by Jason Walden (Swiss U11 Coach)
After a grueling selection weekend in December 2018, thirteen players were selected for the 2019 Swiss U11 Surrey Tour over the Ascension weekend (30 May - 2 June 2019).
|Aiden Scanlon||Cossonay CC|
|Andreas Hall||Zurich Crickets CC|
|Austin Jennings||Zurich Crickets CC|
|Avneet Singh||Zurich Crickets CC|
|Connor Walden||Basel Dragons Junior CC|
|Dev Tiwari||Cossonay CC|
|Dhruv Nair||Zurich Crickets CC|
|Erik Scanlon||Gingins CC|
|Harry Moat||Gingins CC|
|Owen Young||Gingins CC|
|Pratyush Kasi||Basel Dragons Junior CC|
|Sai Kumar||Basel Dragons Junior CC|
|Vignesh Mukanden||Basel Dragons Junior CC|
After an impressive showing in the Basel U13 Indoor Tournament in March, the mighty Swiss U11 Team converged on Surrey on Thursday 30 May for the start of their 4 day / 5 match UK tour.
Blackheath CC 87/9 (Andreas 3/16, Connor 2/12) bt Swiss U11 86 (Connor 31) by 2 wickets
Shortly after arriving at the beautiful cricket club of Blackheath, the 2018/19 Swiss team were awarded their Swiss caps, a proud moment for all the boys, with 9 of the 13 players receiving their
first Swiss cap.
Blackheath won the toss and chose to bowl first. Swiss U11 got off to a solid but somewhat slow start with Avneet and Connor, on what proved to be a damp and tricky wicket. With the partnership on 30 off 37, Avneet was run out for 6. The other top and middle order batsmen including Andreas, Aiden, Pratyush and Dev were mostly able to stick around but found it difficult to get runs. However, there were a few notable boundaries from Andreas, Pratyush and Dev, and then with Connor retiring on 31 from 38, the Swiss team progressed to 86/4 in their 20 overs.
Blackheath came into bat and their openers started solidly; the breakthrough came at the end of the 3rd over when Aiden ran out one of the openers. The Blackheath captain and Surrey county player, Sam, came in and steadied their ship, until Connor came on in the 6 over and bowled the opening batsman, and then their number 4 in the 8th over. In the middle overs there were two outstanding direct throw runouts from Pratyush and Vignesh, which stemmed the flow of runs. However, Sam was keeping Blackheath in the game, until Andreas came on and bowled a pearler to take the edge off the county player’s bat, with Aiden taking an impressive catch at wicket keeper. It was left to the Blackheath numbers 7 and 8 to do the job; they needed 10 runs from the last 6 overs and we needed the last 2 wickets. As a result of some impressively disciplined bowling at the death from Andreas, Connor, Avneet and Sai, it took them a full 5 overs to get the 10 runs needed for victory. A nice close match to start the tour!
Friday was spent at a coaching clinic with the Twenty20 academy where the players played in mixed teams with the indigenous English players and got some valuable time in the middle adjusting to the outdoor game and to playing on grass pitches.
Academy 108/4 (Andreas 2/11, Sai 1/7, Austin 1/8) bt Swiss U11 107 (Avneet 17, Sai 16) by 1 run
The evening saw us take on the Twenty20 Academy team at Wandgas CC. Connor lost the toss again and Swiss U11s were made to field first. Sai and Connor opened the bowling and restricted the
Academy team to 8 off the first 2 overs, with Sai clean bowling the opener in the 4th over. The batting team started a recovery until Andreas came on in the 6th over and got the wicket of the
opener with a good catch from Connor at mid-off, and then the very next ball clean-bowled the new batsman. He was therefore on a hattrick at the start of his next over, however it was not to be
with the batsman playing and missing. Austin then came on in the 11th and off his first ball had the set batsmen, Alfie, caught by Connor, only to be called a no ball. However, he kept to the
task and 2 balls later got the other batter, also caught at mid-off. The academy got to 86/5 off their 20 overs.
