|First-class debut|| Fiji v. Auckland |
(Auckland, New Zealand; 25 January 1895)
|International Cricket Council|
|ICC status||Associate member (1965)|
|ICC region||East Asia-Pacific|
|First international|| Fiji v. Australia |
(Suva, Fiji; 27 March 1905)
|One Day Internationals|
|World Cup Qualifier appearances||7 (first in 1979)|
|Best result||11th place (1997)|
|As of 10 October 2021|
The Fiji national cricket team is the men's team that represents the Republic of Fiji in international cricket. Fiji has been an associate member of the International Cricket Council (ICC) since 1965, although the team's history goes back to the late 19th century.
In April 2018, the ICC decided to grant full Twenty20 International (T20I) status to all its members. Therefore, all Twenty20 matches played between Fiji and other ICC members since 1 January 2019 have been a full T20I.
Cricket was introduced to Fiji by European settlers in 1874, and the native population began taking up the game in 1878. The governor of Fiji at the time listed introducing cricket to the native Fijians as one of the achievements of his tenure in his memoirs.
Fiji was playing first-class cricket just 21 years after cricket was introduced to the country, when they toured New Zealand in early 1895.
Fiji's team on the tour in 1895 was captained by John Udal, whose great-grandson Shaun would eventually play Test cricket for England. The first match of the tour was a two-day match against Auckland, which Fiji lost by an innings.
A low scoring second match against Otago was drawn after rain washed out the first of the two days. The third match against Canterbury was also lost by an innings, before a draw against Wellington.
The final two matches of the tour went much better for the Fijians, winning against Hawke's Bay by an innings after a century from John Collins, and beating Taranaki by two wickets.
In 1907–08, Fiji toured Australia, playing 26 matches against state, university and district sides between 11 December 1907 and 30 March 1908. In the drawn two-day match against Queensland, Pope Cakobau took 7 for 105 and 3 for 56. The Fijian team also played a two-day match against New South Wales and two against Victoria. All four of these matches were drawn.
A New Zealand team captained by Walter Harvie, and consisting mostly of players from Auckland, toured Fiji in March and April 1924, playing five matches, including two three-day matches against Fiji. None of the matches were first-class.
A young New Zealand team captained by Bruce Massey, known as the Maorilanders, toured Fiji in December 1935 and January 1936, playing nine matches, including two three-day matches against Fiji. None of the matches were first-class.
Fiji toured New Zealand twice more, in 1948 and 1954. Fiji's first match against a Test-playing nation came in 1956, when the West Indies visited. Fiji won the match against a team featuring the likes of Garfield Sobers by 28 runs despite being bowled out for 91, largely thanks to a six wicket haul from John Gosling.
Like the tour in 1895, the 1948 tour started with a defeat to Auckland, by 168 runs. Fiji won their next match against Wellington by one wicket, before losing to Canterbury by 36 runs.
The tour continued with a 46 run defeat by Otago and concluded with a 115 run win against Auckland. One notable player for Fiji on this tour was IL Bula, who scored the most runs and the only century on the tour. Bula's full name is Ilikena Lasarusa Talebulamainavaleniveivakabulaimainakulalakebalau, and his name is thought to be the longest of any first class cricketer.
Just four matches were played on the 1954 tour, which started with a two wicket defeat to Otago. The tour continued with another two wicket defeat, this time to Canterbury, before a 117 run defeat to Wellington. The tour ended with a seven wicket win against Auckland. The team included Ratu Kamisese Mara who would go on to become the Prime Minister and President of Fiji.
An England XI played two limited-over matches against the Fiji Cricket Association President's XI in 1984. Basically this was the full England squad of the day on its way to tour New Zealand. The England side won both matches although they were given a serious scare in the second, the Fijian side losing by only 18 runs.
Fiji gained associate membership of the ICC in 1965. They played in the first ICC Trophy tournament in 1979, and played in every one until 2001. They also played in the first ACC Trophy in 1996, losing in the semi-final to the UAE.
In 2001, Fiji played in the first Pacifica Cup in Auckland, reaching the final where they lost to the New Zealand Māori by three wickets. They played in the 2002 tournament in Samoa, finishing third after beating the Cook Islands in a play-off.
In 2003, Fiji hosted the South Pacific Games. The cricket tournament saw the hosts lose to Papua New Guinea in the final. The following year, they took part in the EAP Challenge in Fuji City, Japan, winning after beating Tonga in the final. This qualified them for the repêchage tournament for the 2005 ICC Trophy. At that tournament in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, they reached the final, where they lost to Papua New Guinea by 30 runs, thus missing out on the 2005 ICC Trophy.
In 2006, Fiji played in the 2006 ICC EAP Cricket Trophy in Brisbane, Australia. They won the tournament winning all of their matches against the Cook Islands and Japan, qualifying them for Division Three of the World Cricket League in Darwin, Australia. They warmed up for the tournament with a three match series at home against Vanuatu, winning all three matches, but were unsuccessful in the tournament itself, losing all five games they played, thus meaning they will have to take part in Division Four in 2008.
Later in 2007, they took part in the cricket tournament at the 2007 South Pacific Games, losing to Papua New Guinea in the final group game, meaning that they went home with the silver medal.
Fiji took part in the 2010 ICC World Cricket League Division Five in Nepal, where they finished sixth and last and in doing so failed to win a single match in the tournament. Fiji then played in the 2011 ICC World Cricket League Division Six and finished sixth and last and in doing so were relegated to 2013 ICC World Cricket League Division Seven.
For a list of selected international matches played by Fiji, see Cricket Archive.
See also: Category:Fijian cricketers
Fiji's most famous player is Neil Maxwell, who played first-class cricket for New South Wales and Victoria in Australia, and for Canterbury in New Zealand in addition to representing Australia A. Nat Uluiviti is the other Fijian to have played first-class cricket for a team other than Fiji, playing for Auckland in the 1950s.
The Fiji squad at the 2015 ICC World Cricket League Division Six tournament was as follows: