Saturday, 30 June 2007


Here are three photos I originally omitted from the Art Basel shoot.

Zuozed out

Having won the toss, Milan put us in to bat. We amassed 158. I was last man to come on the bat and finished the innings "not out", albeit having made no runs. I faced four balls, two of which I left and two of which I fended away defensively. Admittedly not very spectacular, but I just wanted to get to the end of the over, after which we would have had three more overs to go. However, Jay the captain got cleaned out first ball of the next over, and that, as they say, was that.

Milan began their innings steadily, but after a prolonged opening partnership we made steady inroads into their line-up and ended up bowling them out for 101. I saved a few runs in the field in my positions of "short mid-wicket" and "fine leg". I also bowled an over near the end, but didn't take a wicket and conceded two runs. However, on the strength of my fielding I earned a place in the starting line-up for the next match vs. the Lyceum Alpinum school team. So it was that I tucked into my barbecue lunch feeling quite chuffed about my performance and looking forward to the afternoon.

1st game:
Basel CC 158 all out after 27 overs.
Milan CC 101 all out.
Basel won by 57 runs.

The school team were altogether a different kettle of fish. Some of them really could play. In particular, their captain George almost beat Basel single-handedly last year with both ball and bat - a match Basel ultimately won after a hard-fought encounter. This year was again a close-run thing, but we lost out this time by 4 runs. Fielding first, we struggled to keep their batsman tied down. They hit quite a few fours and sixes. One side of the pitch was adjacent to the main road leading to St Moritz - and, beyond that, the river. We ended up having to cross that road a few times to retrieve a good few lusty hits.

Unfortunately, I turned my left knee badly while fielding and had to come off after 17 overs. I was fielding at fine leg at the time and was attempting to save a four - which I did. However, my left leg got caught in the turf and I felt a dart of pain round the meniscus area. I instantly knew it was the meniscus, since I've long had the same injury on my right knee through playing football. After jogging around tentatively, I decided to play on, but the knee stiffened up after while and I decided to call it a day. I watched the remaining proceedings glumly from the boundary, knowing that I wouldn't be able to play again that weekend.

2nd game:
Lyceum School Team 196/6 after 30 overs.
Basel CC 192/8 after 30 overs.

Basel lost by 4 runs.

To be continued...

Tuesday, 26 June 2007


For the third year in a row, Basel Cricket Club took part last weekend in the annual "Cricket Festival" in the mountain village of Zuoz in Engadine. I'd signed up to play in this event months previously and was looking forward to playing cricket under an impressive Alpine backdrop.

After an unproblematical if rather long journey by train early on Friday afternoon to Zuoz via Landquart and Sagliains (with the Rhätische Bahn), I joined up with some of my team mates at the Zuoz Golf Club bar at around 5.30 for a some drinking games... The game we played involved two dice. Depending on the combination of numbers each time the dice were thrown, someone had to take a sip (or several sips) of their Calanda beer. This went on for about an hour, though no one had more than three beers for the duration of the game since the emphasis was more on taking quick-fire sips than huge finger measurements each go. Afterwards, some of us adjourned to our hotel as we'd booked a large table for dinner there. Others, including yours truly nipped into the Dorta first for a cheeky aperitif.

After an enjoyable meal, most of us returned to the Dorta for a couple of beers before adjourning to the hotel at around midnight.

Saturday morning began in earnest with all the team reporting to the pitches at 9 a.m. The tournament is run by the local school Lyceum Alpinum, an international boarding school for children of extremely rich parents. Over the weekend I heard stories of Russian mafia parents whisking their kids to school in their 4x4s being followed by Interpol detectives on their trail. The school itself overlooks the village and seems very well endowed, if you get my gist.

Anyway, here is a list of this year's participating clubs:

  • Lyceum School Team (Swiss)
  • Basel CC (Swiss)
  • Winterthur CC (Swiss)
  • Munich CC (German)
  • Milan CC (Italian)
  • Germany U19's (German)
  • Swiss Junior Team (Swiss)
  • Lodi CC (Italian)

  • All eight teams were able to play matches at the same time since the grounds comprised four pitches. Munich were drawn to play their first match on the best pitch (Pitch 1) versus the Lyceum school team, while we got Milan on Pitch 4, the worst pitch. I say "worst" pitch in that the crease consisted of natural grass under a plastic gauze, which made for a slightly inconsistent bounce. However, set in what was on one side virtually a natural amphitheatre with very short boundaries, it made for an enjoyable encounter.

