The 2020 cricket season began like so many others with a successful Cricket on Ice Trophy in St Moritz. It was almost immediately following by the Annual General Meeting at which Cricket Switzerland welcomed two new faces to the Cricket Switzerland Executive, Thileepan Rasalingam & Amit Kumar Shukla and also two new clubs, Novartis CC & Pakhtoon Zalmi CC.
Berne Cricket Club was able to host their curry evening, and Cricket Switzerland hosted two ICC umpiring courses, one in Geneva, the other in Zurich. Geneva also hosted an indoor tape-ball tournament.
But then came the Covid-19 corona virus pandemic. 2020 was to prove a challenging year in so many ways.
In early March, when the federal government introduced a lockdown to slow the infection rate of Covid-19, it was doubtful that there would be a season at all.
The lockdown, not only delayed the senior season, it also meant the Basel Summer Cricket Camp, at which BDJCC partner Twenty20 International, was cancelled, along with the David Barmes Memorial Trophy, the Olten softball cricket festival, junior & senior tournaments in Zuoz, Basel annual indoor series and the Gingins youth indoor series, the Peter MacLaverty memorial match and Cossonay Cricket Club's 30th anniversary & 40 years GESLCC celebrations.
Monitoring the developments and with strict adherence to all the required measures to ensure the safety of cricketers & their families, Cricket Switzerland submitted a protective concept to
Swiss Olympic that allowed the cricket season to begin, initially with training, and then matches, albeit with certain measures to protect ourselves and the general public in place.
Three clubs decided not to join any competitions in 2020, a season which didn’t get going until June with the introduction of the CS T10 at St Gallen.
The CS T10 turned out to be a resounding success, attracting more than a million online spectators. Our appreciation goes to all involved, especially those at the city of St Gallen that supported us and the event at Gründenmoos.
While the pandemic affected almost all the off-field promotional activities, including coaching & officials training and the entire international programme, it is a reflection of the dedication of so many involved in cricket in this country that 2020 was still a season that involved so much cricket.
Despite the CSPL being turned into a knockout competition, we still played 70 competitive senior cricket matches and had a full youth cricket season encompassing regular training &
tournaments in all age groups.
The CSPL was won by Geneva, beating St Gallen at Gründenmoss, while Aargau hosted the Pickwick Twenty20 for the first time. On this occasion Olten beat Geneva in the final.
We thank all at Aargau & St Gallen for hosting these flagship events.
Youth cricket also had a cricket programme to boast about. The Swiss Sports & Cultural Association ran a series of cricket camps in the Geneva region. Coaches from Zurich Crickets rolled out the Fit4Future programme aimed at targeting young audiences. The U13s held a summer tournament in Embrach and the U11 in Basel and the Léman Cup (U11, U13, U15 & U19), with Bob Barber in attendance and Romande Cup (U11, U13 & U15) were played in full. Youth cricket moved indoors at the end of the summer with the inaugural Basel Youth T10, but then the indoor season was to be disrupted by the introduction of a second lockdown, first by local and then by Federal Government.
From a marketing perspective cricket wasn't in the news as much as in previous years, but the city of St Gallen ran a series of marketing videos, the St Gallen Tagblatt a couple of articles and the reformiert. three articles online & in print.
The pandemic inadvertently accelerated the introduction of the digital age to cricket. The move to online meetings enabled the executive to meet more frequently while reducing the travel expenses
incurred in doing so. The end of season council meeting also went digital, resulting in the best attended Council meeting
for some years.
And we witnessed the introduction of the Basel Dragons Online Academy. Even the Swiss Olympic Sports parliament moved online.
The Cricket Switzerland website & its social media strategy ensured that the cricket message continues to be shared to 1’000s every month.
Now preparations are underway for 2021. The senior club transfer window is open (there has already seen a few transfers) and there are proposals to change the format of both the Pickwick Twenty20 with three regional divisions and the 40-over league with the introduction of two/three regional divisions making up the CSNL.
The single most significant development in 2020 was, without a doubt, Cricket Switzerland's decision to apply directly to the ICC for membership. Cricket Switzerland’s formal application to become an associate member of the ICC has been submitted and everyone is cautiously optimistic about the outcome, to be decided in mid-2021.