GERMANY is likely not the first country that comes to mind when you think of cricket.
But the sport is rapidly growing in the country with 2,000 kids playing the sport.
In the 2018-19 ICC T20 World Cup Europe qualifier, Germany progressed to the regional finals and lost out on qualification to the final qualifier on net run-rate with Jersey just edging ahead.
Abhijit Khan is the coach of the U19 team and having previously played cricket in Mumbai was also involved in the Brazilian game.
Mr Khan told Desi Sportscast: “We were a bit skeptical because security in Brazil was a major concern.”
There was a requirement for a bulletproof car due to these security concerns.
But Mr. Khan reflected: “Fortunately for me, the three years we experienced in Brazil was fantastic.”
He went on the praise the athletic ability of Brazilian youngsters and noted their experiences of playing lots of different sports made it easier to get them to take up cricket, explaining: “Today, Brazilian cricket is doing very well.
“The hard work has really played off.”
Mr. Khan got involved in German cricket after his wife took up a job in the country.
There are now nearly 150 clubs in Germany.
Explaining his thoughts at the beginning of this journey, he explained: “Germany has a good infrastructure, but we need to build on it.
“Initially when I came in, a lot of ex-pats were playing cricket.”
He has praised the work of the board to continue raising the profile of the game, which he believes holds the German game in good stead: “We are going into a lot of schools, tapping on German kids, when I talk about my U19 team, four of them are Germans [including the captain], we are going in the right direction I think.”
In the June 2019 regional finals, Craig Meschede, an allrounder who had previously played first-class cricket for Glamorgan and Somerset would win player of the series and register more runs than any other player at the tournament with 179.
Germany will not be able to call on his services again, however, as in June, Mr Meschede who suffers from Neurogenic Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, which limits his mobility and strength announced his retirement.
He told Glamorgan’s website: “The last few weeks have been very emotional for me as cricket has played such a big part of my life.
“Saying that, I have to do what’s best for my health and there is life after cricket.
“The physio and support staff and everyone at Glamorgan have been brilliant throughout this process and I can’t thank them enough.”
To listen to the full podcast, please visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SNVZFjyoRag&t=716s