Tuesday, 29 July 2014

ANOTHER VIEW OF THE COMMONWEALTH GAMES

Guest Post by Wilson Crichton


I've been following the Commonwealth Games, enjoying the sport and deploring BBC Scotland's coverage. It seems that it doesn't matter that a Scot, in Scotland, can have his or her name garbled on BBC Scotland – M'Clean or Muhdok for instance – but that's OK since we are about to see the wonderful wonderfulness of another wonderful English athlete performing wonderfully......... Truly, the athletes of all nations are wonderful and their skills are awesome (and yes, I mean the English ones too), but the commentators' gushing I can do without.
 
“One more astonishing addition to “our” medal haul – oh! And Scotland did do quite well too” – type of comment hunted me away from the telly to look at the medal table to see the wonderful astonishingness of it all. First thing I noticed was Scotland has a lot of medals (ya dancer). Our haul is great compared with previous games. I wondered if there was a different but equally wonderfully valid way of looking at the medal tables. So, the obvious thing for me is to try put the performances on an equal footing, so how do the medal standings line up on a per capita basis...

Digging into worldpopulationreview.com/countries/, I found estimates for the population of all countries in the medal table for July 28th except Isle of Man and Northern Ireland. These I picked up from google. Divide the population in millions  into the medal haul for each country, and order by Gold, Silver and Bronze in that order and by quantity (I think that's consistent with the conventional medals standings), lead to quite a wonderful set of results.

Pop x106
medal standing
total Gold
total Silver
total Bronze
Grand Total
1
5.2
3
SCO
2.50
1.54
2.31
6.35
2
1.1
14
CYP
1.82
1.82
1.82
5.45
3
4.5
6
NZL
1.78
1.78
2.44
6.00
4
23.3
1
AUS
1.29
1.07
1.37
3.73
5
3
8
WAL
1.00
3.00
3.33
7.33
6
2.8
13
JAM
0.71
0.71
1.07
2.50
7
5.3
11
SIN
0.57
0.19
0.19
0.94
8
56.1
2
ENG
0.48
0.43
0.41
1.32
9
35.1
5
CAN
0.26
0.09
0.34
0.68
10
52.9
4
RSA
0.17
0.13
0.15
0.45
11
29.8
9
MAS
0.10
0.17
0.13
0.40
12
44.6
12
KEN
0.04
0.07
0.00
0.11
13
22.4
15
CMR
0.04
0.04
0.04
0.13
14
173.6
10
NGR
0.02
0.02
0.02
0.06
15
1255.7
7
IND
0.01
0.01
0.01
0.02

Nations with populations of 5.3 millions or less dominate the top 7 places in this medal standing with the notable exception of Australia. Is Australia different because it has a sport oriented culture? Maybe the real exception for Australia is her performance should lie between Singapore and England (based purely on a shakey working hypothesis and her population), but she has defied this by developing her sports as she has – well done Australia! 

The group following from places 8 to 13 have populations from 30 to 56 millions. With the exception being Cameroon, having a somewhat lesser population. Similar in population to Australia but with a much reduced medals performance by comparison. Perhaps she too, should perform somewhere between Singapore and England if my cod analysis has merit. I'd say wealth plays its part in this equation. That said, Cameroon is only behind South Africa and Kenya, thus being the top three African nations - Go Cameroon!

You'd imagine that this group of countries would have a commensurately greater pool of athletes to develop and choose from. So, there would be more qualifiers, in a greater number of events, and those that did qualify would be more likely to win, not so though.

No surprise that the top of this table is dominated by relatively wealthy countries in the commonwealth (so the wealth isn't so common after all). 

To change tack slightly, years back, football pundits explained we are too small to compete and that was why we no longer qualified for the World Cup or the European Cup. I guess I accepted that at face value. I supposed the same rational applied to our rugby team. But, now I wonder. The data from the 28th. July suggests that wee countries can do very well in a basket of sports if there's some money to spend, so why should football and rugby be different? Do we expect to fail and so when we're proven correct, we developed a self re-inforcing failure spiral?

Good to see Scotland at the top of a virtuous table though, with Wales up there too. Maybe someone with a more socio/sport/economics background could make better sense of this or even just blow it out of the water."
++++++++++
Munguin says that he was going to go in for the Games, but he simply couldn't trust Tris to run the Republic while he was away. Tris pointed out that being pompous while looking cute wasn't on the list of games, but...it fell on deaf furry ears, like most of what Tris says.

