Former India opener Virender Sehwag became the first cricketer to score a half-century on ice field after he hit a six off Daniel Vettori's delivery in the opening match of the St. Moritz Ice Cricket between Palace Diamonds and Royals on Thursday in Switzerland with the spectacular Swiss Alps in the backdrop.
Sehwag, who is the captain of Palace Diamonds, slammed 62 runs off 31 balls to drive his team to 164/9 in their allotted 20 overs. Andrew Symonds impressed in the middle-order with a 40-run knock, while India's Mohammad Kaif and Joginder Sharma contributed 19 and 18 runs respectively in a line-up that saw five batsmen being dismissed for a single-digit score on ice.
The 39-year-old, who is known for his fearless hitting nature, lived up to his reputation and started the innings with a boundary off Pakistan's Shoaib Akhtar delivery. Earlier in IPL and MCL, Sehwag had started his innings with a four and six respectively.
Sehwag is not new to playing exhibition games outside India. He played the MCL in Dubai and was also part of Cricket All Stars which was played in the USA two years ago.
The matches are being played on a matting pitch spread over a frozen lake at St. Moritz. Players used the traditional cricketing gear, including the red-ball but wore sports shoes instead of spikes. The weather has been nice and sunny during the day but the temperatures might dip to as low as -20 degree Celsius.
Organisers VJ Sports have claimed that the event has the approval of International Cricket Council (ICC).
Cricket on ice has been played in St. Moritz by a bunch of amateurs since 1988 but it will be the first time that greats of the game will grace the Alpine resort.
It was earlier reported that the top stars will be paid in the range of $40,000-50,000 for two games while the others will get something between $20,000-30,000.
Virender Sehwag's Palace Diamonds XI: Virender Sehwag (India), Zaheer Khan (India), Mohammad Kaif (India), Ajit Agarkar (India), Mahela Jayawardene (Sri Lanka), Lasith Malinga (Sri Lanka), Tillakaratne Dilshan (Sri Lanka), Michael Hussey (Australia), Andrew Symonds (Australia), Mithun Manhas (India), Ramesh Powar (India), Rohan Jain (Switzerland)
Shahid Afridi's Royals XI: Shahid Afridi (Pakistan), Shoaib Akhtar (Pakistan), Abdul Razzak (Pakistan), Jacques Kallis (South Africa), Graeme Smith (South Africa), Daniel Vettori (New Zealand), Nathan McCullum (New Zealand), Grant Elliott (New Zealand), Monty Panesar (England), Owais Shah (England), Matt Prior (England), Aidan Andrews (Switzerland)