There is yet another reason being given for Australia's loss in the Ashes - "The administrators can't get past thinking that anybody but a white Anglo guy with blonde hair should be in the team." It's very easy to believe that, say, particular players of Indian origin have been ignored or even discourage where white players of similar ability in some places at various levels. It also seems that at the higher levels, Australian cricket does over-represent a particular Australian sub-culture. However, there are so many things wrong with this SMH article and even the editorial that it's hard to know where to start.
Let's start with the use of language. It's hard to take seriously any article which implies that "ethnic" is something a person can be. A member of the ethnic majority isn't from a vacuum - the dominance of their culture doesn't mean that their ethnicity is not there, or even that it should be treated as a default.
Then there are the countries raised in comparison. There is a pretty obvious difference between South Africa and Australia, and I don't mean the affirmative action selection policies. In the "Rainbow Nation", the (white) traditional cricketing cultures are a minority. Even taking into account the disproportionate interest in cricket among some of the other groups, there is a comparatively huge talent pool which was previously ignored. Australia is home to many ethnicities these days, but Anglo-Celtic roots still form a majority.
What about England? There are two issues here. The editorial refers to southern Asians and South Africans. Many of the South Africans moved to England for cricketing reasons. Cricket Australia possibly could broaden the available talent pool by opening domestic cricket up to more disgruntled Saffers and others, but that's hardly got anything to do with giving all Australians a fair go, has it? (It's also worth remembering that while you would expect the selectors to make use of the situation, the ECB did not deliberately bring this on - it is a result of EU laws and trading agreements.) Strauss is a different case - he is at least as English as Symonds is Australian.
The increasing success of English cricketers with subcontinental backgrounds is a great story, but it is hardly surprising that it has been emulated to the same extent in Australia. The "Asian or Britsh Asian" category makes up 4% of the British population, while the equivalent communities in Australia account for well less than 2%. When we're talking about less than 30 South Asians in 20 county squads and one player in 6 state teams, that's a significant difference in available talent. What's more, the British Asian community is well established. In contrast, about a third of the Australian numbers are due to arrivals in the last 5 years, who are less likely to be top level cricketers. On top of that, given the way interest in cricket among the general English public is so low (compared with Australia, anyway), it is perhaps more surprising that the Asian communities haven't made even more of an impact on top-level cricket.
Now for the claims made about Australian cricket, starting with the dismissal of Greek and Chinese Australians as unlikely to play the game. Over several years helping with my youngest brother's team, it did include the expected Anglos, an Sri Lankan, an Indian and (if I remember correctly) a couple of Bangladeshis, but the coach was Greek and there was no shortage of Macedonians. If anything, the fact that names such as Katich, Hauritz, Krejza, Hilfenhaus and Kasprowicz are not singled out in the same way as the equally "exotic" Porplyzia, Petrovski, or Fevola simply shows that youngsters with "unusual" backgrounds have wholeheartedly taken up cricket and the Australian cricketing culture together. However uniform Australia's top-level cricket culture is, it doesn't depend on an Anglo background. It could be pointed out that the players mentioned are all white-skinned, but then there is Andrew Symonds.
I have only mentioned recent Test players. At the next level, there have been names like Ronchi, Scuderi, Di Venuto, Nikitaras and Chee Quee. Reading these, it's conceivable that cricket clubs have been more open to assimilating "newcomers" than to those coming with an established cricket culture - Khawaja is indeed the first local with a subcontinental background to make it onto the first class books. Also, the explanation that Asian Australian cricketers and their families place more emphasis on study and work is cliched, but not completely devoid of truth. Similar principles no doubt mould the subculture of high level Australian cricket even within the Anglo population. However, whatever factors are at play, they can't be too significant - around 10 southern Asian names in Sydney's 20 first grade XIs on any weekend compares fairly well with the English counties. Those looking to Asia for an answer to Australia's recent cricketing woes would be better off criticising immigration policies of the 50s and 60s than recent actions of cricket clubs.
Of course, the one thing the editorial gets spot on is the statement that "There are increasing numbers of players at grassroots level from southern Asia". That increase will only continue. Australian cricket needs to be ready to grow through this, and not just by expecting all the talent to fall into the traditional opportunities.