38 comments:

  1. Welsh women's hockey team.
    I bet that doesn't get on BBC Wales.
    http://dailywales.net/2014/07/29/police-clamp-down-on-yes-stickers-while-team-england-invades-wales/

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    1. Amazing. SCottish and Southern, are please to support team England, are they?

      I hope they lose some Scottish custom after that.

      Thanks to the Welsh Hockey Team from their support though.

      Delete
  2. Well done us and well done Wales, England and Northern Ireland. Doesn't mean I want them to make my decisions.

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    1. I'd add well done to India and Pakistan, and IoM and Jersey and Guernsey, not to mention Nigeria, Ghana, Canada, New Zealand... and all the other fantastic team without which the whole thing would be pointless.

      I really thought that the idea of sport was ...erm sport. Win or not, participating and doing your best was the name od the game.

      But with so much money around I guess that's no longer possible.

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  3. Well done to all the small nations of the Commonwealth specially those who made the leap to Independence, they have not watched their country being trashed by their neighbour,
    As for Munguin, these furries all have ideas well beyond their station in life now, living with the likes of peasants like us. Mine still has this idea he is living with the Emperor of the Chin and is a Prince and therefore expects some sort of decent level of service and the odd cow tow. In his dreams.

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    1. Hear Hear.

      By the way Munguin says it's Mr Munguin to you!!!

      Delete
  4. I read somewhere can't remember where, that Australia spends a huge amount of cash on its athletes, but then again they can afford to do that,they're not sending their cash to another government in another country, then, receiving pocket money back, we are.

    An independent Scotland could and would be able to fund athletes to a higher degree and standard, just now our athletes need to head to England for the best facilities to train in, independence will free up enough cash to build top class facilities here and let our promising athletes train here in Scotland.

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    1. Amazing the things you can do when you don;t have to send troops to wherever America is fighting their latest war, so that you look like you have clout. Amazing what you can find money to do when you don't have a house of parasites to pay for, or a royal family to keep in helicopters and special flights so they can watch golf matches.

      Amazing when you don;t have to pay a tenth of your neighbours high speed trail, or capital city's sewers, of underground rail links...

      And utterly incredible when you don't have to pay for a pin on hairy chest in the form of nuclear weapons. like you were the USA or China.

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  5. Totally agree about the EBC *cough* Scottish division (Or should that be divisive in Scotland). Surely each *ahem* home nation could have had, partisan, commentators of their own. Nice to see our competitors doing so well, with or without the table above.
    JimnArlene

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    1. Yes, I think the Welsh are rather annoyed about it too.

      England seems to matter more than the rest of us.

      Ever thus!

      Delete
  6. tris


    Commonwealth Games spectator ejected over Yes flag

    Ummm wondered where had Taz got to !!

    See Cameron has took to acting as a latter day Eliot ness only not busting
    gangsters but unemployed immigrants..how tough is that .. tv cameras and reporters just happened to pass by lucky old them ..

    Its all bit demeaning for the Prime minster to be behaving like a second rate actor
    in gangster b movie.....

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    1. Well it has come to this, I'm agreeing with Nico.
      It'd be better if he was raiding his tax avoiding friends though.
      JimnArlene

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    2. jimn

      In me weird world of madness there is a scintilla of sense...methinks !!

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    3. Nico, forseuth, there is hope for thee yet.
      JimnArlene

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    4. Taz likes a bit of sport and I don't see why he always has to ask your permission to go anywhere. Anyway I hope he took the rozzers's leg off. Didn't evict the union t shirt wearing couple next to him did they? Nope, Just picked on a poor wee doggie!

      Yes, Cameron knows that the Daily Mail readers and the UKIP voting public (and this own bunch of right wing fascists) love it when he talks tough and dirty to foreigners.

      There will be colonels and their memsahibs in Eastbourne absolutely salivating over this news.

      He appears to have signed a deal with Obama to keep his weapons of mass destruction here for another 10 years too. You'd think he might have mentioned that to parliament. Not that he'd have got much in the way of argument from that supine bunch of Tories.

      You see, when the moon is in the right phase, JnA, he's quite human and rather loveable.

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  7. Cameron nuclear deal behind parliaments back
    theguardian.com/world/defence-and-security-blog/2014/jul/29/nuclear-weapons-us-uk-cooperation
    JimnArlene

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    1. LOL Just mentioned it above... sorry, I didn't see that there.

      Good old Cameron. Right wing loonie.

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  8. My favourite is when they completely forget that the Games are in Glasgow at all and talk about the magnificent home support for team England. The BBC has made its stance abundantly clear but it's a real shame that they have chosen to cover the Commonwealth games this way. Still, we can change all this come September.

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    1. It's unbelievable. Clearly the BBC's home country is England and as their people didn't have to go through Customs or Passport Control on the way here, they just think that Glasgow is another of these northern English towns that they sometimes have to do things in... a bit like Manchester, Newcastle or Liverpool, but with natives that speak even more incomprehensibly.

      Never mind, they will soon be back down at the centre of the universe surrounded by civilised people again.

      Delete


  9. Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games has now officially been taken over by the Home Counties BBC and has become the Home Counties Commonwealth Games.


    In case anyone thinks they have seen this before, yes I stuck it on WoS and have posted it here to check out if I can post here again after technical difficulties
    It is taking place on, “home territory.”

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  10. Bugger, the last sentence belongs directly below the first paragraph

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    1. Yes BLP. It's just tiresome that they are having to stay in hotels and there aren't any of the restaurants that they are used to where they can rub shoulders with minor royals, artistos, MPs, tv "stars" and proper BBC types. Has ANYONE form BBC Scotland been used?

      I hope your technical difficulties are resolved...

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  11. Tris

    Must admit I have been very disappointed with the coverage from the BBC to be honest. I accept that I am sensitive to anything braocast by them but overall the coverage and commentary has been very very poor. Things that have gotten on my nerves:

    You wouldn't think the games were being hosted by Scotland given the total lack of the use of the word.
    English athletes take preference over all other nations, this morning it started with a run down on all of the English athletes going today.
    Watched a bit of the bowling this morning, again English bowler with a Scottish bowler in the next lane, no mention of the Scottish score.
    The constant use of us and we for desrcibing england, the constant cheering of english athletes by all the commentators over everyone else.
    Cutting the bowls gold win to watch a non placing hockey match involving England.
    No prominant Scottish presenters at all, it appears the BBC have shipped in everyone but Scots.
    Mainly English sports commentators other than Chris Hoy who might as well be British only given his determination not to use the words Scottish and yes.
    Using the words home nations or copmmonwealth athlete to describe Scotlands athletes.

    The list sadly goes on and no matter ghow sensitive I am to YES or the bias of the BBC it really has been yet again a poor display byt the BBC. For them England = Britain. The diving starts today so no doubt it will be wall to wall Daly at the expense of everyone else. And if I hear the words Lord Coe again I will scream, the guy is a tory clown and I don't care what anyone says. Sorry for the rant but the BBC have really spoilt the little bits I've watched.

    Bruce

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    1. Good list Bruce. Probably you should send it to the BBC, but they won't do anything about it.

      The likelihood is that they have annoyed some wavering voters, and proved that British is England is Britian one more time... unfortunately right before the vote.

      Who knows, they are such a bunch of incompetents.

      It has made me cancel my licence fee though. They get no more money from me.

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  12. well, the population of Cyprus is only 839,000; it comes 1.1 million if one includes the Turkish occupied area which does not count towards the team at the games...would you recalculate your numbers for Cyprus?

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    1. Question for the author, Philip....

      Over to you Mr C!

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    2. Hi Philip,

      The new number will be the ratio of 1.1/.84 times the tabulated figure, 1.82. By my calculation, the new number is 2.38 - hurray for Cyprus!. Sorry if I inadvertently stepped on anyone's toes.

      Obviously, the table above is now well out of date, but despite this wee update, I think my story still holds together (well, as much as it did in the first place!).

      All the Best

      Wilson

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  13. Hello, Commentators.

    Thanks for taking the time to read my wee skit. Thanks to Tris too for publishing it under Munguin's stern gaze.

