In a series of interviews, TME looks to explore cricket in Germany and the individuals responsible for the growth of the game in the most unlikely of countries.
At 27 years of age, Stephanie Frohnmayer has been involved in the game of cricket longer than most players in the European region. She has risen through the ranks to become the captain of the German national women's team. In doing so she has developed into a leading all-rounder with systematic swing bowling and top order batting. Stephanie is one of the true representatives of just how much the sport of cricket has progressed in Europe. She is currently completing her medical degree in Austria but took some time to speak to The Munich Eye about her cricketing adventures.
You are currently the captain of the German national women's team and a leading all rounder in the European region. How did you get involved in the game and where did it all start for you?
To be honest, as it so often is, it started with a boy I fancied. He played cricket and the idea of spending time with him while playing an interesting sport sounded nice. An English teacher at our school in Tegernsee provided extracurricular cricket training, so I joined up. I ended up liking cricket more than the boy so I carried on playing and here I am today.
Was it difficult learning the game?
Initially, I think if you have a good understanding of sports, it is easy to learn enough to start playing. If you really want to understand all the rules, become technically better and want to play professionally, then it takes time, as is the case in every sport.
Germany is not known for its cricket per say. How much has the game changed since you started playing?
Something I have noticed since I started playing is that cricket is no longer an unknown sport. Rarely do I get asked: Cricket - is that not the game with the horses and the tall rackets? It has actually developed as a national sport, one which people can relate to and understand. Even the last world championships were broadcasted in Germany, which was a first. I guess the biggest development has occurred in women's cricket. We did not have a women's team before and now we have one that is competing internationally and enjoying success too. When I started, I was the only girl at the club. Now we have three. I had wondered whether there were any other girls playing cricket in Germany and now we have several teams across the country, all of which include friendly and enthusiastic players.
What does the future of the game hold both in Germany and Europe?
As an eager country with a lot of potential for the sport, Germany will hopefully develop into a cricketing nation competing at the highest level and one supported by a lot of youngsters and a population eager to follow their team on TV or even in the stadium! I hope that more and more grounds are built, so that cricket can be integrated into communities and schools. As for Europe, I hope cricket displaces football and becomes the most popular sport. I want to watch cricket on TV!
How often are training sessions and games in the women's setup?
Every girl trains separately with the local club and once a year we all meet up for a big training camp. It is very important to have this week of training because the game is very different when there are only girls playing.
Do you follow international cricket a lot?
Not as much as I would like to.
What have been your favourite moments of playing cricket?
I really enjoy the mentality of the sport. It's brilliant when a couple of teams come together and have fun playing, chatting and partying together. What I enjoy the most is when our team really makes a collective effort and every player is involved and performs. Two years ago, the German national women's team won the international tournament in Belgium, beating Hungary in a breathtaking final. We only won because of our teamwork and our spirit. Everybody worked together as well as individually and everybody was so excited! I loved that moment!
What are your ambitions for your cricketing career?
I still dream of playing more international cricket. I want to compete with girls my age and enjoy the sport for as long as I can. I hear the oldest cricket player Jim Hutchinson became 103-years-old recently. Hopefully, I can look towards another couple of exciting years!
What does German cricket need to keep on growing?
We definitely need more passionate people investing in the youth. We ought to make the leap for the next generation in order to continue with our development in clubs and schools. The game has to be promoted so that we can sustain it as part of our culture.
Who is your favourite cricketing hero?
I like Kumar Sangakkara. I once saw him play. He has the fastest reactions ever and I enjoy watching him play the game. Charlotte Edwards is another favourite of mine. She is a firm and intuitive captain as well as being awesome with the bat. I also like Ellyse Perry. She's the best medium pace bowler around!