Cricket migrates to Switzerland

"Le Matin Dimanche", Sunday 30 June 2019

TEXTS: GRÉGORY BEAUD, PHOTOS: CHRIS BLASER

A cousin of baseball, cricket lives in Switzerland thanks to a majority of English-speaking players. But not only.

PHOTO: CHRIS BLASER
PHOTO: CHRIS BLASER

First there is this pleasant moment of the first throw. We can almost speak of carelessness, when one of the members of the Cossonay club gives us the ball. "Go try it, you'll see it's not that hard." Two or three steps forward to pretend to be comfortable, and presto! While the batter easily returned the ball, but the jet was almost like what we see on TV. Not so hard, this cricket ... "Now you do it again but do not bend your arm. It's not baseball (laughs). "The sentence is irrevocable. It was a nice try but totally fooled from a technical point of view. "

The throwing motion is like a reel with the arm continually stretched. "And that's when the dream of a career suddenly evaporates. No, in fact, it's pretty complicated to imitate a catapult while bouncing the ball in front of the thrower and (as if it was not hard enough) try somehow to drop the pieces of wood located behind the opponent (the wicket). A sport practised mainly in the Commonwealth, cricket has many clubs in Switzerland. The championship finals will be held in Cossonay next October. On the field specially designed for cricket, we tried to learn a little more about this distant cousin of baseball.

The coach

PHOTO: CHRIS BLASER
PHOTO: CHRIS BLASER

Philippe Gimmel is a member of the Cossonay Cricket Club. After discovering this sport during his childhood in Singapore, he has been playing in Switzerland for nine years. Unlike most of his teammates, he does not have this sport "in the blood". To answer the question of whether you must be an anglophone to join the "CCC", he laughs: "No, but it helps." Finding cricket late in life, Philippe Gimmel admits that the most difficult thing is probably the atypical act of throwing (we come to it). For "Le Matin Dimanche", he gives us a small short insight into this little-known sport in our country.

The wicket

PHOTO: CHRIS BLASER
PHOTO: CHRIS BLASER

We are not going to embark on a very detailed explanation of the cricket rules. This ambition would require more than one page of this newspaper. There are 42 "Laws of Cricket" as well as four annexes. "To put it simply, Philippe Gimmel attempts to summarize: two teams of eleven players compete. The goal is to score points, which are called runs, by hitting the ball with the bat. Running from one end to another equals one point. For the team that throws, it is necessary to eliminate the opponent batters by knocking the pieces of wood located behind them. The batter is also eliminated if the ball is caught in the air by an opponent. "And the points? "In addition to the runs, a ball that goes leaves the field without touching the ground is six points, and four in the event in bounces." When the eleven batters are eliminated, the roles are reversed. Simple, no?


Several ways to hit

PHOTO: CHRIS BLASER
PHOTO: CHRIS BLASER

"It's at the moment of the strike that the tactical aspect makes sense," explains Philippe Gimmel. Several possibilities are offered to the batter according to the opponent's throw. "Clearly, if the ball is "easy", there is a way to attack and try to score some points by hitting it. "But the batter takes risks, because if he misses, he is eliminated. It's a weigh-in of interest based on the score and the number of teammates still in the game. "The best bowlers can disguise the effect after the ball is bowled. "With seaming, the thrower can influence trajectory and bounced. It is not the strongest balls that are the most difficult. On the contrary. "

Equipment

PHOTO: CHRIS BLASER
PHOTO: CHRIS BLASER

The ball is made of cork covered with leather. The latter is connected by a seam. It is this peculiarity that allows the bowlers to give effects (read left). The bats are asymmetrical and the flat side (the blade) is used to hit the ball. The batter wears gloves, helmet and other protective equipment such as leg guards.



This article originally appeared in French in the print and online versions of Le Matin Dimanche on 30th June 2019.