Happy 21st birthday to my home country New Germany. This bulky, yet kinda handsome young bloke from the heart of Europe is now allowed to drink in the USA! But I guess he'll rather just have a glass of water^^
On this occasion I would like to say thank you to everyone including my mum, who dared to stand up for a democratic change in 1989 and risked their safety and lives, and those of their families, to make East Europe a better place, and to finally end the Cold War.
Without these guys I wouldn't be sitting here writing these lines on my own blog.
Without them I would not be reading English cricket websites, would not be talking to cricket players -and their mums- from Israel, to fellow Redbacks supporters from Adelaide, or cricket-obsessed maths teachers from New Zealand.
I would not be able to engage in heated discussions with cricket wits from Asia, I would not be sharing big hopes with fans from Zimbabwe, I would not debate cricketing buffaloes with Bangladeshi Saffa-fans residing in Canada, I would not be watching live matches on the internet, or laughing my arse off listening to an Indian cricket radio station.
Without these guys, Rana-Javed Iqbal would not have taken 8 for 9 against the team of the Czech Republic. I would not know who he is. I would not know cricket. There would not be a Czech cricket team. And there would not be a Czech Republic.
Now, like every cricket fan I tend to view life as a match of cricket, and to explain and describe it in cricket terms and metaphors. So, here comes the inevitable question of the day:
What sort of cricket player is New Germany?
As a right-handed batsman he is a heavyweight in the middle order, who can always be relied upon to save the innings, if the top order has imploded. Not a Hussey yet, but he's working on that problem with Katoesque determination. Gifted with seemingly infinite patience, he would rather scratch around for a whole day than chuck his wicket into the bowler's throat. The tailenders and younger players generally like to bat with him because he protects them well and makes them feel safe, so that they can concentrate on doing their job. He is a player of the classical Test mould, has a fairly good range of shots and uses his feet against the spinners to some success, but takes no risks. Unlikely to get stumped, run out, or caught in the deep. When he middles it, the ball tends to fly out the ground.
Fantastic ODI batsman, but will never really make it into the T20 team, because he values his wicket too much. His Test average oscillates around 48, but not everyone in the team appreciates that. Everybody knows that he could bat at the top, but he insists that he's happy with what he calls "opening the middle order batting".
He is a handy medium pacer known to bowl in precisely the same spot for hours and hours, but he hardly has any tricks or tactics up his sleeve, and if he knew any, he probably wouldn't make use of them. Once or twice in a day he likes to bowl the odd bouncer, just to underline his standpoint.
Whenever the captain tells him to field at slip or short leg he starts to grumble, because he does not like running around with a helmet on. Eventually he gives in, realising that everyone in a team has to take responsibility. However, if the captain employs all-too-offensive tactics, he often would just like to leave the field. In such situations he is unmotivated to the point of stubbornness, and needs to get kicked and dragged along. He believes that he will not change his mind on this issue in the foreseeable future and therefore is assigned tasks of a more auxiliary nature, which he can accomplish enthusiastically and reliably.
He doesn't understand the concept of sledging and will thus often be seen shaking his head and sighing sadly.
As the vice captain of the side he knows how to guide and motivate the team, but he sometimes tends to try and do all the batting and bowling by himself. Although he encourages the less experienced players and those that are going through a form dip, he needs to dare delegate work more efficiently to the other seniors in the team.
In the dressing room he is not considered the greatest entertainer, he hardly ever sings, and he dances like a bear. Often he can be found sitting in a corner pondering his technique, the mistakes he made in past matches, and how to do better in the future. He likes to share these experiences with the younger players, but some just roll their eyes over his endless repetitions of "this mouldy old shit". Sometimes he has his 'special five minutes', in which he audibly wonders if winning is the primary goal of the game, and if it is fair to crowd eight fielders around a No. 11.
|Mrs. New Germany: |
Hides inside the house, terrible WAG
In private life he is married with a gorgeous girl, who buzzes with energy. She likes to cook, to sing and dance, and to wear beautiful dresses. People turn their heads after her when she shows up outside the house, but it doesn't happen very often. He loves and admires her exuberance and joyfulness, but they just won't rub off on him.
Overall, he looks like he's still gonna have a long and successful First Class career ahead of him. Some say he has peaked already, but with his skillset, learning aptitude and the game changing so quickly, predictions are really hard to make.
I'd pick him any time. Would you?