In my book on cricket and law there is a chapter on an unhappy saga from the mid-1990s, when a part-time cricket writer called Robert Henderson had a piece published in a well-established cricket magazine. The piece argued that foreigners should not play cricket for England. This was a common enough argument, then as now, but Mr Henderson also extended his argument to say that ethnic minorities should not be selected either. A great storm of protest erupted, leading to High Court writs being filed.
I will not repeat the details here, but would note that Mr Henderson has continued to express his views via his own website to the present day, though he has been shunned by the mainstream cricket media. Recently he has written a blog banging the same drum:
I will not repeat the arguments against Henderson's views on foreigners in sport that I have made in my book. Instead I will simply observe that his arguments fail on their own terms.
First, England losing to the All Blacks in New Zealand is truly a dog-bites-man story. England has won a grand total of two tests on New Zealand soil in its entire history, even throughout all the years in which they had teams selected from a pool of players of which Henderson would have approved. It would have been astonishing had they even won one test, and it is commendable that they ran the All Blacks reasonably close at times.
No-one else wins in New Zealand consistently either - not even South Africa or Australia (before the 1990s, Australia's record in particular was utterly abysmal in NZ). And, if anything, New Zealand has a more multicultural team than England, having for years shamelessly utilized the resources of South Pacific nations (something I have never been happy about, since it is unfair on the island nations).
Secondly, England's cricketing woes can hardly be laid at the door of the so-called foreign players, since it was with the likes of Pietersen, Trott and Pryor that they won the Ashes four times this century and a variety of other matches as well. To be sure, not all the players seemed to have their heart set on England (we can be fairly sure of Andrew Strauss's view of one of them, at least), but I do not think that England's Ashes failure in Australia over the winter was much to do with nationality.
Thirdly, I am not much of a footballing expert, but I did not meet a single English person who thought England stood a chance in Brazil, since aside from anything else no European team has ever won a world cup in that Continent. Spain, Portugal and Italy did not fare much better either. Spain and Italy have substantial leagues like England, though they have won recent World Cups. For what it's worth, it seems to me that English football has always been more of a club sport than a national one, and that was a mentality which existed long before any grand foreign influx into the game.