The origins of the Cuban cricket team began when baseball was introduced into Cuba in the 1860s by Cubans who studied in the United States, American sailors who ported in the country and American settlers during the 19th century; at the same time, at the end of the 19th century, economic immigrants of the Caribbean countries landed in Cuba, brought this sport to the eastern part of the island. In the 1920s, an influx of sugar workers from Jamaica and Barbados brought cricket with them to the plantations on the east of Cuba. Their teams played in leagues and cup competitions in Santiago de Cuba, Guantánamo and Baraguá.
Cuba’s first international match in 1952, against a Jamaican team, included Jamaica’s current Governor-General, Howard Cooke.
By the late 1990s cricket had spread to Havana, where there are more than 500 players. More than 2,000 juniors and adults play cricket today, with it being taught in some schools. More than 20 teams recently took part in a national under-15 tournament.
Today there is pressure to expand cricket in Cuba with the government stating that it wants to be more closely aligned with other Caribbean countries. In 2002 Cuba became an affiliate member of the International Cricket Council.
The president of the Cuban Cricket Commission is Leona Ford. After hearing of a speech she had given, Cooke persuaded Courtney Walsh to become involved and raise equipment for Cuban teams. Donations have also come from South Africa, India, Sri Lanka, Guyana, Canada, India and Britain. Former Indian One-day all rounder Robin Singh travelled to Cuba in 2007 forming a coaching team to train young players.
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