Soccer, aka football, aka fußball, may be Germany’s pride and joy sport, but the times they are a changin’ as cricket quickly rises in popularity in the country. Known as the second largest sport in the world, cricket has had a loyal following in the UK, Australia, Asia and the Middle East, and as more than one million refugees sought a life in Germany, they brought their love of the sport with them, leaving the once lonely German cricket fans something to cheer about.
Brian Mantle, CEO of the German Cricket Federation, is among those smiling as the refugees are bringing a “breath of fresh air” to the league as more than 250 new teams have sprung up in Germany over the last four years.
Sports have long served as a way to unite cultures, and this rise of cricket has been no exception.
“Cricket has helped me to get to know to other people here in Germany and to work with them on how it is possible to live and work in Germany,” Khial Muhammad Sahak, a 19-year-old Afghan refugee told Euronews. “Cricket is a sport where you need to have respect. Without respect, there is no cricket.”
Germany has never found its way to the Cricket World Cup in its 42-year history, and while it may still take some time to build a strong enough team to do it, Mantle is more hopeful than ever that the time will come soon enough.