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Subject: Life in Iceland special with Iceland Cricket Coach Darren Talbot

´´The journey of the Viking nation who turned their dream into the reality of having their own cricket field. The obstacles were many but they weren't ready to give up on any´´.

  • What is your philosophy of coaching?
    Player-centric. Working on improving strengths and reducing weaknesses. Focussing on their role in the team and making sure they understand that role and can grow within it.

  • What is the most rewarding part of being a coach?
    Success but not necessarily team success, that is a bonus. Players are succeeding in areas they have previously failed in after working on those issues.

  • Explain Iceland Cricket in one sentence.
    An eclectic mix of individuals from around the world who are turning an acorn into an oak tree.

  • What are the challenges you face with Iceland cricket? If any, how do you feel to overcome those challenges?
    Critical mass and finance are the two most significant issues. Facilities are improving and with the opening of the new ground this weekend that is going to open up many more possibilities and opportunities. When we have 100+ players, I will feel like the oak tree is ready to bear natural fruit

  •  Explain how technology has changed cricket? How do yo you make sure that you are updated with it?
    The coaching world now embraces plenty of technology, but I think that often removes coaches from the players more than is needed. There is nothing better than working one to one with a player and chatting through progress face to face. Sometimes the technology helps to demonstrate areas of improvement better, but in my opinion, it shouldn’t drive the coaching.

  • Your most significant achievement as a coach?
    I like to shy away from personal gratification as a coach as it’s about growing individuals and improving teams for me. Iceland beating Switzerland in our first International 50 over match has to be up there with my happiest moments. Equally, my work with the England Deaf Cricket pathway brings regular good moments, and several players I have found are now in the national Deaf team squad, which is pleasing.

  • Your most successful team? Why?
    Weybridge under 13s! I started with this team when they were under 8 and have worked closely with them over the years. They were recently invited to take part in the top under 13 league in Surrey and yesterday won their first game in that league. They’ve been an inspiration to me over the past six years.

  • What’s your message to the kid's parents who are entering the sports?
    Let them enjoy it and, if they do end up showing ability, encourage but don’t force.

  • Who do you think will lift 2019 CWC?
    My heart and head saying England but our ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in World Cups is well known! I think New Zealand and West Indies would be my outside bets. I am going to back my county and say England!

  • What comes to your mind after hearing this? ONE OR TWO WORDS ONLY.

Cricket needs: bat/ball balance

Fairplay: Clarify Mankads!

Pressure: Challenge

Best Batsman: de Villiers

Best Bowler: Warne

Best All-Rounder: Botham

Best Fielder: Jonty Rhodes

Best Coach: Bob Woolmer

Retirement: Never!

AB Iceland website: Fun



ICELAND CRICKET would not be where it is today without the stubbornness of expats living to make the impossible possible. The most northerly cricket ground in the world was opened by the Icelandic Prime Minister, Katrín Jakobsdóttir, on Sunday, May 26, 2019.


Why Iceland Cricket is special?

Iceland is located 66 degrees north which locates the country in a special place. Night cricket games are common due to no darkness in the summer period. Icelandic people have no clue and still believe the game is similar to ´´CROQUET´´.  When it comes to belief, more than 70% of the population believes in the existence of elves. The concept of getting drunk after the cricket game is adored by the Icelanders, having seen at first hand the antics of British touring sides. 

They are the proud owner of the world´s best Twitter account from a non-playing international cricket nation by miles. If you don't follow them, you are missing cricket’s best jokes and trolls. They are in the Top 10 of their country for accounts with the most Twitter followers. They have utilised it to the fullest and raised money with crowdfunding by promoting their fundraising initiatives on social media. Reddit, an Indian based company, has helped them in raising over 3000 pounds, and they keep on coming up with different ideas to raise money for their cricket team. Recently, they had a raffle to raise money for cricket equipment. They don't receive any funding from their government and are still able to run their team. 



  • Iceland has a 100% victorious record in international cricket.

  • No one has taken 5 wicket haul till yet.


Excerpts from their Chairman’s speech during the ground opening event:

* Looking forward to an exciting future in partnership with TUFF, to introduce children’s cricket to Iceland.

* Cricket has come a long way in Iceland and with everyone’s continued support the sky's the limit.


TUFF and Iceland Cricket partnership

What is TUFF?

