Panama national cricket team
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|ICC membership granted||2002|
|ICC member status||Affiliate member|
|ICC development region||Americas|
|World Cricket League division||n/a|
|First recorded match||1964 v Trinidad and Tobago at Panama|
|As of 15 April 2009|
The Panamanian cricket team is a team that represents the country of Panama in international cricket matches. They became an affiliate member of the International Cricket Council in 2002. Their international debut is believed to have taken place against a side from Trinidad and Tobago in 1964.
Cricket was introduced to Panama by colonials from the West Indies during the creation of the Panama Canal. After the colonials left the country, national attention was focused more on football than on cricket. However, the growing number of inhabitants of Indian origin created a group called the 'Indian Society'. The purpose of this society was to create opportunities for relationships and to find new venues in which cricket could be played. Due to this effort, the popularity of the game grew. Panama joined the ICC as an Affiliate Member in 2002 and, since then, cricket has been flourishing as a popular game among the younger population of the country.
Their first international game in recent years was a friendly series played against Venezuela in 2000, which Panama won 1–0. Panama was invited to play in the 4th South American Championships later that year. The team performed well in its first international tournament, finishing fourth of seven teams.
Panama has been playing without the services of a national coach, but has still managed to produce some talented players such as Soyeb Chojan, Tarik Daya, Irfan Tarajia, Nilesh Bhakta, Munaf Kachalia, Raju Ahir, Asif Patel, Said Kara and Zahir Motala. Playing in recent regional ICC tournaments, Panama has finished second and third, ahead of countries such as Belize, Brasil and Turks and Caicos. The latest participation came in the 2010 Americas Division Two – held in the Bahamas where it won three matches out of four and only missed out on promotion on net run-rate.
In Panama, there is only one league in which 22 teams participate. Before that the league was split into two – as Hindu and Muslim cricketers played separately. The two groups, however, combined once an agreement of peace and tolerance was reached.
The focus for the next few years is to create more competitions and tournaments to promote an interest in cricket at junior level. The Panama junior league level consists of nine junior cricket teams.
The chief concern is the loss of cricket grounds. During recent years, four grounds have been lost to soccer due to financial difficulties. The Panama Cricket Association is therefore looking to secure a ground for its national players.
Plans are being made to start coaching for junior players but once again this is limited by finances as use of a gym is required, due to a rainy season that lasts for eight months of the year.
Progress in Tournaments since 2002
In 2002, Panama was granted affiliate status by the ICC along with a number of other countries in the Americas Region. Two years later, they hosted their first international tournament: the Americas Affiliate Championships. They finished as runners up to the Bahamas, just missing out on qualification for the ICC Americas Championship.
The affiliates tournament was expanded to a multi-division competition in 2006, and Panama was placed in Division Two. They finished third in that tournament, played in Argentina, behind the hosts and the Bahamas. They retained their place in Division Two for 2008. In this part of the competition, played in Suriname, Panama finished in third place and remained in the division for the next cycle, in 2010. In 2010, Panama also finished in 3rd place behind Suriname and the hosts the Bahamas. In the 2011 Championship, Panama stayed as runners-up behind Surinam in Division 2.
Panama entered and hosted the Central American Championships for the first time in 2009. They came in as favorites, being the strongest Central American international side and won the competition as expected. The tournament was their first international Twenty20 competition.
Panama also took part in the America Regional T20 3rd Division Championship in Buenos Aires, Argentina in March 2014.
Americas Affiliate Championships
South American Championships
Central American Championships
- [httjp://www.cricketarchive.co.uk/Archive/Countries/78.html Panama] at cricketarchive.co.uk
- Venezuela to play Panama this weekend at cricinfo.com