    To be continued...

    Wednesday, 20 June 2007

    Two random things I've noticed

    I was feeling a bit restless and couped up yesterday evening so I went on a walk. As is my wont, I went down the Hauptstraße, up the hill to the vineyards, and then back again along quieter roads through town. Firstly, as I was on the hill I noticed a large building to the left of the centre of Basle as I was looking. It clearly glowing red. I then realised that it must be St. Jakob Park, home of FC Basel. An extra tier had been added to one of the sides of the ground last season, and with this side facing north towards Germany it's a lot easier to spot from far away.

    Secondly, I noted a peculiarity about my neighbourhood in Weil, which I should like to share with you. Most of the houses in this neighbourhood were built in the 1920s to accommodate the families of railway workers. Largely renovated today, they give the place a snug suburban character - situated on peaceful tree-lined streets, with uniformly arranged front and back gardens and pretty little doors often with a few steps leading up. On warm summer evenings like yesterday, a fair few residents tend to sit in twos or threes on these steps for hours, it seems, and chat or stare at passers-by. You would think they would sit in the back garden - for that is what any modest Englishman would do - but no, they camp out at the front. Coming from a country where sitting out in the front garden is usually associated with squatters lying spaced out on discarded old sofas, I find it slightly unnerving.

    Sunday, 17 June 2007

    Art Basel

    Spent a very enjoyable Saturday afternoon at Art Basel with colleague Andrea, her boyfriend David, plus their friend Anna from Spain. It's supposed to be the world's premier art fair, although I'd never considered going until this year. There was a lot see, and we could have easily stayed another few hours had the exhibition not closed at 7 p.m. Unfortunately cameras were "verboten" inside, but thanks to Andrea's handbag I managed to smuggle mine in and take a sly picture of some neon lights that reminded me of those French New Wave films of the 60s and 70s. Afterwards we adjourned to Bar Rouge at the top of the Messeturm for a drink and a chat.

    Blimey, what with this and my recent trip to the Munch exhibition at the Fondation Beyeler, I fear I may be turning a bit arty.

    Friday, 15 June 2007


    Last night in Weil. For the fourth week in succession, the sky started rumbling just before our weekly cricket practice. This time, however, I'd seen the radar picture of the storm approaching and opted to get home from work as quickly as possible. It was one of the stronger downpours I've seen. I've lived in my current flat for nearly four years, and for the first ever time the balcony - which should theoretically be covered from the elements - got completely soaked.

    Don't say I don't live an exciting life.

    Sunday, 10 June 2007


    Jay Singh, the captain of Basel CC tells us that this Hindi expression means "Well done!".

    There was plenty of it today as Basel Cricket Club took on Olten Cricket Club at Bachgraben in what was our third league match this season. Olten were basically a Sri Lankan Select XI. In contrast, we were more of a multi-ethnic Commonwealth Select XI, with players from India, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and England.

    After winning the toss, Olten opted to bat. After a solid start by Olten - and our opening bowler Francois limping off after tearing his hamstring - Basel were able to make constant inroads into the Olten batting line-up and ultimately restricted them to 122 all out after about 30+ overs. Yours truly was handed the little cherry late on in the innings and proceeded to bowl out one of their better players with one of my looping dobblers. I ended up with figures of 2 overs, 1 wicket for 7 runs. Three of those runs were wides. However, I was fairly pleased with my short stint, and when I do bowl accurately I can get it right on the die.

    Anyway, Basel needed 123 runs to win, and got them with 3 wickets and plenty of overs to spare. I didn't bat.

    Most of the following pictures were taken after the start of Basel's innings, with both openers Shani and Sajid still at the crease. The sixth photo was taken just as Sajid holed out on the long-off boundary.

    Picture of Olten and Basel players in the "pavilion" at tea.