Howzat! Ger­many a cricket-lov­ing na­tion

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

GER­MANY’S im­mi­gra­tion ex­plo­sion has cap­tured more than its fair share of neg­a­tive head­lines over the past 18 months but, from a cricket per­spec­tive at least, the news gets more pos­i­tive by the day.

The coun­try is now the fastest-grow­ing in the cricket world and, other than the Nether­lands, it now has more reg­u­lar play­ers than the rest of con­ti­nen­tal Europe com­bined.

This year, Ger­many won the Euro­pean Di­vi­sion One tour­na­ment for the first time in its his­tory, and last week the coun­try marked its re­turn to Di­vi­sion Five of the World Cricket League af­ter a nineyear hia­tus with a one-wicket vic­tory over Ghana.

Their in­volve­ment in the com­pe­ti­tion, held in South Africa, didn’t last be­yond the group stage but, if re­cent trends are any­thing to go by, they’ll soon be back.

Ger­many’s bur­geon­ing Afghan pop­u­la­tion has en­sured that cricket par­tic­i­pa­tion rates in the coun­try have soared – an un­likely by-prod­uct of an im­mi­gra­tion in­flux that has po­larised Ger­man so­ci­ety.

But while some in the coun­try un­doubt­edly see these new ar­rivals through the prism of a half-empty glass, Brian Man­tle, the chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Deutscher Cricket Bund, is rais­ing his to a new gen­er­a­tion of tal­ent that could carry Ger­many to a T20 World Cup.

In foot­ball- ob­sessed Ger­many, it seems the true spirit of cricket is alive and kick­ing. – The In­de­pen­dent

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