WHEN the members of the Vatican cricket team arrive in Britain
today, they will still be glowing with the blessing given to them
by Pope Francis earlier this week.
After receiving the team on Tuesday, the Pontiff also signed a
cricket bat. It will accompany the players on their their tour of
England, which culminates in the match against the Archbishop of
Canterbury's XI in Canterbury next Friday.
The team is led by Fr Anthony Currer, a British priest at the
Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. He told The
Daily Telegraph that no "sledging" would take place:
"Hopefully nothing will be picked up by the stump microphones - but
when you play you play to win."
Commenting on the website of the Pontifical Council for Culture,
the Revd Dr Eamonn O'Higgins LC, the team's spiritual director and
manager, who works at the Pontifical International Seminary,
described his side as "rank underdogs with a very outside chance. .
. On paper, the Anglican XI has much greater experience and match
practice as individuals. That is not surprising in England, the
home of cricket. We are a competent side, nothing more."
Fr Currer is captaining a side of from India, Pakistan, and Sri
Lanka. many of whom are young seminarians. The lack of facilities
means that the team has had to practise on a carpet laid on an
astroturf football pitch.
Fr Currer told Sky Sports that the team were "lovely to
train with . . . but they've gone from tape-ball cricket on
concrete and back streets anywhere in India and Sri Lanka and
Pakistan, to that astroturf . . . every stage is a big learning
One team member, Pratheesh Kallarakkal, said the seminarians
were living in "an international community where the culture of
football is the most famous, and we struggle a little bit to
reserve the ground."
The team has already played a Twenty20 match against Roma
Capannelle, one of Italy's top sides. It lost by just 11 runs.
Tomorrow, it will go up against a side of army chaplains at
Aldershot. It will then play St Peter's, Brighton, the Authors' XI,
and the Royal Household at Windsor.
"Normally I'm trying to agree with the Anglicans, not beat
them," Fr Currer told The Daily Telegraph.
The match at the Kent CCC ground in Canterbury on 19
September starts at 4 p.m. and is expected to end by 7 p.m.
Admission is free. For more details, see
THE Archbishop's XI experienced a serious setback this
week, when its captain, the Revd Jez Barnes, announced that a back
injury made it "90 per cent certain" that he would not be able to
The captaincy has been transferred to the Revd Steve
Gray, School Chaplain at Bradfield College
Mr Barnes's place in the team has gone to the Revd Chris
Lee. Aged 31, Mr Lee served as a missionary in Tanzania before
studying at Ridley Hall for ordination. He is now an Assistant
Curate at Holy Trinity, Brompton, and works at St Augustine's,
South Kensington. He captained the victorious London side in
the Church Times Cricket Cup final last week (Full