Ismael Patel, Secretary of the Panama Cricket Association, believes that Panama is capable of springing a surprise in the Pepsi ICC Americas Division 2 event, after its shock victory in the opening game over tournament favourites Suriname by 122 runs.
The Division 2 event began in Nassau, Bahamas from 1-6 February 2010 with five countries - Panama, Suriname, Turks & Caicos, Brazil and the hosts - competing for the top spot. The winner will progress to Division 1 in Bermuda in May 2010 and join Argentina, Bermuda, Canada, Cayman Islands and USA.
On preparations for the tournament, Patel said: "We practice with white balls every evening. This is followed with physical training and batting and bowling exercises. The team is united which is a real strength and almost all our players are all-rounders. We are confident that we can be a good match for any team any day."
"The team consists of talented players like Soyab Chohan, Nilesh Bhakta, Irfan Tarajia, Rajesh Ahir, Imran Bulbulia and Ibrahim Vhora. However, we do not have much experience playing the 50-over format which is a disadvantage."
Patel also stressed on the PCA's efforts to develop the game in the region: "The general target of PCA is to expand and develop the game amongst youth. We will also be increasing the junior team in Division 2 from five to ten for next year. We also aim to have a cricket ground which can be easily accessible."
For more information on the tournament, click here