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Cricket in Germany

Germany is now the fastest-growing country in the cricket world and, if you remove the Netherlands from the equation, it now has more regular players than the rest of continental Europe combined

In 2017, Germany won the European Division One tournament for the first time in its history which marked its return to Division Five of the World Cricket League after a nine-year hiatus with a one-wicket victory over Ghana

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

Brian Mantle, the chief executive of the Deutscher Cricket Bund is raising hope to a new generation of talent that could, investment allowing, carry Germany to a T20 World Cup sooner than he could have possibly imagined. “Germany is up to about 6000 participants playing hard ball cricket. Then there are thousands and thousands playing softball cricket in parks and self-organised leagues

“Around 95% of them are Asian immigrants and a lot of them are refugees but we’ve got more cricketers now than anywhere else on the continent – it’s huge. We’ve gone from 60 clubs five years ago to around 370 this year.”

The numbers themselves are impressive but what’s even more remarkable is that Germany’s rise as an unlikely cricketing power has come despite a desperate lack of facilities and investment. “The big difference is that we don’t have any infrastructure, we don’t have any cricket history, we’re playing on makeshift pitches and although the facilities are getting better it’s still a big struggle,” says Mantle

“Cricket is hugely important to them in terms of getting them settled - we have to get these guys happy. If they’re not happy then they have no chance of integrating.”

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