Some Welsh cricket fans feel it’s time for Wales to be represented on its own on the international stage – and not because of the latest Ashes debacle Down Under.
A debate has been brewing on social media about whether Wales should continue to remain part of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).
Historically, the England team represented Great Britain in international cricket, with Scottish and Welsh teams only playing occasional matches. However, Scotland became an independent member of the International Cricket Council (ICC) in 1994 and have participated in several World Cups since.
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The ECB have received criticism from some quarters for using only the England name despite several Welsh players representing the side over the years. There now seems to be a growing belief that Wales should perhaps become an independent cricketing nation.
One obstacle could be that Wales’ premier cricket club, Glamorgan CCC, have argued in the past in favor of maintaining the status quo. The club reportedly benefit financially from being a part of the ECB structure.
In 2018, Glamorgan Chief Executive Hugh Morris warned that the formation of an independent Wales team would be a major blow for the county.
“While it is an easy thing to say we should have a Welsh cricket team and I completely understand as a proud Welshman myself, financially it does not make any sense whatsoever” said Morris.
“We would lose our stadium, we would lose our players and trying to grow the game in Wales would make it even more challenging.
“I have not seen a business plan to see how it can work. We are very much wedded to the English and Wales Cricket Board in terms of finances.”
Deputy Leader of Plaid Cymru and MS for Ynys Mon Rhun ap Iorwerth has pledged his support for an independent Wales side however, he said: “Glamorgan should of course play in the competitive England and Wales league. I support Cardiff City who play within the English football league system.
“But internationally the pinnacle of one’s career should surely be to play for one’s own country. Cricket doesn’t allow that to happen for Welsh youngsters.”
We asked Welsh cricket fans for their opinions on social media and below are some of the responses we received.
On Twitter, Daniel Nixon of Denbigh Cricket Club said: “100% yes. If Bermuda can reach a world cup with a population of 69k then I’m pretty sure we could at least field a half competitive team like Ireland and Scotland.”
Edward Greening agreed, he said: “Absolutely. I used to not mind the “ECB” thing but now I would love us to have further international recognition anyway we can. Loads of smaller nations such as Hong Kong, Nepal, Papua New Guinea and Oman compete in the world T20 so don’t see why we couldn’t too.”
Welsh comedian and broadcaster Elis James said: “In my (only anecdotal) experience, Welsh cricket fans (ie people whose favorite sport is cricket) tend to want things to stay as they are, especially Glamorgan fans. General Welsh sports fans want a Welsh team.”
Martin Monday-Jones would be happy to see an independent Wales side but would also be content with more representation, he said: “I would love to see us have our own team, or to be honest I would be happy with more representation in this team. If the team is England and Wales – then call us England and Wales.”
Adam Davies disagreed though, he said: “Not for me. Good argument for Wales to be better represented by the ECB, but there isn’t the participation or the money. We do pretty well out of the grass roots investment by the ECB already. Playing in the World Cricket League against the likes of Nepal and Singapore won’t draw the media coverage or the crowds to turn it into something profitable.”
Jamie Edwards also argued to things remaining pretty much as they are: “Would be great to see a Welsh T20 team but beyond that I don’t see there being much point. Are people advocating a test team based out of Wales? Can’t really see demand or the point. A home nations T20 tournament? Limited appeal or would people embrace it?”
What is your opinion on an independent Wales cricket team? Have your say in the comments section