Berlin: The influx of asylum seekers into Germany, especially from cricket-mad Pakistan and Afghanistan, has created an unexpected boom for the sport in a country where football has long been king.
An Afghan refugee at a cricket training session in Essen, Germany recently. PIC/AFP
Of the 476,649 people who applied for asylum in Germany last year, 31,902 came from Afghanistan alone, with a further 8,472 from Pakistan, which has seen the German Cricket Federation (DCB) flooded with a simple question: "Where can I play?”
he DCB’s chief executive officer, Brian Mantle, says they have been swamped by enquiries through their website (www.cricket.de) to set up new clubs across the country, supply equipment and point new arrivals to their local team. Mantle, who is based in the western city of Essen, runs the DCB with only an additional part-timer for assistance. When the Englishman took over in 2012, there were around 1,500 cricketers in Germany playing in 70 teams.
Now there are 4,000 registered cricketers playing in 205 teams and last week the DCB welcomed its 100th new club, from Bautzen near the Czech border.