St. Helena January 14, 2010

A cricket-playing island without an airport

Tony Munro

Tony Munro

It is possibly the remotest cricket outpost in the world, and its national team is set to travel by ship to take the field for the first time.

St. Helena, with a population of 4000, is located about midway between Africa and South America. It boasts of a ten-team league, but no airport, and plans to send a squad to a Twenty20 tournament in Montserrat later this year.

When St. Helena’s officials attended the ICC Centenary Ball in London last year, they got there by the most direct route, a two-week South Atlantic voyage aboard the RMS St. Helena which stops in Tenerife.

The British Government recently delayed plans, yet again, to build an airport on the island, which is situated around 1700 km west of Luanda, Angola.

Should plans for St.Helena to make its ICC debut in 2011 at the Africa Third Division tournament come off, the team will most likely jump aboard the ship on its southbound journey via Ascension Island to Cape Town - eight days in all.

Barbara George, the secretary of the St. Helena Cricket Association, says that while there have been matches played against visiting Royal Navy ships, there has never previously been a need to pick an elite squad to represent the island.

"My guess is the team or squad will be chosen from a pool of the best players on the island and at present would be dominated by players from the three top teams – Levelwood C, Jamestown B and St Matthews A, with the remaining made up from the other teams."

Nitin Sundar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo