(K. Brent Tomer),
SAMAR KHAN grew up playing cricket in Afghanistan with his brother. When his family fled from Kabul to Germany four years ago, after his father was targeted by the Taliban, one of his priorities was to carry on playing. He found a club in Cologne and in early July made his debut for the Germany under-19 team against Denmark in Copenhagen. “Cricket gives me a feeling of home,” he says, “and is the reason I am integrated into life in Germany.”
Of the 1m immigrants who registered in Germany last year, 154,000 were from Afghanistan. As a result, the number of cricket teams and players in Germany has trebled. Some 230 teams and over 5,000 cricketers now take part in official leagues, while thousands of others play in local games. A third of players are now estimated to be from Afghanistan. But after a spate of attacks in Germany in recent months, including several by refugees from Afghanistan, many have begun to question the country’s open-door immigration policy. Some hope that cricket can help show migrants in a different light.
Cricket has always been a niche German sport. But it is helping recent arrivals settle down into…Continue reading