    The BBC Scotland's efforts at broadcasting the Games has shown it to be not fit-for-purpose to represent Scottish life and values. The messages that have come from the broadcasts say one of two things to me:

    that BBC Scotland believes itself incapable of broadcasting the games from its own resources, thus revealing an unprepared, incompetent and unambitious organisation.

    or, that BBC HQ elbowed the northern branch to one side to ensure its audience in the south was not subjected to odd words and strange, funny and/or incomprehensible accents. A gutless organisation allowing itself to be pushed about on its own turf.

    As Michael Miles might say "Take your Pick"....

    All the Best

    Wilson

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  14. Thanks to you for writing it Wilson..

    Much appreciated.

    It did pretty well on views too!!!

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  15. When calculating the population-adjusted medal haul for Scotland, did you first exclude any medals earned by athletes born, raised, educated, trained, sponsored and currently residing in England? Those athletes for whose skills development and success we in Scotland can claim no justifiable credit? Daniels Keating and Purvis spring immediately to mind; there may be more.

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    1. Why pick England? Why pick Scotland?

      Do the Games organisers count that kind of thing?

      ...Once you start doing that, you must calculate who else in the Commonwealth ever trained in another country and how much time they did so, and how much of an effect that might have on their performance.

      Today athletes train all over the world. Many British Olympians have trained in Spain or in the USA. Sometimes because the facilities are better, sometime because the weather is better and they can work more outdoors.

      Are you saying for example that the time someone like Tom Daley spent in America means that the USA should get a portion of his silver medal?

      Seems like even a PhD thesis wouldn't expect that kind of depth.

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    2. "Pick" England/Scotland? me or the athletes? Athletes' reasons vary. The author picked Scotland, as do others who attempt to make the same point about Scotland's population-adjusted medal haul. I picked England because articles like the one above invite, if not make, the comparison - since England heads the conventional medals table - and because for many disciplines (notably gymnastics, swimming, diving and cycling), the "home nations" team training and funding (public and private) are heavily concentrated in England, with the overriding and most often invoked allegiance of those athletes being to the one home - GB&NI - team.

      My question was provoked by the Herald's article "Scots vie for top spot in the 'real' Games medal table", singling out Daniel Keatings as a prime example of Scotland's high achievement in population-adjusted medal tables. Dan is English by birth, education, training, residence and sponsorship (even his "Edinburgh" dad sounds English; I don't know about his mum). I have a Welsh grandmother, and I've trained in Cyprus, but if I claimed to be Welsh or Cypriot it would be considered laughable ... presumably right up to the point where I proved capable of winning a CWG medal.

      Keatings (and Daniel Purvis) might well have "opted to represent Team Scotland" (the Herald's choice of words) in view of the fact that the GB gymnastics team is so stuffed with talent these days that the only way all its potential medal winners can hope to compete at the highest level before their skills decline or bodies disintegrate (which is, after all, the point of elite training) is by splitting into more teams. The CWG tradition of so many separate British nations happily provides them with that opportunity.

      Nobody in their right mind would insist, for example, on the cyclist Craig MacLean joining the England team on the basis that he trains in Manchester and calls it home (I heard him do so just yesterday), even as tit-for-tat for the English-born and raised judoka Sarah Clark who says she joined the Scottish team on the basis that she trains and lives in Edinburgh. I'm sure there are more exact equivalents.

      I'd simply argue that "optional" Scottishness is an embarrassingly shaky foundation for any suggestion of Scottish sporting superiority, or for the construction of a truly "virtuous" (the author's word) medal chart, and that any but the most trivial measure of our population-adjusted success should surely exclude those athletes wholly born, raised and trained outside Scotland, who have never constituted any part of our population. To use their sporting success in support of our independence, as some have, demeans that discussion.

      I'm well aware that the training and funding arrangements of elite athletes are complicated, that some enjoy dual citizenship (British nationality per se is a complex issue with ever-changing eligibility criteria), that some are naturalised citizens on account of their choice of residence as adults, that many (if not all) who train abroad are still funded to do so by UK taxpayers and lottery gamblers. Et cetera.

      For the purposes of a medal chart, it would impracticable to try to tease out the percentage of credit due to USA training facilities for Tom Daley's various medals, or credit due any nation for an athlete's parents' or grandparents' nationality, though I can't help thinking it would be a fascinating exercise, given the apparent fluidity of nationality options in the sporting context.

      But a PhD thesis? Well yes, it would require that kind of depth, and more, to be able to successfully defend a PhD thesis on the subject. Without the proper controls and corrections, any observations it made would amount to nothing more than unsubstantiated anecdote.

      Though we might be better off studying how the publicly-funded and increasing CWG and Olympic success of our elite athletes compares with levels of public health and fitness.

      Delete
    3. Fair comment.

      Athletes have always done this kind of thing though

      Didn't Zola Budd, a South African, run for England at some point because she had some sort of Grandmother connection... and possibly (I don't know) an aversion to running for the apartheid regime.

      One of the things that I feel about sport (and in theory the English claimed quality of "fair play"), is that all this winning and doing it for your country ... are a load of bull.

      Playing is what it is about. I think that some of the countries who competed didn't win anything...Jersey and Guernsey come immediately to mind. Who cares? They had a blast. Per capita of course they are far richer than Scots or English, but they are smaller. It is quite likely that their athletes use either French or English facilities to train. My Jersey mate tells me that he as a youth spent most weekends over in France (a short journey).

      If I were good enough to compete, I'd compete for myself, to push myself to do the best i could. I'm not interested in doing things for a country.

      I'm not sure I understand this patriotism in sport.

      Recently I read an article in "Private Eye" where they pointed out some of the England football team (in Brazil) saying what a huge massive honour it was to play for their country. They would do their damndest FOR ENGLAND.

      The author wondered why it was that this patriotic fervour didn;t extend to paying tax on their massive earnings, given that almost to a man they had some sort of scheme to reduce their tax take.

      Fair enough, I say. If I were rich I'd probably want to reduce my tax take, but I think I'd probably have the sense to not then babble on about how much it meant to me to play for my country and for its honour.

      Delete
    4. How many members representing England at cricket have been born there and have not already played for their country of birth?

      It seems that to play for England at cricket all you need to have done is drink a pint of Fuller's London Pride in the bar at the Heathrow transit lounge or their Mother have had a Bristol brand cigarette?

      Delete
    5. Oh Lordy, I have absolutely no bloody idea at all.

      I went to school in England and they insisted we play cricket there.

      I have NEVER been so bored in all my life. I hadn't a clue what was going on and no one bothered to explain it. Eventually I decided that a Wednesday afternoon off was a better idea than cricket.

      So I know NOTHING about who plays for them, or why they do.

      I'll take your word that they have to drink London Pride!

      Delete
    6. Budd did indeed claim British nationality on the basis of a British grandfather, possibly not so much because of a personal aversion to apartheid so much as circumstances arising from international athletics bodies' aversion to it; they were excluding South Africa from international meets and even refused to recognise one of Budd's world record times because she'd run it in SA. Her GB eligibility was rushed through in time for her to compete in the 1984 Olympics, though the famous crash with Mary Decker spoiled it for both of them. By Barcelona ('92) she was South African again, though she lives in the USA now, I think.

      There was another South African, the swimmer Annette Cowley, who had applied to compete for England in the 1986 CWG (Edinburgh's "unfriendly games") by virtue of having an English mother, and who, along with Zola Budd, was denied that right. The Commonwealth officials were apparently attempting to appease nations threatening a boycott over Thatcher's opposition to economic sanctions against South Africa, but their ruling had little if any effect; 32 teams boycotted, and only 26 competed. Bermudan athletes, desperate to compete, were promised the support of their Premier in a last-minute 'phone call home, and dashed to the end of the opening ceremony procession to be greeted with one of the biggest cheers of the night, only for Bermuda to join the boycott after all.

      I assume Cowley had swum in England squad qualifiers for the 1986 CWG; at any rate, after South Africa were welcomed back into the fold for the 1992 Olympics, she wasn't allowed to compete there for SA on the grounds that she'd already represented England. Ouch!

      I agree that even outwith the specific issue I mulled over above, there's a huge amount of bull in the assertion that athletes are competing for their country, but it's likely the story they/sports commentators/politicans think we want to hear ("Him indoors" was a soldier, and he reckons not even soldiers do it primarily for their country, but for their mates; though he wonders whether that's to do with there being fewer wars). I reckon mostly athletes do it for, and in friendly but fierce competition with, their teammates, and because it becomes an obsession, or a needful ritual and exploration of their own physical limitations. What a pleasure to discover and properly explore a natural talent; we should be offering all kids the opportunity to be really good at something, but do we? Do we hell!

