Last weekend saw an under 18 tournament taking place in Karlsruhe where the German Under 18 team played three 50 over games against their counterparts from France, Belgium and Luxembourg. The tournament was arranged to give the youngsters practice as they head towards next season’s ICC Europe Under 19 championships. The three day tournament was organised by DCB General Manager Brian Mantle together with the DCB Youth Officer Sajid Sikander.
Day One – Germany vs. France
The first game saw our boys travel from their youth hostel in Pforzheim to the ground of Karlsruher CC for their game against the French. German captain Tushar Marwaha (ASV Köln) won the toss and elected to bat first on the hard and bouncy pitch. It seemed to be the right decision as the German openers Janpreet Singh (Berlin CC) and Dhushant Kumar (Hamburg International CC) put on 42 for the first wicket despite some accurate fast bowling from the French opening bowlers. Dhushant’s wicket lead to a small collapse as Germany were left struggling on 59-3 after 14 overs before a fourth wicket partnership of 39 between Janpreet (31) and Rohit Singh (Britannia Berlin) steadied the ship. Rohit was the next man out for 39 and wickets continued to fall at regular intervals. A final wicket stand of 33 between Oliver Filby (Deutsche Welle CC) and Haris Mubarik (Hamburg) meant that the German team finished their innings on 175 all out off 42 overs, a score that was certainly under the expectations but at least gave the bowlers something to defend.
The German opening bowlers struggled to make the breakthrough and that was critical as early wickets were certainly needed. Arif Jamal (Ruhr Valley International CC) came on first change and promptly took the first wicket in his first over leaving the French at 44-1. The French team continued to dominate however and reached their target off only 34 overs for the loss of three wickets.
The consensus amongst coach Sajid Sikander and manager Keith Matthews however was that the performances had been generally good but there were many lessons to be learnt from a very good French performance, namely how important it was to take all our catches and not bowl so many wides.
The other game saw Luxembourg beat Belgium.
Day Two – Germany vs. Belgium
The German team certainly listened to the advice and learnt their lessons well as they headed to the SSC ground in Karlsruhe in a game that saw the two defeated teams from the first day play against each other.
This time Tushar lost the toss and Germany were asked to bat first. The outfield was slightly wet after heavy morning dew, but the overhead conditions were perfect on another gloriously sunny day. Once again the German openers set the team up for a good score. Janpreet (34) and Dhushant (64) put on 133 for the first wicket off just 20 overs as German took charge. The innings really took off though when Rohit entered the stage. He scored a quick fire 99 off just 58 balls before being given out lbw. The German progress was halted however by a hat-trick from Belgian bowler Gothaskar, but this time Germany managed to bat out the full 50 overs, losing their final wicket off the last ball with a total of 325 on the board. Using the full 50 overs had been one of the key messages from coach Sajid Sikander after the opening day defeat so progress was most certainly being made. Now we needed to see how the bowlers and fielders would learn their lessons.
The answer to this question was quickly answered as the fielding improved considerably with several excellent catches being taken. The Belgians struggled from the start against excellent opening bowling from Tahsildar Ahmadzai (Tegernsee CC) and Rohit Singh. Rohit’s figures of 3-6 off 6 overs set the tone for the rest of the team. Wickets fell regularly and except for a 7th wicket partnership of 53, Germany were always on top, reducing the Belgians to 121 all out off 31 overs, a victory by 204 runs.
The team was buoyed by this and the other result where Luxembourg beat France meant that a large victory in the final game would potentially mean that we would win the tournament.
Day Three – Germany vs. Luxembourg
Luxembourg had been invited to the tournament on the back of some excellent reports about their youth development programme. This proved to be correct as they had won their two opening games and only needed to beat Germany to take the trophy. Germany on the other hand needed to win and hope that the result in the other game went our way as net run rate was how the title would be decided if teams finished equal on points.
Thushar won the toss and elected to bat. The weather was still warm, but there were a few more clouds about on this, the final day of the tournament. This time the German openers didn’t have a good start with Dhushant falling early. After 16 overs, Germany were 67-3 and struggling after Janpreet was out for 26. Again it was left to Rohit to build the innings, sharing in partnerships with Haris (14) and Tushar (18) as he set about the Luxembourg bowlers in a similar way to how he did so the day before against Belgium. This time he also fell in the 90s, mazingly lbw again for 95 off just 69 balls. It was an excellent performance against steady bowling. The German innings was all out in the 48th over, the score of 226 giving us a good chance but the bowlers had to fire.
Rohit’s good form continued as he took two wickets in his first over to leave Luxembourg in trouble at 6-2. This time the bowlers bowled less wides and the run rate was checked to such an extent that Luxembourg were always a long way behind the run rate. One of the keys to this was the fall of regular wickets and the excellent bowling of Tushar (2-28 off 10 overs) and Rohit (4-35 off 9 overs). The Luxembourg innings was all out in the 47th over for 184, a victory for Germany by 41 runs.
Unfortunately, a huge French victory over the Belgians meant that they took the title on net run rate as Germany, France and Luxembourg had all won two games each. Germany finished a credible second in this tournament.
The feedback from this tournament was excellent. From an organisational perspective this type of tournament is the way forward for German youth cricket. Tournaments against our neighbouring countries give our boys excellent competitive cricket as well as reducing costs. All four national boards agree that this will be the first of many such tournaments.
From a cricketing perspective we see a bright future. Many of the German players are only 15 or 16 and will be available for the DCB youth teams for a few years yet. They have great potential and now have a clear idea of what they need to do to improve as cricketers. There are also a numer of other youth players waiting in the wings as we saw in the national trials that took place before the tournament.
The coaching team of Sajid Sikander and Keith Matthews worked excellently with the team and will hopefully lead the team together to the ICC Europe Under 19 Championships next summer where we hope to see th etam progress even further.
The DCB would also like to thank the two clubs in Karlsruhe for providing such excellent facilities as well as catering for all the visitors with food and drink. Special thanks must go to Waheed Ahmed (SSC Karlsruhe) and Zafar Razzaq (KCC) for all their hard work. In addition, the DCB had four qualified umpires at Level 1A or higher officiating at the event. Thanks must go to Syed Haider, Waheed Ahmed, JOhn Campbell and DCB Head Umpire Hoshang Kharadi. Also not forgotten is the DCB’s Head Scorer Wraye Wenigmann for all her help.
Everyone agreed that it was an excellent weekend for German youth cricket.