The first record of cricket in Switzerland is a painting by Giovanni Salucci in 1817 showing cricket being played in Geneva, and in the same city 102 years later there were matches played by British and Commonwealth expatriates attached to the League of Nations.
It is unlikely that there was any continuity between these dates or between those who played before the First World War and those who founded the Geneva Cricket Club in 1951. There is continuity for cricket though in the medieval village of Zuoz, situated at an altitude of 1700m in the Upper Inn valley of the Engadine.
Here in 1923, Gordon Spenser, the sports teacher at the Lyceum Alpinum, an international school founded at the end of the 19th century, introduced cricket to the curriculum. With the help of a succession of cricket assistants from Cambridge during the 1920s and 1930s, the game acquired a degree of permanence with matches played against visiting teams from England and The Netherlands. Very soon it was possible to arrange games against the school and its former pupils. In 1985 it organized the Zuoz cricket festival which became an annual event.
The facilities are good with the ground being large enough to accommodate four matches simultaneously on well-prepared grass wickets, and in 1997 the school hosted the European Cricket Federation Nations tournament.
During the 1970s cricket clubs were established by expatriates in Bern, Baden, Basel and Zurich by staff working at CERN. Representatives of four of these clubs met in Bern during March of 1980 and set up the Swiss Cricket Association.
Switzerland was granted Affiliate status by ICC in 1985, and played its first international matches in the European Cricketer Cup in Guernsey in 1990, where it finished sixth.
Since 1988 it staged a cricket-on-ice tournament during the winter on the frozen lake at St Moritz. The event has attracted teams from England, India, South Africa and Hong Kong as well as local clubs.
The highest team score of 330 was achieved against Austria at Zuoz in a game in 1997, while the following squad members travelled to Corfu for the 1999 ECC Trophy: Tom Brink, Andy Gilbert, Kurt Ziegler, Daniel Kropf, Jamshaid Kahn, Maqsood Khan, Tariq Khan, Tariq Sheik, Abraham Koshy, Nelson Burrell, Rod Nish, Jacques Boshoff, Nasr Hamirani.
In the group stages they lost to Greece by six wickets but bounced back to defeat Austria by two wickets thanks to five wickets by Hamirani and 69 from Burrell. They followed that up with another two wicket win, this time chasing 262 to beat Belgium with Hamirani making it back-to-back five wicket hauls from Hamirani and 127 from Andy Gilbert. They lost in the semi-final by 57 runs to Portugal.
They played again in the 2001 ECC Trophy in Austria, finishing 8th out of the ten participants, winning one of their group games against Croatia and losing to Finland in the play-offs. Highlights were 65 by Jacques Boshoff against Belgium, and Tom Brink's 72 against Finland. Between 1999 and 2003 they also made four appearances in the European Indoor tournaments with little success. They were back in Austria for the 2003 ECC Trophy but a disappointing tournament saw them finish in 9th place, their only win coming against Luxembourg.
They enjoyed better fortunes in the 2004 ECC Representatives tournament in Slovenia, where they won three matches to finish third in the six team competition. They racked up 322 for 5 in their opening match against Bulgaria, with Nelson Burrell scoring 127 - he had scored 135 in match against France four years previously. Manuel Simon 4-19, and Ali Peermohamed 3-21 bowled Bulgaria out for 66. A six wicket loss to Austria was followed by a 35-run win over Luxembourg, with four wickets for Remo Baleri. Three wickets for Ashley Gerrard and Pieter Swanepoel ensured a seven wicket win over Slovenia, while they just missed out on a share of the title on the final day as they were beaten by eventual winners Croatia by just 16 runs.
2004 squad: Thomas Brink (Captain), Pieter Swanepoel, Daniel Peeroo, Nelson Burrell, Robert Emslie, Alex Alexandrou, Manuel Simon, Ashley Gerrard, Ali Peermohamed, Abraham Koshy, Rizwan Issadeen, Remo Baleri, Manager: Mira Koshy.
Their next appearance in European competition was in 2009 when they took part in Division Four and they produced some excellent cricket winning four of their five matches, just losing out on the title by 0.15 NRR to hosts Cyprus. They made an inauspicious start with a 105-run loss to Cyprus, but played flawless cricket thereafter. They beat Finland by two wickets, and followed that up with a whopping 282-run win over Slovenia. Azeem Nazir hitting 175 as they made 330, and then taking three wickets as Slovenia scored just 48. Nazir was in the runs again hitting 74 in the win over Austria, but despite a final day win over Luxembourg in which Nazir took five wickets, they just missed out on title glory.
Nazir had the consolation of being named Player of the Tournament, but this was to be the last appearance by Switzerland in a senior European competition after they were suspended by ICC in 2012 over a row about who was the official governing body in the country.
Their Under 17s did play in the 2010 Division Two tournament in the Isle of Man finishing fifth out of ten teams with wins over Austria, Belgium and Germany. Midhun Lal Sandhya was joint leading wicket taker in the tournament with 14, which also included a hat-trick against Germany.
This profile by Roy Morgan was first written in 2006 and has been updated by CricketEurope.
You can find out more about Swiss cricket by visiting their website https://www.cricketswitzerland.ch
|Switzerland at International Tournaments|
|View Tournament||2009 European Division 4 (Cyprus)|
|View Tournament||2004 ECC Representative (Ljubljana, Slovenia)|
|View Tournament||2003 ECC Trophy (Vienna, Austria)|
|View Tournament||2001 ECC Trophy (Austria)|
|View Tournament||1999 ECC Trophy (Corfu, Greece)|