Why are we doing this?
In spite of cricket barely being played at their schools, and their families showing little interest in it either, Timothy Abraham and James Coyne each developed a love for the game during childhood. This coincided with a period of exciting expansion for the game round the world – making it possible for countries like Kenya to not only participate in World Cups, but beat West Indies and Sri Lanka along the way.
By the time Timothy and James had each entered journalism in the mid-2000s, there were more than 100 members of the International Cricket Council, a World Cricket League set up to provide regular competition, and special fast-track measures to tap into new markets in the US and China.
There was a genuine hope that cricket could shed its colonial image, and come to rival football as a truly global game. By now, Timothy was organising tours by his club, Carmel & District CC, to emerging cricketing nations in Europe. Their adventures ranged from contesting the first recorded game in Serbia, being broadcast live on Macedonian state television, and playing a stone’s throw away from a Polish nudist colony.
In 2011, the pair had further opportunity to pursue their passion, when James was appointed assistant editor of Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack, and they were asked to co-edit one of the book’s annual favourites, Cricket Round the World.
However, in recent years, their enthusiasm has been tested several times over: by shoddy mismanagement in Kenya and the US; the ICC’s unwillingness to join the Olympic movement; and its fateful decision to cut the 2019 World Cup to just ten teams. Much of the Americas remains a mystery to fans and administrators, hidden behind scorecards and media releases – despite the fact that USA v Canada and Uruguay v Argentina predate the Ashes as cricket’s oldest international fixtures.
Timothy and James decided to take it upon themselves to travel through Latin America – from Mexico to Chile – to unearth cricket’s storied history there, taking in war, revolution and mule trips across the Andes. In November 2015, they left their jobs to see cricket’s lost continent for themselves.