November 27, 2007

El Salvador

El Salvador have high hopes for the future

Will Luke

The Costa Rica and El Salvador teams line up © Richard Illingworth

El Salvador have just returned from their first ever foray into international cricket when they took part in the second Central American Championship, hosted by Mexico. Belize, the reigning champions, pulled out at the last minute to hand El Salvador an opportunity.

“We left for this tournament brimming with excitement and determination but a little short of experience in the conditions we would play in,” Andrew Murgatroyd, the founder of El Salvadorian cricket told Cricinfo.

“The end result was a fantastic tournament with great performances and a steep learning curve. We played markedly better in our second game against a team [Mexico] who proved to be the eventual winners. By the second game most of us had doubled our total cricket-playing experience at this level.”

Results Costa Rica 256 for 6 beat El Salvador 81 by 176 runs

Mexico 252 for 9 beat El Salvador 101 by 152 runs

Mexico 159 beat Costa Rica 95 by 65 runs

Murgatroyd said that although his side had high hopes, they also had “little knowledge of what we were going into”. Consequently they set themselves a number of tournament objectives which included: scoring at least 80 runs against Costa Rica (achieved); taking at least eight wickets against Costa Rica (failed); taking at least five wickets against Mexico (achieved), not to mention wearing the national colours “with price, competitiveness and dignity” (achieved).

“We have enthusiasm and some kind donations with which nets and an artificial pitch can be purchased,” Murgatroyd said. “With better training facilities and more experience we hope to improve and get to the standard where we are in a position to win some games.”

Will Luke is assistant editor of ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by Philip Mostyn on (January 12, 2008, 2:03 GMT)

As one of the Salvadorean players from the team that went to Mexico it is so great to see the comments by all and the clear passion that is out there for further development for cricket in Central America and agree that we could use some more ICC support and anyone interested in making a visit to El Salvador to help coach in our youth program will be very welcome!

One of the biggest highlights of our first tour was that we took a team that was 80% Salvadorean and considering the seven months practice prior to the tournament I think we did quite well.

We have a full agenda for 2008 so keep your eyes peeled for a more and an improved team this year.

Our goal this year is to get wins against Nicaragua and Costa Rica with an almost full Salvadorean comprised team when we play our next Tri-Nation tournament in March.

Posted by LuckoIrish on (December 25, 2007, 17:37 GMT)

Hey Hugh, Search for Cloverdale Cricket Club on youtube. Former and present Australian internationals give you basic lessons on all aspects of cricket. THIS IS CRICKET videos are also pretty good, because they are meant for Americans who are new to the sport, and have a former WI international giving very basic lessons.

Posted by Hugh M on (December 3, 2007, 10:28 GMT)


About coaching, you may find the following two pages of interest with their coaching advice and videos. Search for 'ninemsn "cricket show"' for the Channel 9 cricket show videos and 'BBC Sports Academy' for advice on cricket technique. You should find some drills amongst this lot as well. There is an interesting one on batting with Michael Slater and his original junior coach which should give you a couple of ideas.

Actually if anyone else has found any GOOD coherent coaching advice on the web I would be interested as well.

Posted by Andrew Murgatroyd on (December 1, 2007, 17:31 GMT)

Thanks to all who commented.

To get back on various points. The event was "ICC friendly" - the only help that I know of for sure was they sent two professional umpires down from Canada to take charge of the games. Other help may have been given, but it would've gone via Mexico so I wouldn't be aware of it. We ourselves are not ICC registered as there are certain criteria we don't yet meet.

Taking the game beyond a few keen expats is our big priority. Most expats in this region are North American so we don't have enough cricketers to play the game. Our hand is forced and we took a team that had 8 Salvadorean players. Mexico [no Mexicans] & Costa Rica [ 2 Costa Ricans] were both expat dominated and they are aware of that. The problem is that to generate interest& tradition, access schools and find facilities all requires an investment in money and more importantly time that they don't have. I am a teacher and so have access into one school at least over here. In fcat we took 3 students and 2 ex-students as part of our team, but we have the problem that our 'graduates' seek university places outside the country - we're trying to get them to go to cricket playing universities (and one graduate form last year is currently playing university level cricket in Scotland), two others are applying for Dutch and USA universities that have teams. That’s one way we hope to build – if they ever come back. The other obvious way is to get into universities and schools, and as soon as they make the day longer we'll make some faster progress ...

Our big plans are to register with the local Sports Body [INDES], formally affiliate with the ICC, find our own playing field, and get at least 3 other institutes playing cricket. We’ve set ourselves December 2008 to complete all 4.

Other news you might be interested in regarding cricket in the area is the next ‘internationals' should be a Tri-Nations tournament in Nicaragua (with them as hosts and Costa Rica) - between Jan&Mar 2008. Cost Rica I believe are the next Central American Tournament hosts. Guatemala did show signs of interest and had a guy who was charged with developing the sport, he appeared genuinely enthusiastic, in fact so much so he came over to El Salvador to watch some of our club games, buts he’s got other things on his plate and I haven’t heard from him for a while. I don’t know of anything in Honduras – if anyone else knows I’d be glad to hear from you, and a school trip either to Belize or Panama is hoped for in October 2008. Not exactly setting the cricket world on fire but 'poco a poco'...

