• Sweden edition
 

Immigrants dream of playing cricket - for Sweden

Published: 26 Apr 2007 15:46 GMT+02:00
Updated: 26 Apr 2007 15:46 GMT+02:00

Forget football's mass appeal, frenzied fawning over ice hockey heroes and innebandy's cult following, Sweden is home to a growing and devoted band of cricketers determined to boost the sport's profile and lead the national side back to international competition.

"The number of those playing cricket has increased a lot in the last two years – interest has developed," Rashid Zafar Waraich, chairman of the Swedish Cricket Federation (SCF), tells The Local.

Around 98 percent of the some 250 adults playing cricket in Swedish clubs are ex-pats, many of whom have roots in major cricketing nations, predominantly Pakistan, Sri Lanka, the West Indies, Australia and England, Waraich says.

Some 100 juniors - under 19s - also play. With backing from the International Cricket Council (ICC), the SCF has overseen the establishment of a cricket academy in Malmö where 30 youngsters between the ages of nine and fourteen are given the chance to nurture cricketing greatness. A second academy is planned for Stockholm during the 2007 season.

Cricket's notoriously complex rules and day-long matches have meant however that few Swedes have taken up the sport.

"I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of Swedes who play cricket," Waraich laments.

A thriving local club scene however is attracting growing numbers to the sport on a part-time and amateur basis. Half the players on Waraich's Stockholm-based Botkyrka Cricket Club are engineers.

"I am a civil engineer, we also have an IT consultant, a cook and the rest are university students," he says.

"Half the team are friends of mine from Pakistan, many of whom came to Sweden, married Swedes, got jobs or studied."

There are currently 18 cricket clubs throughout Sweden with varying degrees of activity. Eight of these clubs are poised to compete in Sweden's premier cricket league, the National League, in the 2007 season.

The league includes current champions Spånga United CC, Malmöhus CC, Botkyrka CC, Jinnah CC's two teams, Eleven Stars CC, Sigtuna CC and Pakistan CC.

The 2007 season gets underway on May 5th with fixtures planned between all eight teams. The final is due to be played in August.

Other competitions include the Jinnah Cup, the Swedish Cricket Cup and the Academic Cup played between the Stockholm Academic Cricket Society (SACS) and Uppsala University CC.

The SCF is planning to field a Swedish national team in Division Five of the European Championship in 2008, when they face Austria, Switzerland and three other teams yet to be announced.

"I think in five to seven years' we can imagine Sweden winning a European ICC tournament," Waraich says, grinning.

Swedish cricketers are no strangers to international competition. In 1997 Sweden became an affiliate member of the ICC, joining Afghanistan, Bahrain, Myanmar, Norway, Rwanda and South Korea among today's total of 55 aspiring cricketing nations.

The team took part in the European Cricket Championships, a tournament for European ICC affiliate members held every two years, in 1999 and 2001. In their 1999 campaign Sweden reached the semi-finals where they lost to eventual

winners Greece by six wickets.

Two years later however the Swedes came last in the ten-team tournament and Sweden has not played an international fixture since.

Team selection for the 2008 European Championship will be based upon performance of Sweden's eight league teams, individual performances and, ultimately, availability determined by who can get time off work to play.

To qualify for the national team, players must be Swedish nationals or have lived in Sweden for at least 183 days per year for the past three years.

Lacking commercial sponsorship and with cricket in its in infancy in Sweden, players must buy their own bats, balls and related equipment abroad. The vast majority of cricket kit in Sweden today has been bought at players' own expense, often in England and Pakistan.

For those who play, cricket in Sweden is a labour of love.

"Cricket is in my blood. We have small goals and we hope to achieve those goals one by one," Waraich says.

Nicholas Chipperfield

The World in Sweden Series:The Local is compiling a series of articles on how people and cultures from around the world are influencing Swedish life.

Paul Rapacioli (paul.rapacioli@thelocal.com)

Today's headlines
Sport
Sweden's star striker Zlatan 'recovering well'
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is Sweden's top scorer in history. PHOTO: TT/Maja Suslin

Sweden's star striker Zlatan 'recovering well'

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is recovering well from the nagging heel problem that has stopped him playing for Sweden during its Euro 2016 qualifying campaign. READ  

International
Swedish sisters create viral Syria stir
A shot from the video on YouTube.

