Sweden the next cricket destinationhttps://indianexpress.com/article/sports/cricket/sweden-witnesses-a-boom-in-cricket-5222779/

Sweden the next cricket destination

In a country where priority is given to other sports like soccer and ice hockey, Sweden now has more than 60 teams with almost 2000 players across all its towns.

A cricket match being played in Sweden. (Source: Twitter)

Cricket is booming in Sweden over the last couple of years. At a time when legends of the game are calling for the globalization of the sport the sport, cricket’s development in the Scandinavian country will come as a shot in the arm for the game. In a country where sports like soccer and ice hockey take centerstage, Sweden now has more than 60 cricket teams with almost 2000 players. However, it is primarily due to the migrant population ( mostly of Afghan and Pakistani origin) who form the core group of players. Sweden’s national cricket team’s coach is former Pakistan Test batsman Mohammad Waseem.

Recalling the initial phase of the game, Tariq Zuwak, chairman of the Swedish Cricket Federation said,”Three or four years ago, we had only 13 clubs in Sweden and the number of players was around 600 or 700.”

Currently, Sweden has more than 4,00,000 registered asylum applications since 2012. However, this massive inflow has resulted in a gradual development of the cricket federation in the picturesque country..

“The youngsters miss their families and are worried about their asylum process. But when they play cricket, there is nothing else on their mind than having fun,” Zuwak explained.

Meanwhile, U-19 coach David Williman spoke to Swedish newspaper local.se and shared his insights.  According to Williman cricket is still a budding sport in Sweden. “We’ve got around 3,000 players and 50 teams across the country, with a big hotspot in Stockholm where there are about 25 teams,” he said before adding, “It is still very much a minority sport, and not enough native Swedes are playing.” One of Sweden’s major assignments this year will be the qualifiers for ICC World T20 in Australia in 2020.