Cricket is not the hottest tourist attraction in the tiny land-locked Switzerland. But the expatriates living in the major cities have ensured that cricket thrives even in this country better known for their winter sports, like skiing and ice-hockey.
Cricket in Switzerland began in the early 60s, although there is proof that cricket was actually played in Geneva as early as in 1817! As one might guess, it is the British who were living in Switzerland at the time, who wanted to bring in something ”’from home” to add a little English flavour to their outdoor activities during the warm summer months.
From a handful of clubs in the 60s, cricket has now grown in Switzerland in keeping with the rest of Europe. Presently, there are more than 20 clubs spread out in most major cities, with Geneva, Zurich and Bern producing most of the clubs. With most countries in Europe taking to cricket with the influx of expatriates, cricket is becoming a well known sport in the European continent. As the expatriate communities have grown, so has the desire to turn the game into a more serious sport within the Swiss communities. Besides a fair number of players from Britain, most expatriates come from ex-British colonies -Australia, New Zealand, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, the West Indies, South Africa -to name a few. Switzerland is also a member of the ICC.
The game of cricket is usually played during the weekends between the months of May and September. One of the main drawbacks has been the limited availability of ‘cricket’ grounds. Most clubs had to play their weekend games in makeshift pitches with a matting wicket. Lately, with the kind assistance of Swiss authorities. Some clubs have been provided ground facilities with astro-turf wickets. Geneva is one of those fortunate venues. With cricket gaining some prominence, the Swiss authorities have also opened their doors to provide necessary training facilities for kids during their summer breaks from school. Besides the national championships, teams from other countries visit most cities in Switzerland to play weekend games.
Geneva Sri Lankan Cricket Club, based in Geneva, has been in existence since the late 70s and has won the Swiss championship on more than five occasions. The team, mostly Sri Lankans, is managed by Mr. Sunil Perera, who was a founder member of the Club.