We know cricketer’s love for football. Many cricketers have their favourite football clubs. But, we are not much familiar with footballer’s love for cricket. English footballer like Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain love cricket, Columbian national Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospina found how difficult fast bowling is, he tried but fell badly on the ground. But, if the one well-known face in the English Premier League reveals his love for cricket then how it will be. Interesting! If the footballer belongs to none cricket playing nation.
German National, Dietmar Hamann, who was one of the protagonists of Germany’s 2002 World Cup final, started his club career in 1993 at Bayern Munich. Later, played for Liverpool, Manchester City and New Castle United. The Liverpool star Hamann won the 2005 UEFA champions league.
Hamann, who is also known as Didi Hamann, in an interview with Cricket Monthly, expressed his love for cricket, he said football can learn “etiquette” from cricket.
“Cricketers play the game in the right spirit. They clap hundreds and appreciate what the opposition do. Footballers shake hands at the end, but there’s just not as much spirit in the game. Everyone should shake everyone’s hands.”
In the year 2005, he had watched first international cricket as he became a witness of England’s 2005 Ashes win.
Asked how he fell in love with cricket, the defensive midfielder told that he became a big fan of cricket since the 2005 Ashes. “I’ve been a big fan since I’ve been in England. I watched the Ashes in 2005 and that’s what really caught my imagination. I’ve been to a few games throughout the years and met a few players. The whole sport is just great. It’s a game of skill as well as a strategy – especially Tests. That’s why I enjoy watching it so much.”
During his time in England, he once swapped his football boot with the spike of cricket as he became a friend of former England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff with whom he practiced cricket at Lancashire net. He revealed unknown facts as he tried to bat, but Flintoff’s quick bowling forced him to leave batting.
“Freddie Flintoff took me into the nets at Lancashire eight or nine years ago. He cranked the bowling machine up to 95mph to see what it would be like to face Brett Lee. I had a bat and a bowl and didn’t do too well. To be honest, I prefer fielding!”
Flintoff quit cricket, but Hamann’s love for the game grows with the years. He is a loyal friend of Flintoff, when asked who is your favourite cricketer, he did not think twice as he classified Flintoff as his favourite cricketer. But, did not hide his love for Jaques Kallis and Shane Watson.
“I used to love watching Freddie. I’ve always had a soft spot for the allrounders. To be able to do one skill well is a real talent, to do both is a truly great feat. I loved watching Jacques Kallis and enjoy seeing Shane Watson play too.”
However, his cricket moment his Chris Gayle bats in T20 cricket as “any innings he plays in the shorter form is great entertainment”. But, he said if he had chosen World T20 XI he will first select AB de Villiers as Gayle is getting older day by day.
“AB de Villiers He’s taking the game to a different level. Chris Gayle is not getting any younger and he can still do, but AB is something else.”
Hamann was asked if former World Cup winning German captain Franz Beckenbauer became a cricketer, how would he play. he told that the gifted footballer will play like “hot headed” former Australian captain Ricky Ponting. Talking about sledging, he said that his former teammate Jamie Carragher is suitable for his job as “he’s never shy of a word or two on the pitch. He’s a cricket fan too, so I’ll go with him”.