Vatican Cricket Team
The Vatican Cricket Team is an amateur cricket team established by the Vatican to help establish ties between the Catholic Church and countries and regions where the sport is popular including India and the Caribbean and to encourage inter-faith dialogue.
Prior to the official establishment of the Vatican Cricket Team, an ad hoc Vatican team played its first (international) match against the Dutch Fellowship of Fairly Odd Places Cricket Club. The match-date was the 13th of September 2008 and the venue being the Stadio dei Marmi. Using an impromptu pitch the Vatican team scored 107 runs for just one wicket. FFOP C.C. was all out for 58, in a 35 over match.
In 2013, the "St Peter's Cricket Club", initially the idea of Australia's ambassador to the Holy See, John McCarthy, announced its formation. The club was tasked with recruiting players from among the "300 seminarians and priests housed at Catholic colleges and seminaries around Rome", not therefore citizens of Vatican City. The most talented players were to be invited to join the Vatican Cricket Team, or "the Vatican XI".
The team itself was established in June 2014, with the initial player list consisting of "priests, deacons and seminarians", primarily recruited from India. A small number of players from England, Sri Lanka and Pakistan were also included. The team is sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Culture.
Tour of England
In announcing the starting line-up for the team, the Vatican also announced that the team would tour England in September 2014, playing a team representing the Church of England and another representing the household of the British Royal Family. During a visit to Pakistan, representatives of the team met with Ishrat-ul-Ibad Khan who proposed a series of matches against his own "Governor of Sindh's XI" consisting of Islamic theology students.
- Pullella, Philip (20 December 2013). "Cricket holy war on as Anglicans accept Vatican challenge". Reuters.
- "Vatican launches its first official cricket club". BBC News. 22 October 2013.
- McKenna, Josephine (15 June 2014). "Archbishop of Canterbury meets Pope's cricket team". The Telegraph.
- Harris, Elise (24 June 2014). "Vatican cricket team to play Church of England in first tour". Catholic News Agency.
- Hooper, John (24 June 2014). "Vatican cricket team to go head-to-head with Anglican rivals on UK tour". The Guardian.
- "Aussie-inspired Vatican XI wins Muslims". Daily Mail Australia. 17 July 2014.