Thursday, 14 August 2014

Sporting mercenaries

I'm proud to be a member of a county cricket club which still draws the bulk of its staff from Wales, if not from the old county of Glamorgan. I remember the days when Yorkshire insisted that all its players were born in the county (though there were suspicions voiced over the Pennines that Fred Trueman was actually born in Notts and his birth certificate had been forged). Other counties had more open recruitment policies, but even then there were no more than two Commonwealth stars plus one or two others who couldn't find a place at home either because of stiff competition for places (for Yorkshire, in particular) or because their county had only a minor counties side (e.g. the Edriches of East Anglia, or Geordies before Durham made it to the top table).

The MacLaurin reforms and the money with which they came have altered all that and it is now rare to find a county which has more natives than foreigners. Even so, it was surprising to find that the Warwickshire side playing Glamorgan in Swansea today had only one player born in the county: Ateeq Javid.

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