They rode Mule’s just to play Cricket – Argentina
A country that might not spring to mind when you think of cricket is Argentina.
Despite its apparent lack of international cricketing pedigree the sport has been played in Argentina since the early 1800s. As was often the case, once the British arrived on the continent so too did cricket. By 1831 Argentina had one of the highest British populations in the Commonwealth and hence cricket matches had become a common sight.
The first cricket clubs were officially founded in the mid-nineteenth century in Buenos Ares with a number of others founded across the country in the 1870s. These clubs were largely exclusively British.
Argentina played its first international matches against neighbouring South American; nations Uruguay in 186, Brazil in 1888 and Chile in 1893. The match with Chile is remembered for the three and a half day trek the Argentinian team had to take by mule across the Andes to reach Santiago!
In 1912 the MCC visited and played three games against the Argentines. The local team consisted mainly of British expatriates who worked in the area. The home team won the first match but lost the remaining two. The following year a national governing body for Argentine Cricket was established.
The inter-war years saw a number of international matches played sporadically against Brazil and the MCC with a South American team, consisting mainly of Argentinians touring England in 1932. It is said that during this era many players reached the standard of English County Cricket however WWII set cricket back in the country.
In 1974 Argentina became an Associate Member of the ICC and competed in their first ICC Trophy in 1979. They were not involved in the following tournament in 1982 which was played in England and began only a few days after the conclusion of the Falkland’s War.
The first South American Championship was held in Argentina in 1995 and the home team were victors. In 2002 they then hosted the second American Championship (the first being in 2000) and they finished fifth.
In 2007 Argentina originally qualified for Division Five of the World Cricket League. After the USA were suspended from international cricket Argentina were promoted to Division Three where they finished second. Due to this result they were promoted to Division Two where they took on Denmark, UAE and Uganda. Unfortunately, they lost all matches and were relegated back to Division Three.
Since this time Argentine cricket has been slowly slipping back down the International Rankings to their current position in Division six where they are ranked number 36 amongst the Cricketing Nation in the World.
In 2013 Argentina did win the Division six tournament. Perhaps the future holds more promise for cricket in a country where it has a long history.