Elton Cricket Club first-team spinner Gareth ‘Gaz’ Edwards has been selected to skipper the Welsh representative team at the International Masters Cricket Over-40s World Cup in South Africa this month.

The 47-year-old, who lives in Walmersley, will jet off this week for Wales’ opener against hosts South Africa in Cape Town on Monday.

Edwards, who was born in North Wales and in the last three seasons has taken 91 wickets for Elton with his off spin, said: “It is an absolute honour to be captaining Wales on the international stage.

“As anyone who knows me knows, I am the proudest of Welshmen despite having been living on the ‘dark side’ for a number of years now. We are going into the tournament undoubtedly as one of the underdogs, but you never know.

“We will clearly be up against some very strong cricketing nations, who have selected some players of undoubted pedigree and international experience.

“Our squad is made up of club players but we are determined to give it our best shot and put Wales on the world cricketing map.

“There are some very good players in the other sides including Nick Compton, who played Test cricket for England, and Pakistan and India have players with top-level experience.

“The Welsh team is largely self-funded but we have been very grateful to receive some sponsorship, in my case from Ruthin businessman Gary Teeson.

“I am looking forward immensely to the experience as I’ll be honest, I did think my representative cricket days were behind me as I reach the latter stages of my career.

“It is also brilliant to know everyone at Elton will be cheering me and the boys along.”

Edwards was at Glamorgan CCC for several years at the same time as players such as Robert Croft, Matthew Maynard and Waqar Younis, and represented England U19s on their Zimbabwe tour in 1995/96 alongside Andrew Flintoff and Matthew Hoggard.

He has represented Elton since 2015, taking more than 300 wickets, and was a key player in the Leigh Laner’s 2022 double-winning season.

Chairman of GMCL Premier Two side Elton, Warren Hornby, said “It was fantastic news to hear that Gareth had been selected to skipper the Welsh team at this World Cup.

“It’s a real honour to represent your country and everyone at the club wishes him well.

“Gareth’s a really good cricketer and a brilliant senior player and ambassador for our club. We’re all very proud of him and definitely going be cheering him on from afar.”

Wales have been drawn in Pool B of the competition along with New Zealand, South Africa, India, Sri Lanka and the UAE. Competing national teams include former internationals such as the former Test players Wasim Jaffer (India), Nick Compton (England) and James Marshall (New Zealand).

After facing South Africa on Monday, Wales face New Zealand (Feb 20), India (Feb 22), UAE (Feb 23) and Sri Lanka (Feb 25).

If they qualify, the second round takes places at the end of the month with the final on March 1 - all matches being played in Cape Town.