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Slippery wicket Cricket on ice keeps Switzerland on Indian tourist radar

Ice cricket

Players need to wrap up in thermals, gloves and hats and have footwear with a good grip to stop them from slipping on the outfield

(Sasi Subramaniam)

The gentleman’s sport of cricket, an obsession on the Indian subcontinent, has been strategically used to drum up interest in Switzerland by promoters and tourist attractions. 

Get the world’s fastest ever bowler (Shoaib Akhtar of Pakistan) to send a cricket ball whizzing at one of the most aggressive batsmen of all time (Virender Sehwag of India) and choose Swiss luxury ski resort St Moritz as the scene of the combat between sporting rivals. 

st moritz

The venue is better known for annual White Turf horse races on ice in February

(Sasi Subramaniam)

This is the premise of the Ice Cricket tournamentexternal link held on February 8 and 9. The match is featuring retired legends of the game from India, Pakistan, England, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and Sri Lanka. 

sehwag

India's Virender Sehwag (left) became the first player to score 50 runs in the 2018 tournament with a knock of 62 off 31 balls

(Sasi Subramaniam)


Ice Cricket 2018 teams 

Royals 

Shoaib Akhtar, Shahid Afridi, Abdul Razzaq, Jacques Kallis, Graeme Smith, Daniel Vettori, Nathan McCullum, Grant Elliott, Monty Panesar, Owais Shah, Matt Prior and Aidan Conor Andrews. 

Badrutt’s Palace Diamonds 

Virender Sehwag, Mohammad Kaif, Zaheer Khan, Ajit Agarkar, Joginder Sharma, Ramesh Powar, Michael Hussey, Andrew Symonds, Mahela Jayawardene, Lasith Malinga, Tillakaratne Dilshan and Rohan Jain.

end of infobox
Ball in the snow

Retrieving the ball when it lands outside the ice field is harder than usual 

(Sasi Subramaniam)

Cricket on Iceexternal link in St Moritz dates back to 1988 when Swiss anglophile Daniel Haering and his friends found themselves in St Moritz only to find there was no snow. They suddenly had the idea to play a game of cricket on ice and requested the nearby Lyceum Alpinum school to send players and equipment. 

The match was such a success that Haering set about persuading the local tourist authorities to give the tournament a space on the ice each year. The tournament snowballed into an annual event with teams invited from around the world. Players need to wrap up in thermals, gloves and hats and have footwear with a good grip to stop them from slipping on the outfield. 

Switzerland Tourism took inspiration from the tournament and got Indian actor Ranveer Singh, who served as brand ambassador, to play some cricket in St Moritz as well. 

ranveer

Ranveer playing cricket

But St Moritz is not the only Swiss destination using cricket as a marketing tool. One of the highest cricket matches ever played was organised on the Jungfraujoch at 3,453 metres (11,329 feet) in 2009 (the world record is 5,752 metres on Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania). 

It was a six-a-side exhibition match which lasted a mere 45 minutes but featured an Indian side led by 1983 World Cup winning captain Kapil Dev (along with Ajay Jadeja, Sandeep Patil, Roger Binny, Anshuman Gaekwad and Syed Kirmani) against a British team (featuring John Emburey, Chris Broad, Alvin Kallicharran, Geoff Howarth, Neal Radford and Collis King). India won that match 109-105. 

Kapil Dev playing in Jungfraujoch

Kapil Dev makes good contact with the ball

(Keystone)


Cricket in Switzerland 

Cricket was introduced to Switzerland by the English and the earliest evidence of a match being played in the country is depicted in an 1817 painting of a game in Geneva. 

There are now 15 teams playing league and cup cricket in Switzerland under the auspices of Cricket Switzerlandexternal link

The Swiss national cricket team regularly plays against other European countries.

end of infobox


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