TU Kaiserslautern joins the German Cricket Scene
Mon, Jul 12, 2010 1:08 PM
University students either as individuals or in teams have played an important role in the development of cricket in Germany ever since its inception into the country. Two English students from what is now the area of Cumbria in England claimed to have introduced cricket to Germany in the late nineteenth century when they attended Berlin University. However, the history of cricket in Germany goes back much further than that.
In the formative years of the modern Deutscher Cricket Bund (DCB), which started in 1988, the Universities of Passau and Göttingen, Darmstadt and Heidelberg were prominent members. Other universities which today have cricket teams or groups are Jacobs University, Bremen, TU Braunschweig, Stuttgart University and Karlsruhe.
One of the newest universities to enter the German cricket fold is the Technical University of Kaiserslautern. Although cricket has been played there for about four years on an ad hoc basis, this year sees the university cricket team enter into league cricket for the first time.
The university attracts a substantial number of foreign students to its Masters and Ph.D. courses from cricket playing countries, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. They want to continue playing cricket while they are away from home and cricket provides a valuable opportunity for them to enjoy the sport they grew up with and a means of ensuring integration into university life.
Following talks between the student players, particularly the current captain, Girish Parappa, and Artur Harutyunyan of the International School of Graduate Studies, a staunch supporter of the initiative from the word ‘go’, came the involvement of the Deutscher Cricket Bund, Thomas Wolf of Unisport and Friends of Kaiserslautern University, after which the decision was taken to form a cricket club, and help provide it with equipment and a playing field for the games.
The chance to step right into league cricket came with the formation of a completely new cricket region in Germany, the Baden Würtemburg Cricket Association. TU Kaiserslautern were accepted into the nine team league and to date have had instant success, winning all their five opening fixtures, so that they top the league at this point in the season, and have now raised their sights from mere participation in league cricket to having a tilt at winning the league and going on to final rounds of the German championship, where at the end of the season the winners of the six German cricket regions play off for that championship. There is some way to go yet, but the ambition is there.
Before a recent Tw/20 fixture against Karlsruhe, the University officially welcomed cricket into its sporting programme and cricket shirts, polos and caps bearing the university colours were presented to the players by Dr. Burkhard Lehmann, Director general of DISC and Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Helmut Neunzert acting for the University Administration.
Cricket is open to all at the university and in the regular weekly training sessions a coach will be on hand to impart cricket knowledge to any newcomer who wants to try his hand at the game. Plans are in the pipeline to have a ground where a permanent cricket pitch can be laid down.
With the existing university cricket clubs and new ones coming onto the scene, the time is approaching when a university cricket championship can be seriously considered