Its a spectacle few would could have imagined. Virender Sehwag taking on the fiery Shoaib Akhtar on ice and that too at the picturesque setting of a frozen lake in St Moritz, Switzerland. Come February and the Sehwag Shoaib rivalry will be enacted again in the Twenty 20 ties which will be hosted in Feb 8 and 9 in this resort of the Swiss Alps.
For the record, the St Moritz Ice cricket has been launched with an aim to establish the sport in an unchartered territory like Switzerland. This tournament, the first of its kind to be played on ice, is the brainchild of Vijay Singh of VJ Sports. Apart from Sehwag and Akhtar, Mohammad Kaif, Mahela Jayawardene, Lasith Malinga, Michael Hussey, Graeme Smith, Jacques Kallis, Daniel Vettori, Nathan Mcullum, Grant Elliot, Monty Panesar and Owais Shah.will be pariticipating in this tournament.
An even more interesting aspect is that the organizers have said that they have got the approval to host this event from the ICC, the governing body of world cricket. “We have got the approval to host this tournament from the ICC, which shows the importance of our tourmament,: said an exhuberant Vijay Singh.
Vijay Singh also said that cricket on ice was not a new thing.”In fact a bunch of amateurs have been playing in this Alpine resort from 1988. There are some Indians and locals who have been playing this game, but now with the likes of Sehwag and Shoaib gracing the occasion, its going to do wonders to the sport in Switzerland,” he said.
On his part, Sehwag who also happened to be present at the launch of the event in the capital said having stopped played competitive cricket, it was a challenge to get into shape for this event. “I was still playing First-Class cricket in 2015 so it was not very difficult to play those matches. Now since I have stopped playing the game completely, it will be a challenge to get into the groove.
When asked how much time he took to accept the offer of playing in this tournament on ice, Sehwag came out with a stunner. ‘It took me all of two minutes to make up my decision. I was so fascinated by this unique prospect of playing on ice,” he said.
Sehwag also hoped that the felt that St Moritz tournament would add another dimension to the game. “I am excited to experience a different format of the game, meet old colleagues and enjoy the beauty of St. Moritz. I expect that this should be able to add another dimension to cricket and we have something new to offer to the cricketing fans across the world, “ he said..
In order to acclimatize himself to the high altitude, Sehwag has found an innovative method to train. “I am moving to the Himalayas for a few weeks before the tournament to acclimatize to the temperatures. On a serious note, I believe in playing in the moment without being bothered about anything and it doesn’t change now. Conditions, pitch, outfield are all a state of mind” he added.
On his part, Mohammad Kaif said he was thrilled at the prospect of playing cricket on ice.
“I’m extremely excited at the idea and opportunity to play cricket on ice. I’ve played cricket all around the world in different cultures and conditions and it’s great to be able to add another to the list. I have never been to St. Moritz and cannot wait to go. I guess dealing with cold, balance on ice and extra clothing will be something to look out for but at the end of the day it’s still the same cricket ball I’ve faced many times in my career,” he added