Indeed, these countries produced Test cricketers.
Panama. Germany. Kuwait. Italy. Brazil. Portugal. Norway. Malaysia. Peru. Egypt. Zambia. Incredible, but these countries, and more, have produced Test cricketers.

Ever imagined if the countries like Germany, Norway, Peru, Malaysia and other non-Test playing nations — or countries that are should not have come anywhere close to cricket — will have a cricket-connection? They do not play cricket on the international level, they did give a total of 52 cricketers who eventually played for other countries. There are approximately 52 Test cricketers whose roots belonged to non-Test playing nations before they relocated to a cricket-playing country. Of these, Scotland have attained ODI status, and has produced the most number of Test cricketers — 11 — including the likes of Tom Campbell, Mike Denness, Gavin Hamilton and others. Barring Campbell, who went on to play for South Africa from 1910 and 1912, rest others represented England in the red-ball game. In fact, Hamilton played for both Scotland and England. Ten others came from Ireland, and one more from Afghanistan, both ODI sides that have now applied for Test status, though ICC have been delaying that for some reason. Here, then, is a list of 11 countries you absolutely never thought would have produced Test cricketers (do note that this list is not exhaustive):

1. Panama: Known mostly for the canal that joins the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans, Panama is an oft-ignored country in Central America that separates the two Americas. Surprisingly, the country produced a legend of the sport. George Headley was born in Panama, but his parents made sure he moved to Jamaica to pursue a better education. He ended up being the first great batsman in the history of West Indies, and finished with a mind-boggling Test average of 60.83.

2. Germany: Football. This is one word around which the German sports culture revolves. Surprisingly, two men — Donald Carr and Paul Terry — hailed from Germany and West Germany respectively. Carr and Terry played two Tests each for England. Carr made his debut against India scoring 14 and 76 runs in the first Test at Delhi in November 1951, leading on captaincy debut. Later in the series, he became the first captain to lose a Test against India, at Madras. Terry only played against West Indies, and is famous for coming out to face the fearsome fast bowlers with a broken, plastered arm.

3. Kuwait: There have been three Kuwait-born Test cricketers, all of whom have represented Pakistan in whites. Shan Masood is a regular opening batsman for Pakistan these days. Following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and the start of the Gulf War, his family left for their native Pakistan. The other two cricketers born from the Gulf nation were Shakeel Ahmed and Tanvir Ahmed.

4. Italy: Again, Italy is a country whose history is associated with tennis, Formula One and football. Did you know, one of the best Test cricketers was born in Italy? Ted Dexter, former English skipper and a charming middle-order batsman was born in Milan, the city that competes with Paris for the title of Fashion Capital of Europe. He was nicknamed ‘Lord Ted’ for his dominating game as he went on to play 62 Tests for England, scoring 4,502 runs and picked 66 wickets.

5. Brazil: Ashok Gandotra, who later went on to play two Tests for India was born in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro. Although he managed just two Tests which he played against New Zealand and Australia, he had a total of 54 First-Class matches. He represented Bengal and Delhi in the domestic circuit. He later became a tea-taster, and is a big name in the tea industry.

6. Portugal: When sport in Portugal is discussed, Eusébio, Luis Figo, Cristiano Ronaldo and Jose Mourinho come up first, all related to football. It is a sport that dominates Europe, but Portugal produced two Test cricketers — Moisés Henriques (still active) and Dick Westcott. The latter played 5 Tests for South Africa between 1954 and 1958. Meanwhile, Henriques represents Australia made his Test debut against India in 2013. Playing 3 Test matches, he so far has 156 runs and 2 wickets.

 © Getty Images
Clockwise from top left: Moises Henriques, Ted Dexter, Stephen O’Keefe, Henry Olonga, Shan Masood, John Traicos © Getty Images

7. Norway: Eiulf Peter ‘Buster’ Nupen is the only Norwegian to play Test cricket. He represent South Africa in 17 Tests, even leading the side once, against England in 1930-31, He claimed 5 for 63 and 6 for 87 in the match, leading South Africa to a victory of 28 runs.

8. Malaysia: Malaysia, the country which has produced the some excellent badminton players, did give us two Test cricketers. Lall Singh, the first Sikh to play Test cricket, was a specialist fielder who played for India in their first Test in 1932. Steven O’Keefe of Australia was also born there.

9. Peru: Peru, another nation where football and volleyball are the main sports, has produced an English Test captain. Lima-born Freddie Brown led England on their Ashes tour of 1950-51. He played 22 Tests scoring 734 runs at an average of 25.31, and 335 First-Class matches scoring 13, 325 runs with 22 centuries and 56 fifties. He also managed that ill-fated 1959-60 Ashes tour, where he infamously fell out with Jim Laker, ending the latter’s career.

10. Egypt: John Traicos is Greek, and was born in Egypt’s Zagazig — a place with next to nil cricket connection. Traicos played for 3 Tests for South Africa before their ban, led Zimbabwe in the 1987 World Cup, and ended his international career with Zimbabwe after they attained Test status. Traicos later settled down in Australia, the fifth country of his life.

11. Zambia: Henry Olonga, whose international career ended for causes greater than cricket, was born in Lusaka, Zambia. Olonga was Zimbabwe’s first black cricketer and the youngest cricketer (at that time) when he made his Test debut in 1995. He played 30 Tests before he was forced to leave the country. Along with Andy Flower, he wore black armbands protesting against the Robert Mugabe Government, and were immediately axed from the side. Olonga escaped Zimbabwe with the label of a traitor against his name. Before Olonga, Phil Edmonds, the eccentric yet brilliant left-arm spinner of Middlesex and England (51 Tests), was also born in Lusaka. However, Zambia went by the name Northern Rhodesia at that time.

(Sakshi Gupta, a reporter with CricketCountry, is a sports fanatic whose mantra in life is “do only what you enjoy.” Her Twitter handle is @sakshi2929)