Swedish sisters create viral Syria stir

Two sisters from Södertälje near Stockholm are celebrating getting more than 1.3 million hits on YouTube, with a video calling for peace in war-torn Syria. READ  

Pirate Bay
Pirate Bay founder gets three years in prison
A 2013 image of Svartholm Warg. Photo: TT

Pirate Bay founder gets three years in prison

Swedish "hactivist" Gottfrid Svartholm Warg has been sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison for hacking crimes. READ  

Royal family
Princess Madeleine to make Nobel comeback
Princess Madeleine at a previous Nobel banquet. Photo: TT

Princess Madeleine to make Nobel comeback

Sweden's Princess Madeleine is scheduled to appear at the Nobel Festival in Stockholm in December, after taking time out from her royal duties to focus on looking after her daughter. READ  

Politics
'We knew that Israel would be critical'
Foreign Minister Margot Wallström (left), with Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Löfven. Photo: TT

'We knew that Israel would be critical'

Sweden's Foreign Minister has told The Local she respects Israel's decision to recall its ambassador after Sweden officially recognized the State of Palestine, and laughed off comments about IKEA furniture made by her Israeli counterpart. READ  

Analysis
'Store up your sunlight hours before winter'
Doctors say we should make the most of the autumn sunshine. Photo: Shutterstock

'Store up your sunlight hours before winter'

Spending time outdoors this autumn will help you survive a cold, dark Swedish winter. Baba Pendse, Head of Psychiatry at Lund University shares his top tips for battling the seasonal blues with The Local. READ  

Sports
Plot for shared Scandi Winter Olympic bid
Skiers hit the slopes in Åre, western Sweden. Photo: TT

Plot for shared Scandi Winter Olympic bid

Norwegian sports officials have said they want to co-host the winter Olympics with Sweden in 2026. But there has so far been no official response from Sweden. READ  

National
Anti-Israel graffiti 'not a race crime': Court
Photo: TT

Anti-Israel graffiti 'not a race crime': Court

A teenage boy who painted anti-Israel slogans and symbols on the Concert Hall in Gothenburg has been convicted for the damages he caused, but he walked free from racial agitation charges. READ  

Entertainment
A closer look at Sweden's rising stars
Swedish actresses Sandra Huldt and Julia Ragnarsson. Julia (right) has been nominated for a Rising Star award. Photo: TT

A closer look at Sweden's rising stars

Like to be ahead of the game when it comes to the next big thing on the silver screen? We find out more about the Swedish nominees for the Rising Star award to be presented at Stockholm's International Film Festival next week. READ  

Science
Swedish women in two-year sex pill study
Contraceptive pills have been linked to mood swings. Photo: Shutterstock

Swedish women in two-year sex pill study

Three hundred women from across Sweden are taking part in a study designed to demonstrate that modern contraceptive pills don't lead to decreased libido or mood swings. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Lifestyle
Stockholm's shocking take on Halloween
Sport
Top ten quotes from Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Business & Money
Get your own office in Gothenburg or Stockholm - free for a day
Gallery
People-watching: October 30th
National
Sweden remains fourth best for gender equality
Blog updates

31 October

Editor’s Blog, October 31st (The Local Sweden) »

"Hello readers, Welcome to our latest 60-second round-up of the week’s news. First, Sweden made headlines around the..." READ »

 

29 October

Scariest day (Blogweiser) »

"This is what’s frightening me on Halloween. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4OFZVCu8J0&list=UUJu5J7jG4uoYSjWbpFsJBuQ Follow my posts on FB. ..." READ »

 
 
 
National
Timeline: Julian Assange sex allegations
Sport
World Cup ski race on 'fake' Stockholm slope
Society
An Arctic tradition: hunting and handicraft
Society
Stockholm taxis offer free therapy sessions
National
The Local meets Health Minister Gabriel Wikström
Gallery
Property of the week: Österåker
Society
Homeless turtles get Stockholm police ride
National
Construction worker has 'Sweden's best beard'
National
Italian musician jazzes up Sweden's Lapland
Gallery
Zlatan's career in pictures
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching: October 25th and 26th
Lifestyle
'Swedes are funnier than they think'
National
Swedish town 'like Venice' after heavy rains
Lifestyle
What's On in Sweden: October 24th - 31st
Gallery
People-watching: October 22nd
Gallery
In Pictures: Prince Carl Philip and Sofia Hellqvist
Lifestyle
Eight things to love about renting a Swedish apartment
National
Vasa ship cannon blasted in Sweden
National
Sub hunt: Day-by-day
National
Sub hunt: Stockholm islanders share their fears with The Local
Sponsored Article
The best options for oversea transfers
National
Dentist gives free care to Roma beggars
Gallery
Property of the week: Malmö
Gallery
PHOTOS: 'Foreign activity' in Swedish waters
TT
Society
QUIZ: How good is your Swedish?
Society
The nudity... and nine other things expat men notice in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 15th
Gallery
Your views: Should outdoor smoking be banned in Sweden?
Business & Money
Sweden has 'large hole' in finances
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Finding a job in Stockholm
Society
Monster salmon caught in northern Sweden
Gallery
Property of the week: Lorensberg
National
Scandinavia's child bride
National
Ebola crisis: How is Sweden preparing?
Business & Money
How Sweden is becoming a cashless society
Gallery
Stockholm Burlesque Festival 2014
National
How a little red horse became a symbol for Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 12th
Business & Money
The hottest start-ups from southern Sweden
National
Stockholm is 'best' region for well-being
Sponsored Article
How to catch the first lobster of the year
Team SCA
Sponsored Article
All-female SCA team takes off on Volvo Ocean Race
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

970
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN