Whenever anyone thinks of sports in Europe it is the names of legends in Football, Basketball, Tennis and many other sports that come to our mind, never Cricket. But, we have seen nations such as Scotland, Ireland, and the Netherlands participating in more than one Cricket world cup.
In this article, I am not considering England, which already has a rich cricketing culture. The other European countries have not hit the headlines much except for Ireland qualifying for the Super 8 round in the 2007 cricket world cup. These teams have also created some upsets in these tournaments.
However, apart from their participation in the World cups, we have not seen much of their Cricket elsewhere. We would always love to see more cricketing action from these sides and thus evolve into a stronger team. To closely follow the cricket action around the world, you can watch Cricket news on Sportsbet.
History of Cricket in Europe
Cricket is recorded as having first been played in Europe at Naples in 1793. The game quickly grew in popularity and was regularly played at amateur level throughout the 19th century. Many professional clubs were formed at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century, such as the Milan Cricket and Football club. There used to be a unified body for football and Cricket in Germany, the German football and cricket federation, which was formed in 1891. The cricket body later split in 1912, and then the two sports have gone their separate ways. In the 1920s and 1930s, there was a decline in the popularity of the game. Now, it is slowly but steadily gaining back the reputation, which was once lost. European cricket council (ECC) in an international body that is overseeing the cricket administration in Europe. It was founded in 1997 and is based in London, England.
The promotion and development of Cricket will not be a cakewalk for the organization due to the stiff competition it faces from the already popular sports. They should try to tie up with schools to impart grassroots level cricketing knowledge to interested kids. It would also be good to conduct school and college-level tournaments in both indoor and outdoor formats. Since Cricket has not flourished in Europe, it is mandatory to develop it right from scratch for its long term development. The current chairman of ECC is Roger Knight. ECC is responsible for organizing the European cricket championship, a part of the qualification for the Cricket ICC world cup.
The ICC regional conference was held in Paris in 2018 and Munich in 2019. The members of the European region attended the conference to focus on a future global strategy for Cricket, growing the game, collaboration, and peer-to-peer learning. Several sessions were held on sharing the best practices as well as contributing to the ongoing development of a global strategy for the game. They also discussed the growing appetite for the game and the role each federation can have in driving more people to play the game.
In the European migrant crisis of 2015, there was a large influx of migrants from Afghanistan. Official records show that 46292 Afghan refugees were based in Germany. The number of cricket teams in Germany has increased from 70 seven years ago to 340. This is mainly because of the refugee influx from Afghanistan and the number of Indian students signing up in German universities.
Now let us look into the European cricket league (ECL), how it is organized, and how it can help the growth of the game in Europe.
European Cricket League – How it started?
European Cricket League is the brainchild of Mr. Daniel Weston, an Aussie born German Wicketkeeper-batsman who wants to make cricket Europe’s biggest summer team sport. It is designed to promote Cricket and grow the game in Central Europe as a new summer bat and ball team sport. Daniel was born on 11th March 1983 in Perth, Western Australia. He was an ardent cricket fan right from his young age. He moved to Germany and was an ex-tech founder and a hedge fund manager before deciding to invest in Cricket. He started a German cricket TV project, which went on to become a success, and was the basis for determining to start the ECL. As we mentioned earlier, small communities of immigrants played Cricket passionately, and the domestic champions will be invited to play in ECL.
Where is European Cricket League played?
ECL is played in T10 format among clubs all around Europe that are champions in domestic tournaments in their respective countries. The first edition of the competition was played over three days between July 29 and 31, 2019, in La Manga Club, Spain. Eight clubs from across Europe participated in the inaugural edition. Teams were split into two groups of four, with matches being played on a round-robin basis in La Manga with the top two from each progressing to contest the semi-finals and final.
VOC. Rotterdam of Netherlands were the champions of the first edition beating SG Findorff of Germany by 101 runs. Scott Edwards of VOC. Rotterdam was adjudged Man of the match for his magnificent 137 runs in just 39 balls. Max O’Dowd of VOC. Rotterdam was awarded “Player of the Tournament” for scoring 219 runs in five innings and picking up 4 wickets. According to Weston, there was an average of 25 boundaries in every match of ECL. The second edition of the tournament, scheduled to be held from 31st May to 7th June 2020, has been postponed until 2021 due to the covid pandemic. The organizers had increased the number of teams to 16 contesting in a total of 32 matches over a span of 8 days.
Where can you watch European Cricket League live?
The matches were broadcasted all around the world through major broadcasting channels. Some of the channels are – European cricket network (Worldwide), FanCode (India), Kwese sports (African countries), Fox Sports (Australia), Sky Sports (New Zealand), SportDeutschland.tv (Germany). The major challenge though, would be to convince people that Cricket is a fast and entertaining sport to be enjoyed in summer.
We hope that we would be able to see strong teams from Europe compete in major tournaments bringing in more fierce competition in the world of Cricket.