Cricket is a ubiquitous sport that is generally associated with commonwealth countries like the UK, India or Australia. Other competitive sports like soccer, basketball may have more fan base in the modern day, but cricket is fast becoming one of the more popular sport in Europe competing with soccer in the process.
Though it may be difficult to pinpoint exactly when cricket arrived in the Netherlands, but there are indications that people began playing the sport within Dutch borders at some point in the late 18th century. It was not long before English troops entered the Netherlands throughout the Napoleonic wars from 1803 to 1814, thereby introducing the sport to the local population.
After this period, cricket popularity grew steadily, and many clubs were formed in the Netherlands over the 19th century and creating an international sporting community. However, cricket has its off period, because it fell out of favour at the beginning of the 20th century. This was partly due to the Dutch population’s disdain towards the British campaigns against the Boers in South Africa and consequently got completely eclipsed by field hockey and football in the 20th century.
Upon these atrocities, many cricket clubs were able to survive in the Netherlands and continued to compete at national and international championships, and Germany’s burgeoning Afghan population has ensured that cricket participation rates in the country have soared higher than before.
In Europe, Germany now has up to 6000 participants playing hardball cricket, and that number has continued to rack up in thousands playing softball cricket in parks and self-organized leagues. Even though almost 95% of them are Asian immigrants and a lot of them are refugees, Europe can boast of more cricketers now than anywhere else on the continent. The fun part is that this rise has happened despite a lack of facilities, infrastructure, facilities, or even cricket history.
Talking of which country where cricket is the most popularly known, Germany and Netherland are considered the fastest growing nation in world cricket than the rest of the continent combined, and this has made them regularly qualify for major cricket tournaments and secured numerous surprise wins over the past few decades. Just, for instance, the Dutch men’s team managed to beat England during an opening match at 2009 ICC World Twenty20 winning the game by four wickets. To crown it all, the Dutch women’s cricket team was ranked among the most successful squads in the world from the 1990s to 2000s.
Consequently, this year, Germany won the European Division One tournament for the first time in its history and also marked its return to division five of the world cricket league after a nine-year break with a wicket victory over Ghana.
Cricket is a sport of many and is becoming more ubiquitous by the day especially in Europe, and even though there has been criticism about its difficult integration nature, cricket has exceeded all expectations with its level of popularity alongside other competitive sports like soccer.