The visit of the German national team to Vienna, Austria, for a two match series on 5th and 6th May 2012 will continue a tradition of matches between the two countries which has been going on since 1990, though several of the encounters have not taken place on the soil of either country.
When the current DCB was formed in 1988, the first international fixtures were played the following year on a tour to Denmark. The first international on home soil, however, was against Austria in 1990. The match – a 40 overs one – took place at Kleinauheim, Hanau on 11 August. It was planned that only passport holders of the two countries would take part in the game, but last minute withdrawals led to the Austrian team having a couple of expats in it.
This historic match ended with a win for Austria by 6 wickets. Germany batting first, under the captaincy of Irfan Baig, could only muster 91 for 9 in its 40 overs (Vijay Madan (Uof Passau) top-scored with 35 not out, while for Austria the best bowling performances came from Wolfgang Teser (4:0:9:3) and Siva Nadarajah (7:1:13:3). Austria lost only 4 wickets in passing the German score in 18 overs (Siva Nadarajah 64 not out). German’s wicket-takers were V. Madan (2:0:14: 2) and Omar Askari (3:1:9:2)
German team: Irfan Baig (Hassloch), Omar Askari (Fkt), Felix Hausch (RCC Hanau), Vijay Madan (Uof Passau CT), Andy Wegner (Hassloch), Matthias Wegner (Hassloch), Ismail Assi (RCCH), Ralf Krossin (RCCH), Stefan Dreyer (Uof Passau CT), Dirk Klarmann (Wiesbaden) and Martin Gerlach (RCCH).
Austrian team: F.Welt, J. Singh Negi, G. Avinder, S. Nadarajah, W. Blaschke, J. Chaudery. Khaana, Teser, Rose, Nedoma, Richter.
The match aroused quite a bit of interest and the Sports Department of the BBC World Service broadcast updates and the final score of the game. And among the cricketers of Germany and Austria the fixture was declared a success and plans drawn up to repeat it in Vienna the following year.
This match took place at the Johann Hoffmann ground on 28 September 1991, a small ground in a city square surrounded by houses and with cars parked all the way around the ground – a situation to set insurance warning bells ringing in the administrators’ heads. Again, Austria ran out winners, even more clearly than in the first game – by 153 runs: Austria 211 for 5 off 40 overs (Siva. Nadarajah 101, Wolfgang Teser 46 not out). German wicket takers: Olaf Rössink (UofP) 6:0:21:2, Wolfgang Schmidhüber (Altötting) 4:0:32:1, Felix Haush (RCCH) 5:0:26:1). Germany in reply could only muster 58 runs all out (Felix Hausch 17, M Gerlach 7 and Adolphus Lavington (Stragglers, Berlin, 6).
There was another string of games between the two countries, however, which was brought about by the coming together of several European cricket associations under the banner of the European Cricket Federation (founded in1989). Although the ECF did not organise the ‘Cricketer Cup’ – this was done by a UK cricket magazine – most of the participants in the inaugural tournament which took place on Guernsey in May,1990 were ECF members. Austria and Germany were two of these countries and played each other in the round- robin format. Austria batted first, making 122 in 28.3 overs (Fonseka 22, F.Stewart 4-23; A. Wegner 2-15), Germany knocked off the runs for the loss of 3 wickets (114-3) in 23.4 overs (Sanjay Taneja 52 – the first international 50 by a German national team player – giving Germany a 7 wicket victory.
The ‘Cricket Cup’ was organised again in 1992 and Germany and Austria once again took part. This time the venues were in and around Worksop in the UK. At Clumber Park on 15.07.1992, Germany batting first notched up 159 runs for the loss of 6 wickets in a game reduced because of rain to 35 overs (Amir bin Jung 61, F. Stewert 47 n.o.) and Austria made 97 all out (Nasir Rasput 6:1:15:3) to give Germany a 62 run victory. Germany went on to win the tournament and the prize of playing the MCC at Lord’s – a game in which Germany made an honourable draw against a strong MCC XI.
It was at this point that the ECF laid down its plans for its own tournaments and the first ‘Nations Cup’ was played in Berlin in 1993. Germany and Austria both played this tournament, but did not meet because they were placed in different groups. Germany did reach the final, but lost a closely fought game to France.
In 1995, though, the paths of the two countries did cross again in the second ‘Nations Cup held at Radley College, near Oxford. Again Germany took the honours, making 229 all out (Wayne van Dalsum 49, A.S. Bhatti 49), Austria replying with 211 for 8 (Andrew Simpson- Parker 80; H. Bhatti: 8:2:33:3, D. Ekanayaka 7:1:30:2). A German win by 18 runs. Germany went on to reach the final, but lost to Portugal.
A year later the third ‘Nations Cup’ took place in Osnabrück and this brought a change in fortune for Austria. It made 206 in its innings (W. van Dalsum 10:0:47:5) and bowled out Germany for 143 runs (D. Ekanayaka 34, O. Stach 25, Volker Ellerbeck 24 n.o.), giving Austria a 63 run victory.
In the fourth ‘Nations Cup, held at Zuos in Switzerland, Germany and Austria did not meet.
The ECF gave way to the European Cricket Council in 1997 and a new series of games got underway. Germany, as a result of a runner-up spot in the Zuos tournament, went to play in the second European Championships and thereafter from 1998 to 2011 has held a place in the second division of that tournament. In 2002 Austria took part for the first time in division two as a result of achieving the runners-up spot in the 2001 European Trophy. At Deramore, Belfast on 20.07.2002, Germany went into bat and hit a huge 356 for 7 (Brodersen 83, H. Bhatti 64, A. Pasha 55) and succeeded in getting the Austrian team all out in 33.1 overs for 76 (Farook Ahmed : 9.1-0-22-5) – a 280 run victory.
The season 2010, however, saw the end of the 50 over league structure in European cricket and the introduction of Tw/20 cricket for the members of ICC Europe. Germany was placed in division one of the 2011 European Tw/20 league and Austria won promotion to that division from division two as runners-up to Belgium. Austria played on Guernsey and Germany on Jersey. The two teams did not meet on the field of play. Austria did well in the tournament, coming 8th overall, whereas Germany held down the 10th spot. The Austrian success meant that it became one of the top four non- embedded World Cricket League teams in Europe with a chance of entering WCL 8 after a play-off system involving itself, France, Belgium, and Israel later in 2012.
The up-coming fixtures against Germany will thus provide an invaluable preparation opportunity for the Austrians. From the German point of view, with WCL 7 coming up in 2013, the games will provide a good start in the preparation plans for that tournament.
In terms of all the international cricket which has gone on at senior level between the two countries over the years, the win and loss count is Germany won 4 and lost 3, so it is all very close. The sights of the managements and teams will be on the games as ‘preparation’, but winning breeds its own confidence, so both teams will be up for the two encounters.
Brian Fell (DCB President)