Cricket first appeared in Panama thanks to the colonists from the West Indies, who came to the state during the creation of the Panama Canal. After the construction of the Panama Canal was completed and most people left Panama, cricket like many other things became part of the local population. In the beginning, a group called the Indian Society was formed with the goal of developing cricket in the state.
Through the activities of this society, cricket became more and more interesting to people and over time Panama joined the ICC in 2002 and since then, the interest in cricket has increased several times as not only adults but also young people have now become interested in the game.
The debut of the Panamanian team at the international level can be considered as the games against the teams of Trinidad and Tobago in 1964, where the Panamanian team showed everyone that it deserves respect among other teams and is properly prepared.
From 2018 to the present, cricket has become a major sport in the country. The ICC has decided to grant full Twenty20 International (T20I) status to all of its members. And now all matches played within the Twenty20, between Panama and other ICC members after January 1, 2019, will be full T20I.
In September of 2018, Panama participated in the ICC T20 2018-19 World Championship qualifying tournament in North America and, despite tremendous competition from other teams and the experience of more established opponents, managed to finish 3rd in the North sub-region.
With cricket becoming a major sport in Panama and the state creating the necessary conditions to promote the sport, Panama played its first-ever Twenty20 International match against Costa Rica in the 2019 Central American Cricket Championship.
Today, the Panamanian National Cricket Team competes in many international cricket competitions and wins respectable places. So, Panama at the 2023 ICC Americas Sub-Regional Qualifier in Argentina managed to win third place in the tournament.
Despite Panama's storied history, the team's first international matches in years were a friendly against Venezuela in 2000 where Panama showed its mettle and won 1-0. That same year, the team was noticed and invited to participate in the fourth South American Cricket Championship. The team performed well in its first international tournament in a long time and finished fourth out of seven teams, a pretty good result since the team had not played internationally for a long time.
Panama played without the services of a national coach. Playing in recent ICC regional tournaments, Panama placed second and third, ahead of the likes of Belize, Brazil and Turks and Caicos. The most recent participation was in the 2010 Division II Americas, held in the Bahamas, where the team won three of four matches and only missed out on the net odds.
From all of this, it follows that even though the team has not participated in international tournaments for some time, it has not lost its strength and managed to show the rest of the teams its full range of possibilities.
National team development program
Currently, the main problem of cricket development in Panama, is the lack of proper funding. Despite the fact that cricket is a very popular sport, there is virtually no funding. Because of financial problems, players have virtually no place to practice. So in recent years, four courts for games have been lost.
Also, there is a problem of training juniors, because due to the climate in Panama, players need a place that will be protected from the rains, but an indoor hall is very expensive.
With proper funding, cricket could become the sport that will raise Panama to a new level in world sport. Therefore, the Panama Cricket Association is looking to acquire a venue for its national players and also aims to raise the next generation of players who will win prizes in international competitions.
Progress in tournaments since 2002
After Panama was granted the status of ICC affiliate member. They were able to hold their first international tournament, the Americas Affiliated Championships. At that tournament, they finished second behind the Bahamas, missing out on qualifying for the ICC Americas Championship.
In 2006, the affiliate tournament was expanded to a multi-division competition, and Panama made it to the second division. In that tournament, which was held in Argentina, they finished third, behind the hosts and the Bahamas.
In 2008, they retained their place in the second division. In that part of the competition, held in Suriname, Panama finished third and stayed in the division for the next cycle, in 2010. That same year, Panama also finished in third place, behind Suriname and the hosts, the Bahamas. In the 2011 championship, Panama finished second behind Suriname in Division 2.
In 2009, Panama participated and hosted the Central American Championship for the first time. They were the favorites, being the strongest international team in Central America, and won the competition. This tournament was their first international Twenty20 competition.
To help you understand more about the years and places Panama's national cricket team took in international tournaments, we prepared an information with tournament, year and place:
- ICC Americas Championship:
- 2002 - Did nt participate
- 2004 - Did not participate
- 2006 - 3rd place (Division Two)
- 2008 - 3rd place (Division Two)
- 2010 - 3rd place (Division Two)
- 2011 - 2nd place (Division Two)
- 2013 - 2nd place (Division Two)
- Americas Affiliate Championships:
- 2004 - 2nd place
- Central American Championships:
- 2006 - Did not participate
- 2007 - Did not participate
- 2009 - Winners
- 2015 - Winners
- 2019 - 3rd place
- ICC T20 World Cup Americas Qualifier:
- 2018-19 - 3rd place
As you can see, since 2002, after being included in the ICC, the Panamanian team has played a huge number of international tournaments. Where it has competed against many strong teams and managed to win pretty good places and even win tournaments a few times.
Players of the 2023 national team
Throughout the existence of the Panama National Cricket Team, many players have come and gone from the squad. We will focus on Panama's most recent squad for the 2023 ICC Men's T20 World Cup Americas Qualifier. The following players represented the Panama team:
- Anilkumar Natubhai Ahir (wk);
- Khengar Bhai Ahir;
- Nikunj Ahir;
- Rahul Ahir;
- Vishal Ahir;
- Irfan Hafejee (c);
- Abdullah Jasat;
- Mahmud Jasat;
- Ahmadi Rawat;
- Ahmed Patel;
- Faizan Patel;
- Huzaifa Patel (wk);
- Sohel Patel;
- Mohmad Sohel Patel.
Thanks to such a team, the national team of Panama in terms of points took the 3rd place in this tournament, which is a very good result. Since many teams from different countries participated in the tournament, the team from Panama was second only to Bermuda and Cayman Islands.