Israel Cricket Association

Israel Cricket Association

- 2013 Season

- 2012 Season

- Past Seasons

- Senior

- Youth

- Development Program

- Playing Centres

- Ashdod A

- Be'er Sheva A

- Be'er Sheva Lions

- Diamonds

- Dimona A

- Dimona C

- Kiryat Gat

- Negev Academy

- Neve Yonatan

- Lions Lod

- Lod Cricket Club

- Ra'anana

- Ramle

- Rishon L'Zion

- Tel Aviv

- Young Ashdod

The ICA has been an associate member of the International Cricket Council since 1974 and was a founding member of the European Cricket Council in 1996

A brief history of cricket

Cricket in Israel

Israel is known as a land of miracles, and the survival of cricket in the Holy Land must surely rate as one of those miracles. The odds have always been heavily stacked against the game, yet cricket has endured and even flourished despite lacking adequate playing surfaces, equipment and financial backing.

Naturally enough cricket was introduced to the Middle East by the British. During the pre-state Mandate era, there were pitches in Jerusalem, Haifa and the Tel-Hashomer army camp, where British and Australian military personnel and members of the Anglo Saxon Mandatory civil service regularly partook of the game's subtle pleasures.

After the British left in 1948, their local successors somehow managed to keep the game going in the fledgling State, though little is documented. The first All Israeli match took place in 1956 in Tel-Hashomer, between teams representing Tel Aviv and the Negev desert town Be'er Sheva. This game is notable chiefly for the fact that the Be'er Sheva side comprised Ben Abrahams and his seven sons, plus three others. Bombay born Abrahams was to become the doyen of the local game, playing and umpiring up to his death in 1974 at the age of 71. The Ben Abrahams Memorial Cup remains an important fixture in the local cricket calendar.

In 1958, an unofficial tripartite cricket tournament between players representing England, South Africa and Israel was held at the old Haifa Oil Refineries ground in the framework of the Maccabi Games. Local cricket struggled through the ensuing years, despite economic austerity and the draining influence of compulsory military service. By the mid sixties the game was in danger of disappearing altogether, but an influx of cricket playing Jewish immigrants from countries such as Britain, South Africa, Australia, India and Pakistan revived it's fortunes. Clubs sprung up wherever the immigrants settled and in 1966 the first national league was established, with ten clubs from as far apart as the Galilee, Haifa, Be'er Sheva and Ashdod. This league eventually led to the foundation of the Israel Cricket Association (ICA) in 1968.

Inspired by it's first President, Maxie Kahan, the new league prospered despite near impossible conditions. Cricket grounds as such were non-existent, and most matches were played on dusty, grass-less football fields using matting wickets. However the enthusiasm of Israel's cricket playing fraternity, coupled with determination and tenacity, has helped to overcome these drawbacks.

Contacts with overseas clubs have proved vital to the game's progress. The first touring side to Israel was the Bournemouth Cricket Club in 1968, led by the late test player Ken Barrington. Mowbray CC toured Israel the following year. A South African Maccabi Representative XI played in Israel in 1971, and Harrow CC toured in 1972. The 1972 Maccabi Games featured the first international cricket tournament to be held in Israel, with strong teams coming from Australia, South Africa (captained by Dennis Gamsy) and the USA. Cricket is now a regular feature in the quadrennial Games.

With itsí tremendous tourist appeal, the country has proved an enticing cricket tour prospect. Return visits followed by Bournemouth CC in 1975, and Harrow CC (including the great Basil d'Olivera) in 1976. The Harrow Cricket Club has now toured Israel a total of five times, accompanied on it's past two visits by test Umpire Don Oslear, who helped establish the Israel Cricket Umpires' Association which is aimed at improving this aspect of the local game. In 1995, Ian Robinson of Zimbabwe and the National Grid panel visited us for ten days.

The Israeli national team meanwhile also spread it's wings, with tours of England and Ireland in 1970 and 1974. Israel participated in the 1975 Datsun Wicket Competition in Johannesburg, alongside the Australian Chappel brothers, Tony Greig of England, Glen Turner of New Zealand, and Barlow and Pollock of South Africa.

On July 23rd, 1974, Israel was accepted as an Associate Member of the International Cricket Conference, now known as the International Cricket Council, with Pakistan the only cricket nation voting against our membership.

Israel cricket came of age in May 1979, when Israel was one of the 15 participants in the inaugural ICC Associate Members' trophy held in Birmingham as a prelude to the Prudential World Cup. The tour was an unqualified success in every sense. While competition results were not special, performances against strong opposition were most credible and several friendly matches against Midland club sides, on village greens or industrial town club grounds, reflected how much Israeli cricket was improving. Since then, Israel has participated in all of the seven ICC Trophy tournaments.

The most auspicious year for Israeli cricket so far was undoubtedly 1990. During the ICC Trophy in Holland, Israel recorded it's first ever win, defeating Argentina by one wicket in an exiting finish, and went one better beating Singapore in Kenya in 1994 by two wickets. On both occasions the team was captained by Stanley Perlman.

In March 1997, Israel participated in the ICC trophy in Malaysia, the first ever visit of any Israeli sports side to this country, which has no diplomatic ties with the Jewish State. Throughout the tournament the Israeli team was the target of violent political demonstrations by PAS Moslem fundamentalist movement.

The 15th Maccabi Games were a great success for the Israel team. Under the guidance of the then permanent professional coach, Dutchman Roland Lefebvre, a determined and disciplined team won the bronze medal for the first time since 1981.

In 1996, Israel, along with Denmark, Gibraltar, Holland, Ireland, Italy and Scotland, founded the European Cricket Council in Copenhagen at the inaugural ECC Championships. The Israel national team has participated in all four championships held thus far (Denmark 1996, Holland 1998, Scotland 2000 and Ireland 2002), recording six victories to date.

In September 2000 the ICA officially launched a youth development programme, with ICC CEO David Richards visiting Israel to mark the occasion. Since its' inception, the programme has had tremendous success. Junior teams have participated in three European tournaments to date, winning two gold medals (U13's in Italy, 2002 and U15's in France, 2003) and one silver medal (U15's in Germany, 2001). Israel boasts a record of having won 14 out of 15 matches played in European junior competitions. Apart from providing a new impetus to the local game by developing a new generation of Israel cricketers, the benefits of the programme has also been felt beyond the field of play. Children with particularly difficult social and economic hardships have been specifically included, giving them an opportunity to play a sport when most others are beyond their financial reach. Cricket has been successfully used as a tool for social upliftment. This was acknowledged by the International Cricket Council in March 2003 when Israel was chosen as the Global Award Winner in the inaugural ICC / Flicx Community Development Award.