Argentina is well known as a home of soccer, rugby and polo, but cricket? After a successful Philadelphia CC tour there in 2005, we decided that 2008 would be our year to sample the delights of this extraordinary place.
On February 14th, 2008, 13 Mad Dogs left New York and Barbados on our South American adventure. None of us had played in Argentina, and no-one knew what to expect. We were 7 Maddogs plus some guests from Global CC and Holmdel CC to get a touring party together.
The Argentina Tourists Rear: John Moore, Brendan Larder, Frank Farrciker, Salman Sheik, Deryck McDonald, Lincoln Harrison Front: Neil Harrison, Jonas Wilson, Jaideep Reddy, Tony Boyke (Sri Garimella not pictured)
After uneventful flights we were met at the airport by Dickie Lords, head of Cricket Argentina, and Christian Tunon, the owner of Baimax our tour operator. From our point of arrival until we returned home they were entirely responsible for making our trip a memorable success.
The old colonial links between Britain and Argentina created the traditions of polo, football, cricket and rugby in the country. Where polo, football and rugby have become central to Argentina's sporting identity, cricket is only now organizing effectively and seeking to expand its base.
The cricket in Argentina is centered on five clubs, each of which have strong links to the past - but are committed to growing the sport in the future.
A beautiful urban setting 20 minutes from downtown Buenos Aires. Slow grass wicket, that also is used for rugby in the winter. Has a coffee shop in the basement for cafe con leche...
45 Minutes from downtown: Lush, large, with a golf course and 2 huge polo fields. Quicker grass wicket, lightning fast and huge outfield. Non playing tourists can watch the play from the pool.
Smaller ground with an artificial wicket 1 hour from downtown. Pleasant rural surroundings - close to San Albano.
The spiciest of all the grass wickets, around an hour from downtown. Beautiful renovated facilities from old stables, great food.
This looks like an old Cambridge college, with a cricket ground in the quad. Around 45 mins from the city, they have a grass wicket in development and an artificial wicket in use .
We have done enough tours to know that going in winter to alien conditions with a scratch team is a challenge. And so for the first couple of games we struggled to get it together.
But by the end our quality players (specifically Deryck) were in form, and we were more used to the coniditions, and a 2 wins, 3 losses record was more than creditable.
John Moore composed match reports that can be found here.
Photos from Christian at Baimax can be found here
Photos from Sri Garimella can be found here.
Buenos Aries is a sleepy city in the morning, then the pace quickens into the evening, with dinner, drinking and general partying going all night.
We did our fair share with various players enjoying Wednesday night at Museum, Friday night at Crobar: dinner at Puerto Crystal, El Trapiechi, Don Julllo's, various sushi restaurants around town; and the scene everywhere.
The city is comparatively inexpensive - especially if you British Pounds to spend... but you will keep spending to keep the party going.
John Moore's match reports are here.
Photos from Christian at Baimax are here
Photos from Sri Garimella are here.
Baimax (Tour Operator)