OK, I just wrote this. I had a go at Ireland's George Dockrell for saying he wants to play for England, and for the rules being in place that could allow him to do so. (And have already seen Ed Joyce and Eoin Morgan flip-flop merrily between the two nations).
But I'll be fair, and look at why 81 year old 18 year old George (I liked that nickname so much I'm using it again) may want to turn in his shamrock for the three lions.
Well, the first and most obvious draw is test cricket. The pinnacle of world cricket. Everyone who's ever dreamed of playing professional cricket has dreamed of scoring the winning runs in a test. Nobody dreams about playing in the Associate Division Three. (I don't know if that league exists, I just made it up). Put simply, England play tests, and Ireland don't. And don't look like playing it in the next couple of years. So it would only be natural to try and get to play test cricket, even if it means starting afresh in a new country. It's a gamble. Ed Joyce didn't make it. Eoin Morgan did. George Dockrell would only make the switch if he felt that he has a chance to play in tests. But he would feel that it's a gamble worth taking (assuming, of course, that he does decide to hand in his Irish passport and apply for a British one).
There are other factors. Tests aside, England are just a bigger team than Ireland. They will have better facilities. The players will be better looked after off-field. And England are more likely to go out and win some things in some big competitions. As much as Irish cricket has grown over recent years, that too is something that can't be offered to Dockrell if he stays green. If he gets into the England squad, he'll be playing against, and training alongside the best players in the world week-in, week-out. He'll be able to hone his game and improve as a player. Other than the odd world tournament every couple of years, Irish cricket can't offer that either.
Dockrell has moved to Somerset on a couple of years contract. He may marry an English lady (or feller, given today's news) and have some kids who consider themselves to be English. And in time, he may to be belting out "God save the Queen" rather than "Ireland's Call" at the rugby. He may put up a St Georges flag on his roof, and get the three lions tattooed on his arm. He may eat fish and chips, washed down with cups of tea, before going on long walks through the country with his beagles. He could go home to watch the tennis, and applaud politely as Britain's number one gets knocked out in the first round. He might even induldge in a bit of binge drinking. But whatever his passport may say, George Dockrell will always be Irish, which is why as much as he may want all of that, he shouldn't be allowed to play for England.
And the same goes to any player, of any nation, who fancies swapping shirts.