Thanks to the connection to Danish cricket of Baljit Singh, one of the U15 and men’s national coaches, the Swiss U15s were invited to play the Danish U15 side. They played 5 matches in total, two ODIs and three T20Is. With the team missing a number of first choice players due to injury, visa issues and availability (resulting in a last minute U13 call up), there was uncertainty of how the team would perform, particularly playing 50 over cricket.
|Shankar (captain)||Zurich Crickets CC|
|Andreas||Zurich Crickets CC|
|Avneet||Zurich Crickets CC|
|Connor||Basel Dragons Junior CC|
|Ishaan (U13)||Zurich Crickets CC|
|Lasse||Basel Dragons Junior CC|
|Sai||Basel Dragons Junior CC|
|Sasha (vice-captain, keeper)||Zurich Crickets CC|
Result: Drawn 1-1
ODI 1: Denmark win by 80 runs
The ODI series was very much a journey into the unknown, with the longest format played regularly at U15 level being 30 overs. Asked to field first at Køge Cricket Club, the team kept up their intensity for the whole innings, with the keeper remarking that it was easier than 30 overs at Embrach! Opening with off-spin was a tactic used all tour, with Jai striking early and going on to finish with figures of 3-19 off his 10 overs. The fielders were supported with some excellent fielding, with Connor in particular taking some sharp catches at shortish mid-on. The fielding excellence helped to keep the run rate down and skipper Shankar finished with 2-22 and the other off-spinner, Andreas, 2-30. The Danish U15 were bowled out for 161 with 7 balls to go.
Any hopes of a win were dashed with the top order blown away by some left-arm swing bowling. At 10-3 after 2.3 overs, Avneet tried to counter attack but he fell in the 7th over. Gingins team mates Alex and Hugo batted almost 20 overs together in a rear guard action, keeping up with the required rate, but once Hugo fell the tail collapsed quickly to finish 80 runs and 20 overs short.
ODI 2: Switzerland win by 91 runs
The second ODI was after two T20Is, and the team had a lot more confidence in their batting. This time the team was at the amazing Svanholm Cricket Club. Sasha and Lasse put into practice lessons from the first ODI and the left-armer went wicketless and was expensive. They put on a 50 partnership before Lasse mistimed a lofted shot. Shankar joined Sasha and they continued. Sasha found runs through third man, his bread-and-butter, while Shanker played straighter. They put on another 50 partnership and Sasha raised his bat for the team’s first international 50, before Shankar edged behind. Sasha fell the next ball with a short third-man fielder put in place. Avneet and Connor played some counter-attacking cricket and moved the score on quickly before Avneet fell to a catch at long-off, trying to hit a six. Alex joined Connor and they continued to keep the run rate up and despite both losing their wicket, helped to ensure the team put on 205 all out with 10 balls to go.
Jai continued his rich vein of form and got the wickets started with a caught and bowled and an LBW. From the other end, Connor struck, with Sai taking a good catch in the deep. He also removed the dangerous Saif Ali with a caught behind. Jai bowled Jabran, playing across the line. Shankar and Andreas helped to knock off the lower order and Ishaan took his first ODI wicket, fantastic as an U13. Avneet only took 2 balls to complete the win with Denmark only managing 114 in 32.2 overs to secure the series draw!
Result: Switzerland win 2-1
T20I 1: Switzerland win by 47 runs
The first two ODIs were at Ishøj Cricket Club, a short walk from the hostel. The Swiss U15s won the toss for the first game and chose to bat first. Again the left-armer was in the game removing both openers cheaply. Fortunately Shankar managed to stick around and he combined well with Sai to put on a 93 run partnership. While boundaries were hard to come by (the pair only scored 3 in total), they both hit the ball well into the gaps and ran hard. Looking for a quick single saw Shankar run out agonisingly short of a half-century, but by then the score was already above 100, and the Swiss U15 finished on 112-6.
Hugo and Jai kept things economic although went wicketless for 3 overs, with the Danish “worm” keeping up with the Swiss. Jai however had two wickets in quick succession and Hugo then had the number four trapped in front. A mini recovery was staged but Jai struck again having the remaining opener caught by Connor with a juggled catch at point. Andreas then went on the rampage taking 4 wickets in his four overs, and in between Ishaan had his first international U15 wickets. Andreas finished off the tail with 3 of his wickets in his last over with the Danish on 65.
T20I 2: Switzerland win by 4 wickets
For the second fixture, it was agreed that the Danes should bat first. They got underway much better, albeit not much faster with some good fielding. It took until the 9th over for the wickets to start falling, this time it was Connor that started things off. He backed that up with a direct hit run out, after which it became the Shankar show who took 3-15 in his 4 overs. It wasn’t enough to stop the innings early, but restricted Denmark to 80.