TUFF empowers youths through participation in sports and leisure, teaching education in human values, tolerance, integration, individual liberty, gender equality, environment, respect for other cultures and the rule of law and democracy.TUFF bridges the gap between children of different background and origins, and creates a positive pathway for them. TUFF encourages and implements social integration and community cohesion globally. TUFF is currently running in India, Australia, Italy, the UK and Iceland. 


TUFF for Iceland Cricket FUTURE

Dr Shamender Talwar has a big crush for cricket. He has played a crucial role in bringing TUFF to Iceland. Iceland Cricket would be the first country in the world where cricket would be taught in languages other than English within the TUFF program. The whole program would be taught in Icelandic by them. Gudni Þór Jóhannesson, President of Iceland, and Pope Francis are TUFF’s patrons. The plan is to bring cricket to Icelandic schools, where they would be teaching cricket with their unique approach. They make sports fun by teaching them morals and sports at the same time.


Ancient History: Icelandic sagas and ‘cricket’ 

Cricket was invented by the Vikings. In the saga of Egill Skallagrímsson, the eponymous hero participates in a game by the river Hvítá in south-west Iceland in the year 911. The Saga recounts: ‘when they reached the games meeting, the players were divided up into teams’, which is exactly how cricket is played in Iceland today. ‘Egill was paired against a boy called Grímur … [who] was ten or eleven years old and strong for his age … Egill [who was seven years old] proved to be weaker than Grímur, who showed off his strength as much as he could. Egill lost his temper, wielded the bat and struck Grímur, who seized him and dashed him to the ground roughly, warning that he would suffer for it if he did not learn how to behave.’ Egill returned to the field of play with an axe, and drove it into Grímur’s head, ‘right through to the brain’. A battle ensued between the teams’ supporters, in which seven men were killed.


Modern history

Modern Iceland Cricket was founded by Ragnar Kristinsson who watched the famous world cup semi-final between Australia and South Africa while on holiday in Cyprus. He decided to bring cricket to Iceland. He thought that England is the only nation playing cricket in Europe and that Iceland could easily become the second-best team. They could go for free summer holidays and get away with warm Icelandic weather. Iceland is known for its scorching temperatures of 15°C in summer. Make sure you have a minimum SF 50 before you plan your visit here. Heatwave causes thousands of deaths in Iceland every year. Make sure you bring your summer hat, water bottle, sunglasses and your dream to see the good sun.


Iceland Cricket at a glance: Year breakdown

2000   Two teams, Kylfan and Glaumur, were formed for inaugural matches at Stykkishólmur. The first match was won by Glaumur; the second was won by Kylfan and saw the debut of Samuel Gill, Iceland's longest-serving player. Cricket moved to Tungubakkavellir for the first match played by the Iceland national team, against a visiting team formed by Manchester barrister Jonathan Rule. Iceland scored 107 and the visitors scored 94.

2001   A third domestic team, from Tryggingamiðstöðin insurance company, was formed for the benefit of a Sky Sports feature about Icelandic cricket. It played (and lost to) a combined Kylfan and Glaumur team, watched by a global audience.

2002   Cricket was first played at Víðistaðatún because houses were constructed at Tungubakkavellir. 

2003   Cricket moved to Laugardalur. The famous BBC commentator Henry Blofeld accompanied the Effigies tour to Iceland in when one game was played under the midnight sun, and another on a glacier. Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden played, and also piloted the touring team's plane.

2004   A British paper factory brought the third touring side to tour Iceland.

2005   Cricket was dominated by Asian expats working for the Kárahnjúkar dam project.

2006   Domestic cricket continued sporadically and casually, now at Klambratún.

2007   A fourth visiting team, representing DHL, came to Iceland. 

2008   There was a substantial influx of Indian players when Tata began a consultancy in the capital city. A quadrangular tournament was played between the 1st and 2nd XIs of Kylfan and Tata, and Ovingdean, from England, became the fifth team to visit Iceland.

2009   The financial crash meant that all the Tata players left, and although Sachin Tendulkar visited Iceland, it was only to play golf.

2010   Icelanders celebrated as Tendulkar became the first batsman to score 200 in an ODI, which was front-page news in Iceland. The same year, it was reported that Lalit Modi was seeking asylum in Iceland. He denied it the following day.

2011   The Fellowship of Fairly Odd Places brought the sixth touring team to Iceland and Robert Kottman, of the visiting team, took the only hat trick in Icelandic cricket.

