The Swiss U15 team was invited to participate in a four team tournament held from August 14-18, 2017 in Leicester, UK.
The Colour Clothing Tournament, organised by Don Bhagawati and his team from City Cricket Academy, is in its eleventh year and was played at the excellent facilities of Leicester Grammar School.
In addition to the Swiss team, the teams were ICC Power from ICC Dubai, CCA Rhinos a mixed team from Pune and local players and CCA Sixers also a mixed team from Mumbai and local players.
As the tournament name suggests all teams were kitted out in brightly coloured uniforms; the Swiss team sporting bright orange tops and blue trousers. The format was a league of T20 and T40
matches with points for winning as well as batting and bowling bonus points. The two top teams would play each other in the final on Friday afternoon.
This was very much a trip into the unknown for the Swiss team both in terms of the opposition but also because the team had never played together. We were given the chance the play two warm up matches against a young Cricket Next Academy side from Pune. This proved to be an invaluable experience as although the opposition wasn’t particularly testing, the pitch was. A slow, low bouncing, turning wicket could not have been more different from the artificial pitches we are used to. We were immediately on a steep learning curve. Although we secured a comfortably victory in the first match, the second match went to a super-over as our batsmen struggled to score. However it was a good start: played two, won two.
Day 1 of the tournament was a T20 day with each team playing two matches. Power were our first opponents who, batting first, were surprised by the pace of our attack. Adil Tunda, by far the quickest bowler in the tournament, picked up 3 wickets and Alex Bucheli clean bowled 4 victims. The run chase to the target of 74 was dominated by some aggressive hitting from Hemant Ganesh (50*) as we knocked off the runs in 7 overs without losing a wicket. The second match against Rhinos followed a similar pattern. Alex Bucheli continued his devastating form taking another 4 wickets, three bowled and one LBW, as Rhinos were dismissed for 70. We lost two wickets in reply with Luke Specogna top scoring on 36 and Aidan Anderson not out on 17.
We went into day 2 high on confidence for our first 40 over match against Sixers. Our confidence was soon dashed as we were inserted on a used wicket which had both inconsistent bounce and was taking a lot of spin. Sixers had a couple of excellent spinners and wickets fell at regular intervals until we were all out for 104 in 28 overs. James West 21 and Amogh Rathi 17 were the only players to make it into double figures. Our opponents seemed very confident that the total was an easy target but somewhat under-estimated our attack. Our opening bowlers were fired up and found pace and bounce in the wicket which had been absent in the first innings. Dayn Pariaug struck in the first over, Adil Tunda in the second and then Dayn followed up with two more wickets in over 7. At 19 for 4 Sixers were in deep trouble. They rallied a little taking the score to 30 without losing another wicket. Adil then took 3 wickets in an over and Sixers came in for lunch at 35 for 7. After lunch Dayn finished the job off taking 3 more wickets to take 6 for 17 in 6.2 overs. Adil took 4 for 14 in 6 overs as Sixers were all out for 44. We had clearly established ourselves as the strongest bowling attack but we saw that in the adjacent fixture, Rhinos scored 320 against Power. Our ability to post a competitive score on a turning wicket remained in question.
Day 3 was back to T20 and were again up against Sixers. We won the toss and bowled. Ismail Zaidi was the star bowler this time taking 3 for 12 in 4 overs as Sixers were all out for 87. In reply Hemant Ganesh scored a rapid 28 before being bowled leaving Luke Specogna to score 44 as he and Ismail Zaidi (11*) steered us home with 7 overs to spare. The afternoon match was against Power who had conceded 180 runs against Rhinos in losing the morning match. We batted first, the innings dominated by 87 from Hemant Ganesh with Luke Specogna contributing 22 as we reached 173 for 8 in 20 overs. In reply Power were effectively contained by our tight bowling and excellent fielding including a direct hit run out from the boundary by Ismail Zaidi. Dayn Pariaug and Alex Bucheli each took two wickets and the Power innings closed on 61 for 8 after 20 overs. In the adjacent match Rhinos were becoming the main challengers as they comfortably beat the Sixers with an impressive batting display.