Any suggestions or help of any kind is always appreciated. If and when we get other schools interested, real cricket gear will be a problem for us. ICC provide plastic stuff on request and its good to introduce the game but has limited usefulness.

and a BIG request. We're trying to put together a “Coach up Some Coaches” program - while not really being expert coaches ourselves. We've managed to track down or invent exercises to introduce and develop batting and fielding but seriously lack bowling exercises. We show them pictures, to those that we can we show youtube clips to and give instructions about straight arm, sideways on, eye on the batsman, lead with empty arm etc but we can't seem to break the horrible awkward skip, moon-walk, shuffle, barn-dance hoe-down spasm that a lot of bowlers end up doing as they approach the crease. They lose all momentum, and rhythm and we don’t really know how to work on that. . Anybody with any exercises that can develop better bowling habits and styles?

Gone a bit epic here so I’ll sign off

What about those quick quotes then, Luke?

Posted by Arjun Chaudhuri on (November 29, 2007, 5:50 GMT)

If Belize is busy concentrating on the Americas Div 3 tournament early in 2008, it would have been ideal for them to test their preparations in the Central American Championship in 2007. Getting highest-level match practice is the ideal way to prepare for greater tests, and this applies to a Belize or an El Salvador, as much as it applies to a Bangladesh or an England.

The ICC should better step in to help exciting emerging cricketing nations like Belize and Panama make best use of available opportunities, especially when they are up for grabs now. Bangladesh apparently did that better than Kenya. The result—the wind-n-water-ravaged Asian nation is sitting pretty with a Test cap, with One-day victories over the likes of Australia, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and South Africa, and a Twenty20 victory over West Indies, while Kenya, perhaps having better and fitter cricketers features only in the World Cups, and loses all their matches these days.

Posted by Sridhar Kalyan on (November 28, 2007, 13:47 GMT)

I have a suggestion for Andy Murgatroyd, while I congratulate him for the initiative in El Salvador: Can this great game be spread to the school-kids of El Salvador? Can they be coached and made ready for inter-school matches, which can then spiral upwards into regional matches and ofcourse, leading into the national teams for the various age groups? I distinctly remember the Isreali Under 15 team doing a 15 day 'tour' of Mumbai - playing matches, undergoing coaching at the Elf Academy (of Vengsarkar-the current Chief Selector of the National Seniors) etc. This will not only broad-base interest, but ensure that the future of the game does not suffer with the movement of a few inspired expats.

I fully support all who have already voiced that ICC needs to do more than what it is doing to develop this great game in areas such as El Salvador.

Posted by Rich B on (November 28, 2007, 10:12 GMT)

It’s great to hear of the progress in cricket in another country. Hopefully El Salvador will improve further and come back stronger next year, and also in time become an Affiliate member of the ICC.

Arjun, I'm not sure Belize had to 'pull out' of the tournament. They were much stronger than Mexico and Costa Rica last year, and may be content to concentrate on their Americas Div 3 tournament in February. Equally, Panama, who are a stronger team still, could have played in the ‘Central’ tournament but haven’t done thus far.

The Central American Championship seems to be a good gentle introduction for nations new to international cricket. Hopefully in time Guatemala, Nicaragua and Honduras may also be able to field teams.

Posted by Anton on (November 28, 2007, 9:16 GMT)

As a grade level player in a test playing nation, New Zealand, i find stories like this inspiring. We have it so lucky compared to these people. I'm sure that many international players could even learn a thing or two about good attitude from these guys. I wish that the ICC funded tours of these teams to countries such as Australia, New Zealand, and England, to play county/provincial/youth teams. Would be interesting for all involved.

Posted by Arjun Chaudhuri on (November 28, 2007, 9:13 GMT)

El Salvador is lucky to be located close to the West Indies. Especially, Allen Stanford, the founder of the Caribbean Stanford Twenty20 can pump in some money into these Central American nations for development of cricketing infrastructure there. That Belize, the winners of the inaugural Central American Championship had to pull out of the second edition of the tournament, poses a sorry picture of how a lack of cricket culture and infrastructure can plague the development of cricket in countries having virtually nil or null cricketing tradition.

Perhaps, Brian Lara can squeeze some time out of his Indian Cricket League commitments to promote cricket in Central America. The inception of the Central American Championship is a silver lining in the cloud, though.

Posted by Anton on (November 28, 2007, 9:03 GMT)

As a grade level player in a test playing nation, New Zealand, i find stories like this inspiring. We have it so lucky compared to these people. I'm sure that many international players could even learn a thing or two about good attitude from these guys. I wish that the ICC funded tours of these teams to countries such as Australia, New Zealand, and England, to play county/provincial/youth teams. Would be interesting for all involved.

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Will Luke
Assistant editor Will opted against a lifetime of head-bangingly dull administration in the NHS, where he had served for two years. In 2005 came a break at Cricinfo where he slotted right in as a ferociously enthusiastic tea drinker and maker, with a penchant for using "frankly" and "marvellous". He also runs The Corridor, a cricket blog where he can be found ranting and raving about all things - some even involving the sport. He is a great-great nephew of Sir Jack Newman, the former Wellingtonian bowler who took two wickets at 127 apiece for New Zealand.

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