The Panamanian cricket team is the 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 be against a side from Trinidad and Tobago in 1964.
Cricket has been played in some organised fashion in Panama for nearly a century. It was introduced to the country by West Indians and South Asians who settled during the canal construction days. The game is most popular today among the descendants of these workers.
Their first international in recent years was a friendly series played against Venezuela in 2000 which they won 1-0. Panama were 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.
The competition set the ball rolling for international cricket in Panama and the following year saw the team on tour in both Argentina and Colombia. That summer, Panama also had the chance to qualify for the 2nd Americas Cup against affiliate nations in the Americas Region. Two places were available but these went to the Cayman Islands and the Bahamas, with Panama finishing the tournament in last place.
In 2002, Panama were 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 were 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 that installment of the competition, played in Suriname, Panama finished in third place and will remain in the division for the next cycle, likely to be played in 2010.
Panama entered and hosted the Central American Championships for the first time in 2009. They came in as favourites, being the strongest Central American international side and won the competition as expected. The tournament was their first international Twenty20 competition.
Panama will take part in Division Two of the region ICC Americas Tournament which should be taking place in 2010.
Links to more information on cricket in Panama:
Panama Cricket at Cricketarchive.com
Venezuela vs Panama @ Cricinfo.com
Panama gets back into international cricket
Panama's cricketers end their seclusion.
*Acknowledgements to Wikipedia.org and owners of pictures and videos used.