Day 4 was another 40 over match this time against Rhinos who batted first. After losing a wicket in the first over to Adil Tunda, Sixers progressed steadily to reach 84 for 4 off 18 overs. There were enough overs left for them to amass a substantial total. Captain Hemant Ganesh then brought himself and James West on to bowl, the two off spinners bowling in tandem. They bowled with good control slowing the run rate, forcing the batsmen to take more risks. After two run outs the last 4 wickets fell quickly. Hemant finished with 2 for 31 off 5 overs and James 2 for 18 in 6 overs as Rhinos were all out for 135. The chase proved tricky as Rhinos leg spinners took wickets at regular intervals. In form batsmen Hemant Ganesh (48) and Luke Specogna (50) held the innings together as the target was finally reached in the 31st over for the loss of 7 wickets. Our 100% record was intact and with one league-stage match still to play we had already qualified for the final. However our batting relied heavily on two players and so far we had managed in all the matches to dismiss both Rhino’s and Sixer’s star batsmen who were scoring heavily in all their other matches.
The final league match was a T20 against Power. We batted first scoring 156 for 4 with major contributions from Hemant Ganesh (43), Luke Specogna (36*) and Ismail Zaidi finding some form with 32. Our attack was too much for Power as they were dismissed for 37. Alex Bucheli collecting 3 wickets and Aryan Luthra 2.
As expected the final was against Rhinos who had again scored heavily to beat Sixers. Rhinos won the toss and inevitably chose not to face our attack but to field. The innings was dominated by a class display of batting by Hemant Ganesh as he scored 70. Ismail Zaidi also contributed well with 20 but some excellent captaincy and tight bowling from the Rhino’s spinners made runs hard to come by. After 19 overs we were 131 for 3 some way short of where we wanted to be. Adil Tunda took control of the situation coming down the wicket to hit a 4 and two 6s as the final over went for 21 and we set a respectable 152. The question now was whether we could continue our success in containing Rhino’s big hitters, particularly the highly talented Vare Tanvish who plays in the Indian U19 squad and was by some way the tournament’s top scorer. Obviously concerned by the strength of our attack, Rhino switched tactics and held back their star batsman. The opening spell from both Adil Tunda and Dayn Pariaug was fast and hostile. The batsmen did all they could to preserve their wickets but really struggled to score runs. When Luke Specogna took the first wicket in over 8 the score was just 35 and they were way behind the run rate. Tanvish came to the wicket and Hemant immediately brought back his opening bowlers. Tanvish was prevented from getting the strike and wickets fell at the other end: Dayn taking 2 and Adil 1 as the score reached 36 for 4 after 11 overs. The required rate was now 13 runs per over and looked impossible. However the next over went for 12 runs and the following one 11. In the next over Luke Specogna bowled Tanvish who had scored 24 off 14 balls and Rhinos run chase ran out of steam eventually reaching 80 for 8 off 20 overs. Dayn Pariaug finished with 3 for 17 and Luke Specogna 2 for 26. It was a great team effort particularly in the field where in addition to the quality of our bowling we were the outstanding fielding side.
At the awards ceremony Hemant Ganesh was Man of the Match in the final, Dayn Pariaug received an award for his 6 wickets against Sixers and Adil Tunda was bowler of the tournament. The team all received winners medals and the trophy was presented to Hemant Ganesh.
I would like to express my sincere thanks to Don and the team at CCA for the opportunity to play in the tournament and the excellent organization. It was a great experience for all the Swiss cricketers to test themselves against strong opposition and continue to develop their individual cricketing skills and teamwork.
Aidan Anderson (La Chat), Alex Bucheli (Gingins), Hemant Ganesh (Cossonay), Aryan Luthra (Zurich), Dayn Pariaug (Zurich), Mitch Perry (La Chat), Amogh Rathi (Cossonay), Ishaan Sagar (Geneva), Luke Specogna (Zurich), Adil Tuna (Cossonay), James West (Basel), Luke Wilkinson (Cossonay), Ismail Zaidi (Cossonay)
Top run scorers
Hemant Ganesh 336, Luke Specogna 207, Ismail Zaidi 78, James West 57, Adil Tunda 47.
Top wicket takers
Alex Bucheli 15, Adil Tunda 11, Dayn Pariaug 10, Ismail Zaidi 5.