Vignesh and Sai opened our innings with a solid start, both seeing off the top Academy bowlers very well, however both openers struggled to get runs. Eventually Vignesh got bowled going after the runs and Sai retired after facing 40 balls. Avneet and Connor entered the fray and managed to help the run rate along, until Connor got caught, while Avneet continued to get 17 off 23 balls. The following batsmen: Erik, Harry, Austin and Pratyush all contributed to take it to the last over with Pratyush and Austin needing to score 9 runs. The pair did brilliantly and ended up needing 2 runs off the last ball. Despite a huge effort, Austin got run out on the last ball as a result of a great piece of fielding. So, despite losing by 2 runs the Swiss U11s were very quickly adjusting to the foreign conditions.
Teddington CC 117/4 (Harry 1/2, Sai 1/8, Avneet 1/11, Connor 1/12) bt Swiss U11 116/9 (Avneet 20, Sai 10) by 7 wickets
First thing on Saturday morning we had an early start at Teddington CC. As a result of some fairly complex directions, the Swiss U11 head coach got stuck in the parking for the Hampton Court Park
Run, but eventually made it to the ground!
Connor once again chose the queens head and again lost the toss. The Swiss U11s were put in to bat, the partially reshuffled batting order struggled on what appeared to be a good pitch, until Avneet came in and hit 20 off 18 balls, and a useful 10 off 10 from Sai. Thanks also to top scorer E. Xtras (50), the Swiss team got to 116 in their 20 overs.
We had amazing hospitality from Teddington with an impressive array of tea eats, and even the eats table was decorated with Swiss flags! Some felt this was a strategic move to stuff the Swiss players with cakes and pastries in order to slow them down in the field, and there were a few impressive plates of food, especially from Vignesh! The team were eventually pulled away from the eats table and went in to field.
The team were lively in the field and full of energy (sugar!), however the home team batsmen took advantage of local knowledge with 3 retiring on 20. Despite some economical bowling from Andreas, Connor and Harry, Teddington were able to get the target off 17 overs. After bidding farewell to our gracious hosts, we all rushed off to our next game.
Swiss U11 127/5 (Avneet 23, Andreas 22, Connor 20) bt Weybridge CC 123/6 (Dev 3/19, Connor 1/5, Harry 1/10, Andreas 1/11) by 4 runs
We all converged on St George's school for our afternoon match against Weybridge CC. Connor’s poor form at the toss continued, with Weybridge putting Swiss into bat. A number of the team
suggested he give up calling for the queen’s head and go for tails in the next match. Connor and Dev opened the batting, unfortunately Dev got run out early on, but in came Avneet. Connor and
Avneet set a solid platform, retiring on 20 and 23 runs respectively. The next 3 batsmen (Sai, Harry and Pratyush) all remained at the crease for some time, but struggled to score runs freely as
a result of some good bowling from Weybridge. The Swiss were bogged down for a few overs until Vignesh came in and managed a very useful 13 from 17 balls (including running off the field to help
look for a ball he'd just smashed for 4!). Andreas then strode to the crease and played the innings that truly defined the course of the match - he scored a quickfire 22 runs off 13 balls,
including 3 fours and a six. Swiss got to 127/5 from their 20 overs
Then Weybridge came in to bat, Sai and Owen opened the bowling and started well. Both were economical and Sai clean bowled the opener in the first over. Weybridge then stabilized with 3 of their top 6 batsmen retiring, and they were on track to get the 128 runs required. On came Dev in the 16th over and got a wicket, then Harry (against his previous clubmates) grabbed another one in the 17th. The real damage was done by Dev in the 18th over, taking 2 wickets and just missing a hattrick. This left Weybridge with 24 to get in 2 overs. Connor bowled the 19th, going for 11 runs. Dev came on to bowl the last over, Weybridge needed 13 runs but Dev restricted them to 8 runs off the over, taking Swiss to their first victory of the tour!!
