Switzerland is a picturesque land at the heart of Europe that has given the sporting fraternity some great names like Roger Federer, Martina Hingis and some popular ones such as Xherdan Shaqiri about whom you can find some real good articles in our site. However, this piece for a change would deal with an issue that might not be as pleasing to a Swiss fan.
Coming to the Alpine country that has more of its share of glory in ice-sports, cricket is a novice culture as far as its reach is concerned in central European countries. However, cricket traced its roots in Geneva to early nineteenth century courtesy a water-colour painting by an Italian architect Giovanni Salucci – an early indication that later blossomed into the institution of the Cricket Club of Geneva in 1872.
The so-called foreign game survived itself somehow for the next hundred years in its amateur form – justified on the grounds that every unaligned entity must do anything but be wiped out in a land that has unfailingly remained neutral in the polarized world of the twentieth century that witnessed two appalling world wars. In 1980, the Swiss Cricket Association was set up and the clubs from eastern part of the country – Bern, CERN, Geneva to name a few – attended the inaugural meeting. The western clubs like Zurich and Baden remain absentees although they adhered to the membership of the national umbrella.
Five years later in 1985, the International Cricket Council (ICC) recognized the Switzerland as an affiliate – the second to earn so after Italy. A few of the significant steps that the hilly nation took were the organization of a few regular tournaments like Zuoz cricket festival and some unique like the “Cricket on ice” at St Moritz. However, the bonhomie proved to be short-lived with the formation of a second body Schweizerischer Cricket Verband. A deep observation into the issue would divulge the greater differences persisting in the country for long – the French-speaking East and the German-speaking West.
With none of the established bodies being recognized by the national Olympic Association, the ICC had no other option than to pull the trigger. After a year suspension owing to non-compliance, Switzerland was stripped off the affiliation on 28th June, 2012. However, all is not lost – despite no grants from the parent body, some self-sponsored rookies have taken the bat and ball to private tours and faced unofficial teams from Denmark, Netherlands among others. Meanwhile, Cricket Switzerland desperately hopes that a change in name might rescind its fall in fame someday.
Photo by NAPARAZZI