2012   Cricket continued on an informal basis at Klambratún.

2013   Klambratún remained the home of Icelandic cricket but the artificial pitch, donated by the Effigies in 2003, is dug up and removed.

2014   The seventh touring team to visit Iceland, and the first from outside England, was an Australian touring team, Celtic Ice. 

2015    Matches moved to Kórinn, where Iceland hosted four touring teams: Columbia (USA), Galah (Australia), Carmel (Wales) and Dollar (Scotland). By the end of the year, there were sufficient players for the formation of two domestic teams for the first time since 2008: a new team, Kópavogur, beat Reykjavík (formerly Kylfan) by seven wickets and proceeded to win the first domestic series 3—2.

2016   Kópavogur won the sophomore series 3—2 and there was a visit from Masstor (England), the 12th team to tour Iceland. Iceland undertook its first international tour, to Czechia for the Pepsi Cup, an international club tournament with one invited team from each of Austria, Czechia, Iceland, Qatar, Sweden and Switzerland. Iceland came fifth out of the six teams. 

2017   The season began with Reykjavík avenging the previous year’s series defeat (3—2). Iceland’s second international tour was to the UK  for friendly matches in Bedfordshire and Berkshire. Visits by four English clubs followed: Allez Les Bloggers, Hackney Village (against whom Dushan Bandara hit an Icelandic home record 127 from 45 balls in the same innings), Antelopians and the Authors. Iceland’s third international tour was a return to Czechia in 2017 for the Pepsi Cup, this time with invited club teams from the UK, Russia, Czechia, Iceland, India and Switzerland. Iceland again came fifth out of the six teams. 

2018   The domestic series was renamed the Volcanic Ashes and Kópavogur beat Reykjavík  3—2. The Íslensk Premier League (ÍPL) was formed: a six-a-side tournament played between Reykjavík and Kópavogur plus three new teams: Seltjarnarnes, Garðabær and Hafnarfjörður. Garðabær were the winners. Iceland’s fourth international tour was to the UK in 2018 for matches against the MCC, the Club Cricket Conference, the Authors and a Rest of the World XI captained by former New Zealand international Iain O’Brien. The tour concluded with Iceland’s first-ever international match, against Switzerland at St George’s College in Weybridge. Iceland scored 330 for 7 in 50 overs, with Dushan Bandara hitting 134 from 105 balls. Switzerland was bowled out for 115 in 27 overs. Iceland’s fifth international tour was a return to Czechia in 2018 for the Pepsi Cup, this time with invited club teams from the USA, Bahrain, Czechia, Iceland, India and Switzerland. Once again, Iceland came fifth out of the six teams.

2019   The Volcanic Ashes, now in its fifth season, saw Reykjavík defeat Kópavogur  4-1. They participated this year in four-nation T20 tournament and finished last,

Recent News * Kings XI Punjab included Iceland’s mystery spinner in a historic move for a season-long trial. An Icelander almost made it to the biggest league in the cricket world. Kato Harris, 39, was the identified hero, known for bowling very slow off-spin, but boasting career-best figures of 9/1. In the football world, we would compare him to the Paul Pogba penalty kick. Slow and steady wins the race.

* They participated in a four-nation tournament in Malta. It was their first tournament where they lost in semi-final without winning a single game.


Behind the curtain people

Nolan Williams: Chairman (The head) (Ice cool leader)

Samuel Gill: Vice-Chairman (The oldest member of the club)

Lee Nelson: Ex-Chairman(Firebrand leader)

Darren Talbot: The coach (The first coach of the team)

Abhishek Chauhan: BOD member (The heart) (Bringing back Icelandic cricket from its grave)

Kit Harris: Secretary and Marketing Manager(The catalyst who has helped to uprise of Iceland cricket)

David Cook: Treasurer (Man behind the numbers)(former Stats keeper of the club)

Leslie Dcunha: Events manager(Every party starts with him)

Olafur Briem: BOD member(first Icelandic addition to the BOD group)

Lakmal Bandara: Current Captain of the team

Jakob Robertson: Not a current BOD member but played a crucial role in Icelandic cricket


How to reach them?

Website: www.krikket.is

Twitter: Iceland Cricket

Facebook: Iceland Cricket

Instagram: Iceland Cricket

Mail: secretary@krikket.is


Author: (Abhi Chauhan)
Date: 30/10/2019


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