In reply, Avneet wasn’t able to go on, and while Sasha looked in good touch he tried to belt a full toss through backward point and was sent on his way by a great take. Shankar continued his form from the first game, and was assisted by Connor who also looked in better touch. Still almost half way to go and Shankar was undone by his big stride and was plumb. Lasse hit a couple of boundaries but fell trying another. Connor edged behind the next over, but Jai and Alex calmly steered the ship home with Jai hitting his first boundary on tour to bring up the win!
T20I 3: Denmark win by 2 runs
With the ODI series now drawn, and Switzerland leading the T20I series 2-0 the tour was now won. However, with a T20I to play before heading to the airport, the team wanted to go out on a high. Pre-match ceremonies included photos of the two teams and a Cricket Switzerland pennant presentation. The Danes won the toss and chose to bat first. With Hugo having to fly home early, Shankar took the opening over and struck straight away with a great slip catch from Connor. Jai struck with his first ball trapping the other opener plumb, and then some sharp keeping from Sasha saw the number 4 stumped off a leg-side wide. Suddenly the Danish U15 were 5-3 in the second over! Connor struck next having the skipper caught behind, and Jai took his third with a bowled. A mini-recovery was interrupted by another excellent slip catch by Connor, again off Shankar. A partnership formed and was only interrupted by Jai’s fourth, and wherever Shankar turned the wicket could not be found. Tiredness was evident with some sloppy fielding not helping, and 8 byes went after steepling bounce sent the ball flying over keeper Sasha. The Danes finished with their highest T20I score of 108.
Another opening option was tested out with Lasse and Avneet striding out. The innings started with an uncharacteristically loose over from the left-armer, and Avneet pounced on his next crunching two boundaries. Lasse was not to be outdone, hitting a pick-up 6 in the next! It looked like an early lunch was on the cards, but Avneet looked to have hit another boundary but a brilliant over-the-shoulder catch at long-on sent him on his way. Jai couldn’t continue his form from the previous game and was bowled, and Shankar nicked off cheaply. Connor joined his Basel Dragons team mate, and Lasse continued to hit sixes, four of them in total, before he was bowled. Connor fell shortly after, bringing in Sasha. He and Alex ran hard, with Alex scoring off most of the balls he faced. Sasha couldn’t repeat the heroics of the previous day, but Sai’s T20I form was on and he and Alex put on a vital 19 run partnership before Sai was out caught. Two balls later Alex was trapped in front, just 9 runs short of the win. Andreas ran hard, but Ishaan couldn’t stick with him and was caught behind. As Hugo had left, Sahil from the Danish team came in at 11 with just 4 needed and looked like he was determined to get them all in one shot, but nothing came off. Andreas was undone by a quick ball which he popped to shortish cover, but it was a no ball! He wasn’t sure where the ball had gone and with no calling had set off for a run, and the fielder made sure he was run out, with the team all out just 2 runs short.
The Swiss U15 team exceeded expectations by winning the tour with 3 wins to 2 losses. The ODI series was drawn one match each apiece and the T20I was won by Switzerland 2-1. After a sobering start where the first ODI was lost by 80 runs, the players worked hard to tackle the challenges they faced. All through the tour, the bowling and, in particular, fielding were excellent. Ground fielding, catching and close fielding were superb with a number of wickets taken in the slips and in close catching positions. Given the fact that 50 over cricket is not played in the age group (the longest regular format is 30 overs), the level of intensity even into the 40 overs plus was excellent.
The batting showed the most need to improve after a top order collapse in the first ODI against left-arm swing bowling. It was very pleasing to see the batters learn to deal with it over the course of the tour, and the same bowler was completely nullified by the end. Scoring was a challenge overall with slow outfields (not so different to some grounds in Switzerland) but very large boundaries (as big as 65m at one ground). Again the players learnt to deal with it with a 53 scored in the ODI series and a 49 in the T20Is and a number of scores in the 20s and 30s. The last game of the tour was very close and ultimately some tiredness had crept into the team with only a squad of 11.
The team spirit displayed by the Swiss U15s was exemplary (which was noted by the opposition), and played with intensity, discipline and confidence – continuing their improvement from Surrey. Despite not having a full strength side, the Swiss U15s exceeded expectations by beating Denmark U15s, a country whose men’s rankings are well above Switzerland’s, and also having much better infrastructure. The coaches and players should feel proud of their achievements, and hopefully this will lead to future invitations.
Many thanks to Frederik Klokker for organising the tour, Ronja Nielson who provided support on the ground during the trip and Baljit Singh and Jason Walden for coaching the team.
For more questions about junior Internationals please contact [email protected].
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