New Delhi: The positive response garnered from the inaugural edition of St Moritz Ice Cricket tournament has encouraged promoters Akhilesh Bahuguna and Vijay Singh to think about making it an annual event. “The response has been phenomenal and we are happy that all the top cricketers of the world were convinced about the project and came on board. Our aim is to make it an annual event with a three-match series,” Singh, a resident of Switzerland, who conceived the idea in 2016, told PTI after the completion of the event. Bahuguna, on his part, expressed his gratitude towards Virender Sehwag, who was the first cricketer to sign on the dotted lines.

“I remember when we first spoke to Sehwag about our concept, he didn’t even take five minutes to say yes. His only question was the kind of shoes that he needs to wear in order to field on ice,” Bahuguna fondly recollected. They agreed that it would have been better had they managed to organise the matches on a weekend, which could have attracted more spectators.”We didn’t get booking for the weekend because St Moritz’s most popular sport Ice Horse Racing happens on weekend, which is normally attended by close to 5000 people,” said Singh, who has been born and brought up in Zurich.

Both agreed that it is a small step they have taken to bring the cricket-loving community closer in this part of the world.”I believe we are going through an experimental phase right now. Realistically, Ice Cricket or T10 in Winter Olympics is a long shot as of now. But the initial response has been encouraging. We have got enough sponsors, right kind of players of stature and for a week day, a more than decent turnout,” Bahuguna added. The players, on their part, liked the concept and felt that batting wasn’t as big a problem as bowling and fielding.

The ball, when thrown from the deep, wasn’t bouncing enough before hitting the keeper’s gloves but these are things that can be worked upon. “May be for Ice Cricket, they can just about make the ball a touch lighter, may be it will help in bouncing more. Right now, it’s skidding more,” Shahid Afridi had said.

Jacques Kallis feels one needs to be a bit more careful with their footwear.”Overall, it was a big success as far as I am concerned. Batting is easier as after three or four balls, you are nicely warmed up. But bowling and fielding is a bit difficult in these conditions. And yes, you need to be a bit more careful about the footwear while fielding on ice,” Kallis remarked.