What Cricket is for India, Football is for Germany. Perhaps, the reach of Football in Germans is more penetrating as it is almost a lifestyle in the nation and has grown as a national undertone. Football stands aligned with other German identities like automobiles and of course, beer. Germany is the winner of FIFA World Cup and has been always among the top Football playing nations. This makes the idea of a game like Cricket that has the least similarity with Football somewhat absurd. However, everything changes and this change in Germany is triggered by a global geopolitical situation.
Germany has offered shelter to thousands of refugees fleeing middle east as well as from countries like Afghanistan and Pakistan. Naturally, for the younger age group cricket is a passion that cannot be deemed just by crossing national boundaries. This has received the helping hand from the upbeat Cricket Board of the nation, the Deutscher Cricket Bund. And the fraternity should be thankful to Brian Mantle, its head, to offer cricket a greater audience.
In fact, Cricket in Germany has spread its roots. The German Cricket Team is headed by Rishi Pillai and it has already won the International Cricket Council Europe Championship Division 2 in Sweden. The perseverance of the German Cricket Board as well as the players, is huge and it is gradually bringing on the bright side in the country. For players, there are limited exposures in the global stage and cricket is still far away from being a career choice. The players associated with the team have little financial motivation. However, players are still devoted to the sport and the driving force is high. As reported, the DCB has invested as much as they can but they are short of funds. The Board is paid Euro 200,000 by ICC annually. However, as the team began to participate in more tournaments and the shortage of the amount is felt.
In the country, cricket is also emerging as a way of social integration for refugees. The section of people just has enough time to devote to cricket. It is helping them to regain the sense of participation and integration to an alien land. In 2012, there were about 1500 players and 50 cricket clubs across the nation, but now more than 5,000 cricketers are in the country playing across 220 clubs. This is a sudden change and financial constraints faced by the Board is natural. The fate of funding for DCB also depends on the Olympics. According to the DCB head, if cricket is included in the Olympics, the Board will receive five times the fund from the government it receives now from ICC. However, he has also assured that the shortage of fund is not affecting the progress of cricket in the country.
The present coach of the team is Steven Knox, who was the former player from Scotland. There is no shortage of players in the country and the team is built as a dynamic one. The Board is also trying to attract German players into the game. There is an emerging cricket culture in the country, but the infrastructure is all built for other games. The Indian origin Skipper of the team has highlighted it as the reason that discourages kids from playing the sport.
Thus, in a nutshell, a new team is gradually emerging in cricket. Here, the interesting fact is that the emergence is not so important as much as the source. Above all, it is expected that the international cricket team from Germany to play the Cricket World Cup will emerge ahead of the International Football Team from India in Football World Cup.
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