      Football player's motivations are inevitibly contaminated by the obscene amounts of money washing around in the sport. There's persuasive research (eg a video on youtube "RSA Animate - Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us"), concluding that enormous "compensation packages" are actually detrimental to productivity in creative professions, though they improve it in the sort of menial, repetitive jobs that typically offer the lowest pay. If they embraced the concept of recognising their good fortune and paying their taxes, they might well find themselves happier, and playing better, as a result. Instead, they probably try the "Digby Jones" defence that they buy stuff that incurs VAT and employ staff who pay their own taxes, so they are contributing tax.

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    7. @ Bugger Le Panda ... I like to watch the cricket myself, but I'm currently better at identifying Indian players rather than English, thanks to the virtual absence of cricket on free-to-view TV other than the IPL for these past few years. Now it's been sold to the highest bidder (there's been a Murdoch, but not in a good way) I'd better learn some English players, while channel 5's still seeing fit to show the odd hour of Test highlights.

      Briefly, a cricketer qualifies to play for England (Test or ODI) if
      (a) he is either a British citizen or an Irish citizen; and either
      (i) born within England and Wales; or
      (ii) resident ** in England and Wales for the immediately preceding four consecutive years; and
      (b) he has not during the immediately preceding four consecutive years either
      (i) played cricket for any Full Member Country except England at under 17 level or above, or
      (ii) played First Class Cricket in any Full Member Country outside England and Wales, except as an overseas cricketer.
      ** spending at least 210 days in each year ending 1st April within England and Wales.

      If I have this right, of this last year's England pool of Test and ODI players, 25 were born and raised in England. As to the rest:

      Prior: born South Africa; English father; moved to England aged 11. English to all intents and purposes.

      Stokes: born In New Zealand: moved to England aged 12. English to all intents and purposes.

      Dernbach: born in South Africa: moved to England aged 14. Played rugby union in SA; switched to cricket in England. Has British citizenship. English to all intents and purposes, though his mother's Italian and he apparently also holds an Italian passport.

      Ballance: born in Zimbabwe: played for Zimbabwe U-19s before moving to England aged 16 to continue his schooling; English county cricket since 2006; debuted for England last year aged 24.

      Lumb: born in South Africa to a Yorkshireman; father and son both played for Yorkshire, Lumb Jr debuting there in 2000 aged 20; first England t20 cap at the age of 30.

      Robson: born in Australia; English mother; played U-19 for Australia in 2007, aged 17-18; English county cricket since 2008; has British and Australian nationality; qualified by residency to play for England last year aged 24.

      Trott: born in South Africa and played for SA U-19s, holds a British passport; English county cricket since 2002; entitled to play for England on account of English grandparents and qualification by residency. Debuted for England ODI and Test teams in 2009 aged 28, after a spell in the English Lions.

      Jordan: born in Barbados to Barbadian-born parents; maternal grandparents British. Completed his education on a sporting scholarship at Dulwich College school, London. Entitled to play for either West Indies or England, he chose England, and debuted last year aged 24, though prior to that he'd played a couple of winter seasons for Barbados. English county cricket since 2007.

      Morgan: Irish but decided he wanted to play Test cricket for England aged 13 while attending school in England ("... the people at home involved in cricket, they were like, “Fair play, it’s going to be unbelievable if you make it” "); only full members of the ICC can play a full schedule of international cricket, including tests, and Ireland is as yet only an associate member, eligible to play official ODI and T20 only. Played English county cricket since 2006 and in ODIs for Ireland before being called up for the England Test team aged 20.

      Rankin: born in Northern Ireland; played for Ireland in every age group from U-13 upwards, playing English county cricket since 2006; also played for England Lions. In 2012, aged 28, announced he was leaving the Ireland team in hopes of playing Test cricket for England, with a less hectic schedule than that involved in playing all three teams. Debuted for England last year.

      Pietersen: born in South Africa; English mother. Played for KwaZulu Natal aged 17-20. English county cricket since 2000; debuted for England in 2004 aged 24.

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  16. What is your opinion about the Commonwealth Games? Is it for fun or is there a reason to it?

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