players that they were now cheering for England.

Stephen Wagg

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