An internet forum of cricket fans has crowdfunded to launch Iceland cricket into the international arena
Fans chip in to grow Iceland 'krikket'
As the ICC celebrates 400 days until the start of the 2019 World Cup, which will feature no Associate Member nations, a small group of dedicated cricket fans have dug into their pockets to help grow the game.
The Iceland Cricket Board, or Krikketsamband Íslands in the local tongue, will embark on a tour of the UK this northern summer, and will play their first ever international match against Switzerland.
With Iceland's soccer team having captured the world's attention on their way to this year's Fifa World Cup, the cricket team has dreams of a similar journey. They hope to gain membership to the European Cricket Council, and from there, ICC Affiliate status.
To grow the game, they need funds. So Iceland launched a crowdfunding campaign on social media, which was picked up on by the cricket lovers who grace Reddit.
With more than 69,000 subscribers to Reddit's r/Cricket group, support for Iceland's ambition quickly took hold.
But the r/Cricket supporters weren't willing to subsidise Iceland's expat-dominated team's travel and playing expenses. Instead, a separate crowdfunding campaign was set up by the Iceland board, with a £2,000 target to become the team's official sponsor two years.
"The money will go towards introducing cricket clubs into Icelandic primary schools with the aim of increasing the number of Icelandic people enjoying and playing the game we all love," wrote Kit Harris, the Krikketsamband Íslands secretary, on the crowdfunding page.Image Id: 5E003546E4E045E4BD4B57D782B0F7CA Image Caption: Domestic cricket in Iceland // Iceland Cricket
"At the moment, Iceland Cricket is run by expat volunteers who play and tour and pay their own way. The club is run by Icelanders, but we want to get coaches and resources into schools so local children can learn to play cricket."
Harris made it clear that none of the money raised by the Redditors would be spent on subsidising playing and tour expenses. "We appreciate this is a matter of concern and scepticism for r/Cricket users," he said.
The target was quickly met, meaning a diverse global collection of cricket fans who mix serious analytical discussion with good-natured mickey-taking and internet memes now proudly sponsor the soon-to-be newest international side in the game.
We are delighted to announce the https://t.co/yanXQxRGjo community as the official sponsor of the Iceland cricket team, and its UK tours, for the next two years. We urge you to join their community and to follow @reddit_cricket. We’ll be launching our 2018 kit with them soon. pic.twitter.com/gaZQPg4d2U— Iceland Cricket (@icelandcricket) April 23, 2018
"We are delighted to announce the Reddit /r/Cricket community as the official sponsor of the Iceland cricket team, and its UK tours, for the next two years," the association wrote on social media.
The r/Cricket group – which features a Richie Benaud inspired version of the Reddit logo – will now have branding front and centre on Iceland's kit.
Iceland have long hosted touring club sides for matches, and for the past few years have played in Prague's Pepsi Cup competition.
The country has a population just over 347,000 and has two teams that play a domestic competition in the summer months – the Reykjavik Vikings and Kópavogur Puffins – with soccer grounds doubling as cricket wickets.
But the matches against Switzerland in Weybridge in July mark their first full internationals.