Thursday, March 13, 2008

In the International Spotlight...Fiji Cricket

Mid morning cricket game in fiji
Cricket in Fiji

The Fiji national cricket team is the team that represents the country of Fiji in international cricket matches. They have been an associate member of the International Cricket Council since 1965, though their history goes back to the late 19th century.

They regularly take part in regional tournaments including the cricket tournament at the South Pacific Games. They have taken part in every ICC Trophy tournament with the exception of the 2005 event. They are currently ranked at 28th in the world by the ICC, and are the second ranked non-test team in their region.

Early days:
Cricket was introduced to Fiji by European settlers in 1874, and the native population began taking up the game in 1878. The governor of Fiji at the time listed introducing cricket to the native Fijians as one of the achievements of his tenure in his memoirs.

Early tours:
Fiji was playing first-class cricket just 21 years after cricket was introduced to the country, when they toured New Zealand in early 1895.
1895 tour of New Zealand

Fiji's team on the tour in 1895 was captained by John Udal, whose great-grandson Shaun would eventually play Test cricket for England. The first match of the tour was a two-day match against Auckland, which Fiji lost by an innings.
A low scoring second match against Otago was drawn after rain washed out the first of the two days. The third match against Canterbury was also lost by an innings, before a draw against Wellington.

The final two matches of the tour went much better for the Fijians, winning against Hawke's Bay by an innings after a century from John Collins, and beating Taranaki by two wickets.

1908 tour of Australia:
In January 1908, Fiji toured Australia. Only one result is known from this tour, a draw against Queensland in a two-day match, highlighted by a seven wicket haul for Pope Cakpbau.

Post War period:
Fiji toured New Zealand twice more, in 1948 and 1954. Fiji's first match against a Test-playing nation came in 1956, when the West Indies visited. Fiji won the match against a team featuring the likes of Garfield Sobers by 28 runs despite being bowled out for 91, largely thanks to a six wicket haul from John Gosling.

1948 tour of New Zealand:
Like the tour in 1895, the 1948 tour started with a defeat to Auckland, by 168 runs. Fiji won their next match against Wellington by one wicket, before losing to Canterbury by 36 runs.

The tour continued with a 46 run defeat by Otago and concluded with a 115 run win against Auckland. One notable player for Fiji on this tour was IL Bula, who scored the most runs and the only century on the tour. Bula's full name is Ilikena Lasarusa Talebulamainavaleniveivakabulaimainakulalakebalau, and his name is thought to be the longest of any first class cricketer.

1954 tour of New Zealand:
Just four matches were played on the 1954 tour, which started with a two wicket defeat to Otago. The tour continued with another two wicket defeat, this time to Canterbury, before a 117 run defeat to Wellington. The tour ended with a seven wicket win against Auckland. The team included Ratu Kamisese Mara who would go on to become the Prime Minister and President of Fiji.

ICC Membership:
Fiji gained associate membership of the ICC in 1965. They played in the first ICC Trophy tournament in 1979, and played in every one until 2001. They also played in the first ACC Trophy in 1996, losing in the semi-final to the UAE.
In 2001, Fiji played in the first Pacifica Cup in Auckland, reaching the final where they lost to the New Zealand Māori by three wickets. They played in the 2002 tournament in Samoa, finishing third after beating the Cook Islands in a play-off.
In 2003, Fiji hosted the South Pacific Games. The cricket tournament saw the hosts lose to Papua New Guinea in the final. The following year, they took part in the EAP Challenge in Fuji City, Japan, winning after beating Tonga in the final. This qualified them for the repêchage tournament for the 2005 ICC Trophy. At that tournament in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, they reached the final, where they lost to Papua New Guinea by 30 runs, thus missing out on the 2005 ICC Trophy.

In 2006, Fiji played in the 2006 ICC EAP Cricket Trophy in Brisbane, Australia. They won the tournament winning all of their matches against the Cook Islands and Japan, qualifying them for Division Three of the World Cricket League in Darwin, Australia. They warmed up for the tournament with a three match series at home against Vanuatu, winning all three matches, but were unsuccessful in the tournament itself, losing all five games they played, thus meaning they will have to take part in Division Four in 2008.

Later in 2007, they took part in the cricket tournament at the 2007 South Pacific Games, losing to Papua New Guinea in the final group game, meaning that they went home with the silver medal.

Tournament History
ICC Trophy:
1979: First round
1982: First round
1986: First round
1990: Plate competition
1994: Plate competition
1997: 11th place
2001: First round
2005: Did not qualify

ACC Trophy:
1996: Semi-finals

South Pacific Games:
2003: Silver medal
2007: Silver medal

Fiji's most famous player is Neil Maxwell, who played first-class cricket for New South Wales and Victoria in Australia, and for Canterbury in New Zealand in addition to representing Australia A. Nat Uluiviti is the other Fijian to have played first-class cricket for a team other than Fiji, playing for Auckland in the 1950s.

Fiji's squad for the 2007 South Pacific Games cricket tournament was as follows:
-Josaia Baba
-Josefa Baleicicia
-Malcolm Bossley
-Eric Browne
-Iniasi Cakacaka
-Samuela Draunivudi
-Kida Jikoivanualevu
-Ratu Lesuma
-Sakaraia Lomani
-Vuiyasawa Mateiwaqa
-Joeli Mateyawa
-Iliesa McGoon
-Rajeev Patel
-Sekove Ravoka
-Colin Rika
-Josefa Rika
-Seci Sekinini
-Jone Seuvou
-Kiti Tavo
-Colati Tupou
-Roko Uluiqalau
-Filimoni Vuliwaqabaca
-Taniela Waqaituinayau

Some links to more info on Fijian Cricket can be found below:

  • Fiji Cricket on
  • ICC Trophy matches played by Fiji at Cricket Archive
  • Fiji in New Zealand, 1894/95 at Cricket Archive
  • Scorecard of Auckland v Fiji on 25 January 1895
  • Scorecard of Otago v Fiji on 1 February 1895
  • Scorecard of Canterbury v Fiji on 8 February 1895
  • Scorecard of Wellington v Fiji on 15 February 1895
  • Scorecard of Hawke's Bay v Fiji on 19 February 1895
  • Scorecard of Taranaki v Fiji on 22 February 1895
  • Fiji in Australia, 1907/08 at
  • Scorecard of Queensland v Fiji on 1 January 1908
  • Fiji in New Zealand, 1947/48 at
  • Fiji in New Zealand, 1953/54 at
  • Scorecard of Fiji v West Indies on 12 January 1956 at
  • Scorecard of Auckland v Fiji on 13 February 1948 at
  • Scorecard of Wellington v Fiji on 1 March 1948 at
  • Scorecard of Canterbury v Fiji on 5 March 1948 at
  • Scorecard of Otago v Fiji on 13 March 1948 at
  • Scorecard of Auckland v Fiji on 3 April 1948 at
  • Scorecard of Otago v Fiji on 12 February 1954 at
  • Scorecard of Canterbury v Fiji on 19 February 1954 at
  • Scorecard of Wellington v Fiji on 26 February 1954 at
  • Scorecard of Auckland v Fiji on 6 March 1954 at
  • Scorecard of Fiji v Papua New Guinea on 27 February 2005 at
  • Vanuatu in Fiji, 2006/07 at

    *Acknowledgements to,,,,

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