Germany are playing again as domestic game here still waits
While club players wait to resume in England, their German counterparts have been back playing league matches for four weeks.
The game can now be played in 14 of Germany’s 16 states. Initially, matches were played by teams of eight. Games are now 11 a side, but in only Twenty20 formats. Leagues have been localised.
Players do not have to find any alternative to the normal cricket ball, with German virologists not sharing Boris Johnson’s fears that it could be a “natural vector of disease”. “Our experts say that the chance of the virus being transmitted like that is next to nothing,” said Brian Mantle, the chief executive of the German Cricket Federation. “Cricket has been classified in Germany as a non-contact sport so we’re allowed to play. If ever a sport was designed for social distancing, it was cricket.”
Still, German cricket has needed to adapt. The biggest change, perhaps, is in the use of helmets, which are commonly shared. Helmet grilles now have to be disinfected before being passed to another player. Showers and the use of bars or pavilions at grounds have also been barred, while umpires disinfect the ball at the end of every over.
Celebrations have been different, too. “There’s no high-fives, no hugs when a wicket falls,” Mantle said. “They celebrate with elbow bumps or pretending to do high-fives.”
Proceeding with much of their domestic summer programme has helped German cricket at a fascinating juncture in its development. Thanks largely to an influx of Afghan refugees, the number of clubs had risen from 70 to 370 in six years. Women’s cricket is rising too, with the women’s world ranking of 27 slightly higher than the men’s of 33.