St Gallen CC on the way to the top

On Friday 14th September 2018 an article appeared in German in the St Galler Tagblatt (paper & online editions) about St Gallen CC's ambitions to reach the CSPL Final this year and what they had already achieved in the few years since being founded.
You can read Cricket Switzerland's English translation of the article below (by special permission of the St Galler Tagblatt), along with a link to the original article.

 

Ives Bruggmann, Tagblatt.ch, 14.9.2018

The St. Gallen Cricket Club is again in the semi-finals of the national championship. Just four years after its foundation, the club wants to be in the final, which takes place on October 7th at the Gründenmoos. But the club is not just about sporting success, the social aspect also plays a major role.

Already last year, St. Gallen reached the semi-finals. (Image: Urs Bucher, St. Gallen, August 28, 2017)
Already last year, St. Gallen reached the semi-finals. (Image: Urs Bucher, St. Gallen, August 28, 2017)

Over a billion people around the world watched as India and Pakistan competed against each other at the 2015 Cricket World Cup. The enthusiasm for cricket knows no bounds in Great Britain and its former colonies. In the rest of the world, as in this country, the sport leads a shadowy existence. There is hardly a Swiss who understands the sport, let alone practises it regularly.
The St. Gallen Cricket Club wants to change these circumstances. Although players from Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Jamaica or Afghanistan are active in the club founded in 2014, a Swiss has never been there. "The Swiss simply do not know the sport," says Nasir Mahmood, one of the founders of the club. In Pakistan they would grow up with the sport. "Like the Swiss with football or skiing," says Mahmood. The Pakistani is convinced that the Swiss with their characteristics would be predestined to be successful in cricket. "The game requires patience and strategy." It is not without reason that cricket is played 60 per cent in the head, with the remaining 40 per cent being reserved for the physical effort.

Quickly earned the respect

In his early days in Switzerland, Mahmood pondered why he had to drive all the way to Winterthur to play cricket in a club. In 2014 he founded the St. Gallen Cricket Club with today's President Falak Sher and another member. From the beginning there were many challenges to be mastered for the new club. Just the search for a suitable training ground proved difficult because the hard cricket ball requires a hard playing surface. The club is currently training on the hard court of the Othmarschulhaus in Gossau. "We are very grateful to the council," says Mahmood. In the Swiss cricket scene Mahmood, who plays the most important role on the field as captain, and his comrades earned their unrestricted respect within a few years. «The opponents know that we are strong. With a lot of effort we have found success from nothing. »This season the St. Gallen CC is in the semi-finals of the Swiss Championship. Just like last year. But this time the final is to be reached. "Thanks to the city we have the honour of hosting the final at Gründenmoos," says Mahmood. As an organizer it is up to the St. Gallen Club to set up the mobile wooden base and prepare the pitch. "It would be painful if we had to prepare this for other teams, so we are motivated to reach the final ourselves," says Mahmood.

St Gallen Cricket Club
St Gallen Cricket Club

Fixed cricket pitch as medium term goal

The club hopes that with success it can attract the attention of the Swiss. "We would also like to bring the sport closer to them." Furthermore, the St. Gallen Club hope that they can one day practise on a fixed training ground. But even now Mahmood and Sher are satisfied with what they have achieved in the four years of the club’s existence - in addition to the sporting successes. «We offer a lot of people a kind of home. The club helps many people, including refugees, to be integrated in society. »

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This article originally appeared in German on St Galler Tagblatt.ch and has been translated into English for the Cricket Switzerland website.