It started with the official opening on Wednesday 9th May and for two weeks Cricket was the main attraction at the So British! Coop roadshow at Letzipark in Zurich.
The Swiss Cricket Association supplied indoor nets and matting to create some realistic cricket facilities in the three floor shopping centre in the heart of Zurich.
Accompanied by a Mr. Bean look-a-like, and various other British attractions, cricket was the centre attraction offered to visitors to the Letzipark shopping centre.
The Zurich Crickets and Zurich based clubs then shared the opportunity to demonstrate cricket in a unique environment.
By Brijesh Luthra
It’s a Saturday morning. It’s raining cats and dogs outside. You walk in to a shopping center in Zurich. The last thing you expect to see there is a huge enclosure made up of black and grey netting.
“Is it a cage?”
“Is there going to be a wrestling match here?”
“Maybe there will be a British beer drinking competition!”
Rumours are flying thick and fast from the onlookers. Of-course these comments are being passed in perfect ear rattling Swiss-German, rather than
But really, what is a cage doing in the middle of a busy shopping center celebrating a British month?
Look closely and one can see two mannequins, one dressed up fully in white and other in white and blue clothing standing there. At 10am, a man steps inside the cage and starts setting up 3 sticks at each end of the rectangular cage. The curiosity of the on lookers increases. One of the more courageous types walks to the edge of the cage and asks that man setting up those sticks. “Was passiert hier?” (What’s going on here?).
The man inside the cage, is an Indian. He replies back in Denglish (A mixture of Deutsch and English), “Cricket. Das ist ein British sport.”
“Cricket. Ach so! Kann ich probieren?” (Aha, Cricket. Can I try?) says the inquirer.
“Sicher! Kennst du Cricket?” (Sure! Do you know Cricket?) asks the surprised Indian man.
….. With this conversation, the tone of the Cricket demonstration planned at the Letzipark ‘So British’ event is set.
Soon a bunch of 9 kids arrive carrying their cricket kit and step inside. The Indian man, their coach, greets them. All of them get together in a huddle and shout, “We are Zurich Crickets, Hoi…Hoi…Hoi” at the top of their voices to attract everyone’s attention again. A quick warm up and a game of indoor cricket begins. Balls are being thrown around and hit, kids are running from one end to the other, scores are being announced and the activities are being continuously explained by the coach to the people watching.
More onlookers gather in curiosity. Ok, the crowd is hardly of IPL cricket math proportion, but more that enough for a demonstration of a sport, which might be akin to a strange ritual to most of the shoppers.
Three short games of indoor cricket are played over the planned 2 hours. 9 of the spectators join in and try their hand at batting and bowling during various stages of the matches (much to the astonishment and occasional dismay of the young U9 & U11 cricketers). Every one of them is given is a huge rousing welcome and send-off by the kids, which brings a smile to everyone’s faces. The brochures displayed are disappearing quickly … all the indications that the event was a success.
Soon it is 1pm, time for the U13s & U15s to take center stage and carry on with the job of giving a small taste of this wonderful sport to the Swiss.
by Alex Mackay
The Letzipark Road show climaxed in the final afternoon on Saturday 19th May with a demonstration of cricket by members of the S.C.A., moderated by the lovely Miss Switzerland runner-up Rekha Datta accompanied by technical explanations of the action and historical facts & figures by SCA President Alex Mackay. Cricket was on show once more to the amazement and curiousity of visitors to the Letzipark Shopping Centre in the heart of Zurich.
Visitors were also invited to participate in the action, to try their hand at batting and even the more challenging bowling.
"We made many friends in Zurich today", said Alex Mackay, "and hundreds of Zurich City residents have returned home knowing something (more) about cricket in Switzerland".
The SCA will be in Crissier in less than a months time as the Coop road show travels across the Rösti-divide into the Suisse-Romandie.