That evening the team celebrated at the team's tour dinner on the bank of the Thames, a great evening was had by all. After which many of the boys watched Liverpool beat Spurs in the Champion League final.
Swiss U11 162/7 (Connor 20*, Vignesh 20*, Owen 17*, Austin 15*, Andreas 13, Sai 10) bt Windsor CC 73 (Dev 2/3) by 89 runs
The final day of the tour saw Swiss playing Windsor CC, at Windsor, under the watchful eye of the Queen. Connor changed strategy, and called tails, and won the toss for the first time on tour!
Swiss elected to bat and went out with all guns blazing! Avneet and Connor started well but unfortunately Avneet got bowled by a ball that kept very low. The rest of the top 6 all contributed;
Connor (20), Vignesh (20), Owen (17), Sai (10), Andreas (13) and Austin (15). This aggressive batting got Swiss to a massive score of 162 from their 20 overs, a testament to how these young
players adapted over the 4 days to English conditions.
Windsor went in to bat, and Dhruv opened the bowling with a great over that got a wicket with the first ball of the innings and then only going for 1 run. The bowling hero from the previous day, Dev, came on and once again got 2 wickets in 2 balls, narrowly missing a hattrick. This put Windsor on the back foot, with them struggling to score runs. Despite some resistance from the Windsor tail nearly every bowler took a wicket. Dhruv took possibly the catch of the tour running around the mid-wicket boundary to take a great catch off Austin’s bowling. Swiss eventually bowled Windsor out on the last ball of the innings for 73. A convincing victory for the last match of the tour!
Lunch at Windsor was provided by Sai's parents (Kumar and Uma) who cooked and brought us some wonderful Indian food, a tour highlight!
After lunch the boys were still keen to play more cricket and mixed it up, playing a fun mixed-team match with the Windsor boys.
This Swiss U11 team had a great tour to Surrey winning 2 from 5 matches. These players showed amazing ability to quickly adapt to local conditions considering that 9 of the players had never
played on a grass pitch before. This was eloquently illustrated by Connor in his speech at the team dinner showing how the teams’ batting totals got higher with every match from 86 in the first
match to 162 in the 5th match. From a batting point of view all the batsmen improved as the tour went on and they adjusted to the grass pitches. Connor and Avneet formed the backbone of the
batting lineup scoring 80 and 71 runs respectively throughout the 5 matches. Andreas’ 22 off 13 balls was also a batting highlight.
This team are a particularly strong bowling team, with some impressive individual performances especially from Dev at crucial times (5/29), and from Andreas over the whole tour (7/43), but more importantly as a unit they always put pressure on the opposing batsmen. To put this in perspective the total number of extras bowled by the opposing teams was 228, compared to this Swiss U11 teams’ 129 extras, showing they effectively bowled twice as accurately as the opposition on this tour. All the bowlers contributed to this, from the pace of Sai, Avneet, Owen and Connor; the consistent line and length of Dev, Dhruv and Harry as well as the beguiling leg spin from Austin, Pratyush and Erik, and our accurate off-spinner, Andreas.
Mention must be made of our two wicketkeepers Aiden and Vignesh; both did a great job behind the stumps with Aiden’s cool head and great stopping, and Vignesh’s constant stumping and runout threat.
The best part of the tour was the great spirit of the players and friendships formed over the 4 days. It is truly great to see these players enjoying cricket and becoming friends.
Thank you to the parents for the support that you provide your players in not only enabling them to go on this tour, but getting your players to the various tournaments and training weekends. Thank you also to the other coaches, Baljit and Anthony for the support and wise words to the players throughout the tour. Also, thanks to Chris Moat for organizing the team dinner at a great venue. Lastly, thanks to the Young family (Owen, Sally and Andy), Ivan Jennings and Anoop Nair for scoring throughout the tour.
Further information on the Swiss U13 Tour to Surrey is available from Cricket Switzerland's Youth Development Officer, Michael Hall.