Panama: Panama's cricketers end their seclusion
Only 18 months ago cricket in Panama existed in virtual isolation from the rest of the cricketing world.
While there was an abundance of competitive cricket being played by the Central American country's expatriate population, they were content to treat cricket simply as weekend recreation.
There was no official governing body and while teams occasionally interacted with those in neighbouring countries, appearances by Panamanian representative teams were rare.
All of that changed when the ICC's custodian for South America, Grant Dugmore, obtained contact details for Panama from 'Beyond The Test World'.
An invitation to last month's South American Championships followed, where the Panamanian residents, through both their ability and approach to the game, demonstrated a sound knowledge of the game and its tactics.
A return trip in May to Argentina is planned, to play either a one-day series against the host, or a triangular series, also involving Chile or Brazil.
In the meantime, the Panamanians will travel to Colombia next month for one day matches against the newly reactivated Bogota Sports Club.
Their self-confinement has been broken off the field as well, with the ICC's Americas Development OFficer, Robert Weekes, due to visit Panama this week to assist the newly formed Panamanian Cricket Board in their application for Affiliation to the world governing body.
Meanwhile, the Panamanian domestic season, when the 10 team first division competition starts tomorrow (Sunday, January 21). The seven team Second Division commences tomorrow week (Sunday, January 28).
The season lasts until the end of April when the rainy season washes away any chance of play.
The two divisions are:
First Division - Trio CC, Muslim CC, Alam CC, Kachhalia Sporting CC 'A', Kachalia Sporting CC 'B', Dada CC 'A', Dada CC 'B', Bhatay CC, Nawab CC, Pakistan CC.
Second Division - Daporte Hindhu CC 'A', Daporte Hindhu CC 'B', Colon CC, Royal CC, Ahir CC 'A', Ahir CC 'B', Ahir CC 'C'
Among the players expected to do well this season are:
Trio CC - batsman Chota Bhiku, bowler Rony Thompson and all-rounder Mike Thompson. It also features a third Thompson, wicket-keeper, Jimmy
Muslim CC - batsman Soyeb Chohan, bowler Sokat Boda and all-rounder, Zahir Motala
Alam CC - batsman Ahmed Nana and fast bowler Ahmed Alam
Kachhalia Sporting CC's - fast bowler, Asif Patel, all-rounder Irfan Trajia and batsman/leg-spinner Tariq Daya
Dada CCs - batsman Imtiaz Trajia, pinch-hitter Moosa Dada and bowler Ismail Dada
Bhatay CC - batsmen Bashir Patel, Yakub Bhayat and bowler Bashir Patel
Pakistan CC - fast bowlers Umar Patel, Nashir and batsman Sokat
Nawab CC - captain and batsman, Mahmad Nawab, fast bowler Aziz Mulla and wicket-keeper batsman, Abdul Akhalvaya.
And in Division Two
Daporte Hindhu CCs - fast bowler Gunvant Patel and batsmen Nilesh Bhakta, Naresh Bhakta and Hitendra Bhakta
Ahir CCs - bowler Naresh Nahir, batsmen Jagdish Ahir and Shantilal Ahir and wicket-keeper/batsman, Bhaichand Ahir
Royal CC - batsman Jayendra Patel and bowler Baldev Patel
Colon CC - all-rounder Sandeep Chatlani, bowler Sandeep Chatlani and batsman Jitu Patel.