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Wadlan aims for National Counties MVP top spot

19 Jul 2022
Wadlan aims for National Counties MVP top spot

Wales NC all-rounder Brad Wadlan is aiming to maintain his lead at the top of the National Counties Championship Most Valuable Player rankings having started the season with no intention of playing in the competition.

Wadlan thought that he had ended his National Counties career – which has also taken in successful stints with Herefordshire and Cornwall – on a high when he made 126 against Cornwall in the final Championship match of the 2018 season at Usk.

He has continued to play club cricket for Swansea while developing a second career in cricket as a coach, working in the Glamorgan/Cricket Wales pathway, currently with the Under-18s team.

A number of that side have already graduated to Wales’ senior team and Wadlan has taken the opportunity to assess his young charges at close quarters by resuming his National Counties playing career.

Wadlan marked his comeback in spectacular style with a century in the first innings of the victory over Devon at Abergavenny three weeks ago to make it back-to-back hundreds – albeit four years apart.

He followed up by becoming the first Wales bowler to take 12 wickets in a match and added five more wickets in the game in the defeat by Shropshire at Oswestry last week.

Those performances have made Wadlan the early pacesetter in the Championship MVP rankings which were introduced to ensure clear and accurate monitoring of performance with rewards going to the best all round players in each format, across the season.

The MVP takes into account a number of different factors, combining a player’s overall performance, not just wickets, runs or catches.

Wadlan currently leads the Championship MVP with 37 points, five ahead of Cumbria slow-left-armer Matt Siddall and six ahead of Lincolnshire batter Tom Keast.

“The MVP has come in since I last played for Wales but I was aware of it because a lot of the younger guys talk about where they are and whether they have a good day,” Wadlan said.

“But I did see the Tweet after the Shropshire game saying that I was top of the Championship MVP so I am aware of it.

“There are two games left and I will be doing my best to stay at the top.

“The MVP is something that National Counties players and coaches will look at week by week.

“There are a lot of very good cricketers playing in National Counties cricket who are knocking on the door for opportunities with first-class counties.

“The MVP is a brilliant idea and it gives really good publicity for guys who consistently perform well.

“At the end of the season the MVP leaderboard will give a good indication of how your season has gone.”

Wadlan’s own season began with an avalanche of  centuries for Swansea, where he is player/coach, but it was his coaching role that was a key factor in persuading him to play for Wales again.

“When I got that hundred against Cornwall in 2018 it felt like the right time to hand over the reins to the younger guys,” he said.

“I was 30, I made my Minor Counties – as it then was – debut when I was 17 and I had a young family.

“In recent years my younger boy, Oliver, has started to play cricket and there have been coaching opportunities for me within the Glamorgan set-up that I am involved in so it’s come around in a cycle.

“I’m now back involved with Wales as a player/coach, Darren Thomas has been in charge for ten years now and has done a brilliant job. He’s got aspirations to move into Glamorgan’s pathway as an elite coach in one of the sides so there’s a possibility for me to transition to lead the National Counties side going forward.

“Another reason why I have been drafted back into the National Counties side as a player/coach is because I have been involved with Glamorgan/Cricket Wales teams for the last four years now so I am seeing first-hand the younger players coming up through the system.

“The Under-18s this year have had a really good white ball season. In T20 they are played five, won five and they have made Finals Day in September, they are in the  quarter-finals of the 50 over competition and the three-day competition actually starts on Monday next week.

“Glamorgan work very closely with Cricket Wales. You only need to look at last season with the players who represented Wales and went on to play for Glamorgan. Andrew Gorvin came through Wales as did Steve Reingold, who ended up winning the Royal London Cup with Glamorgan. Sam Pearce broke into Glamorgan’s T20 side and this season Tom Bevan has played T20 cricket for Glamorgan.

“Then you have Glamorgan players like Tegid Phillips, Dan Douthwaite and Prem Sisodiya who have played for Wales this season.

“It gives the younger player the opportunity to learn off those guys and understand what it takes to be a professional cricketer in the different formats.”

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