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History of cricket

The game of cricket has been played in Zambia since the early 1900s. It wasn’t until the late 1950s or so that organised cricket in the then territory of Northern Rhodesia was firmly established as Northern Rhodesia Cricket Union (NRCU). For three to four decades the game was under the control of expatriates and local people were not encouraged, at first, to take part in either the playing or administrative aspects of the game.

However, from correspondence in the archives of Zambia Cricket Union, it can be observed that thoughts and views about the introduction of youth cricket in schools was evident in the mid 1920s or perhaps a little earlier. Between 1980-85, three distinct attempts have been made to redress the situation where the under-privileged youngsters could be brought into the cricket development scene. During the same period, the former chairman of the Zambia Cricket Union had the foresight to be a founder member of the newly-formed cricket federation of central and southern Africa in 1991, which was later transformed into the Africa Cricket Association (ACA) in 1996.

The school development programmes which started in 1995 and, headed by the development manager, has seen more than 5000 children playing the game of cricket from a cross section of government, private and community schools in the country.

International Competition

Today ZCU has reliable U13, U15, U17 and U19 development teams who are actively and competitively participating in the named leagues in both government and private schools. The girls league is yet to kick off although some girls play alongside the boys.

In 2001, Zambia successfully hosted the first-ever national ICC U15 tournament where Zambia came third. A similar tournament was held in Gaborone Botswana, where Zambia emerged second behind Namibia. Other countries that took part in this tournament were Malawi and Lesotho.

In 2002, Zambia hosted the Africa Cup Cricket Tournament with 10 countries participating namely: Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa 'A', Botswana, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. South Africa 'A' emerged as the overall winner.

Zambia participated in the ICC U19 tournament in South Africa where eight countries took part and Zambian players played tremendous cricket throughout. They played together as a team, were determined and above all played to win.

The Zambian senior team enjoyed its greatest success to date when it won the 2010 ICC World Cricket League Africa Region Division Two in Benoni, South Africa. Its record of five victories and one ‘no result’ was enough to earn it a place in Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Division Eight.

Domestic Competition

Midlands Cricket Association has three leagues with 15 teams in the 'A' league and 10 teams in the 'B' league

The Copperbelt has U15 and U19 schools leagues.

Regional Development

Since the introduction of cricket in Zambia, there has been a tremendous response from the children and teachers in schools

There has been about 80-plus schools who are taking part in the development programmes. These include government, community and private schools. Cricket is being played competitively amongst these schools. Cricket development has brought about a lot of cricket activities with the country having U13, U15, U17 and U19 teams comprising of 98% Zambian citizens.

Inter - Provincial

Every year, an inter-provincial tournament is held to assess the players to see how far their skills have developed compared to when they started the development programme.

Women`s Cricket Integration

The introduction of girls cricket has shown a lot of enthusiasm from girls in Lusaka schools. The administration in schools where cricket is being played has shown a lot of support for the game.

The integration of women`s cricket is trying by all means to help develop a clear pathway for female players both young and old to participate in the game of cricket as well as interact with administrators and peer-educators in addressing the pandemic of HIV/AIDS.