Wednesday, 5 June 2013

A Separate Wales Team

Cricket has been a game given by Britain to most of the established teams. However one of the most conspicuous absence from International cricket has been a Wales Cricket Team. It is surprising because we see other members of United Kingdom like Ireland(N Ireland plays as part of Ireland) and Scotland also playing and having decent standards. It becomes even more surprising when we get to know that channel Islands of Jersey and Guernsey have their own separate teams!!

When we look at other sports Wales has it's own separate team. The English Wales rivalry is well known in both Rugby Union and League. Wales also has it's separate team in other sports like Football, Hockey or Basketball.

So that brings us to a question what about Wales team? Well to start with Wales are represented in cricket. How, the England team we know that plays is actually not a England team but rather a England and Wales Team. Yes and the Board ECB is actually England and Wales Cricket Board with W surprisingly ommitted

It is not like Wales never had a team. Infact Wales team used to play against visiting teams like New Zealand, South Africa and West Indies during 20's & 30's. They infact have managed to defeat West Indies in the past. Wales also participated in the 1979 ICC trophy. They did very well in the group winning 2 matches, losing 1 and 1 match abandoned against the Sri Lanka, who narrowly piped them on Run Rate to qualify for the Semi Finals.

There always have been demand for a separate Wales team. The treatment given by ECB (With W missing) is not appreciated in Wales. Lately the demand for a Wales team are growing louder with the issue being raised in the Welsh Parliament. However can a Wales team actually be successful. There are many factors which suggest a affirmative answer.

To start with the domestic number of players in Wales is higher than both for that of Ireland and Scotland. Glamorgan the County team representing Wales has won the county championship 3 times while Ireland, Scotland, Denmark and Netherlands who have taken part in county could not even come close to such performances.

Wales also have got the infrastructure in form of the Swalec stadiums which is one of the 12 stadiums of England. Not only this a Wales team when last played had actually defeated England and Welsh Player like Simon Jones was instrumental in helping England win the Ashes.

With such good prospects I expect the Welsh team to actually do very well internationally and can easily challenge the likes of teams like Bangladesh, Zimbabwe,Ireland or Scotland. A Wales team can also open the door's for a Euro Cup in which England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland & Netherlands can take part.

However a separate Welsh team would not come without challenges. Firstly it puts the risk of losing funding as ECB would not be sharing rough 2 M$ of annual funding it gives to it's counties. Secondly the Swalec stadium would also lose as it will lose lucrative matches like Ashes, and England international matches (Like it is one of the 3 stadiums for Champions trophy). Thirdly it would mean Glamorgan moving out of county championship as it happened with Scotland after they left England Team. Finally Wales would have to form it's own domestic structure and like Ireland would have risk of it's players moving to England for better prospects
Glamorgan playing a County match. Can we see the county players wearing a national jersey soon?

As the move for a separate Wales team would be supported by Government some funding from Government is expected. Besides the regular ICC funding Wales would be easily available for TAPP funding. Some private funding is also expected and rivalry in the British Isles against Ireland and Scotland can definitely get some level of sponsorships

Finally to have a quality set up is a challenge faced by all the European teams like Ireland, Scotland and Netherlands is quite similar. Some teams to start with have formed a first class tournament. Ireland has already started a 3 team First Class tournament and so did Scotland with a 2 team tournament. Netherlands has been having a annual North V South matches. The key would be as it the case with Rugby, the 4 nations can come together and form a 10 Team first class tournament (3 Teams each From Wales and Ireland & 2 Teams each From Scotland and Netherlands). This can in provide a quality domestic cricket for teams and also source of income for the home boards.

In the circumstances going in Wales I expect Wales team would be formed soon. Hopefully it is formed before the 2015 World Cup so that it can be in the process to reach the 2019 World and gain ODI status for future. The team would face many challenges but I am sure would have been the case in other sports. Let's hope to see the rise of another good teams in cricket soon.


  1. Haha, I posted an article almost simultaneously with yours. I didn't go into such depth with the possibilities of a Welsh team, but I did note that the premier stumbling block would be the loss of ECB funding which basically supports cricket in Wales.

    Here's my article by the way

    1. It is a myth that Glamorgan CCC would lose the majority if any of its revenue from ECB. It gets that as a member and guarantor of ECB for competing in ECB competitions.

      Glamorgan CCC can continue competing in ECB competitions just as Cardiff, Swansea, etc complete in English League Football.

      Similarly there is no reason why the Swalec stadium should lose international matches involving England provided the 'pitch' it makes for securing such matches is attractive to ECB. In the longer run as a ICC venue it may well host further international matches.

  2. Ya Martin, it was a coincidence of highest order. It is said when such coincidences happen then it makes the things true, so maybe soon we see a Wales Cricket team. I read your article. Really a nice one :)