It seems Hitler had a flirtation with cricket after conversations about it
with prisoners-of-war he met while serving in the trenches. Although India
and Pakistan have occasionally roughed each other up, there has never been a
prolonged and serious war between two cricket-playing nations.
So had the genocidal maniac actually taken up the game, and propagated it in
the Fatherland, might we have avoided the Second World War and all its
Wouldn’t a calm afternoon in the Long Room have taken much of the sting out of
Adolf and given him that easy-going attitude that cricket-lovers tend to
have? (“For you, Tommy, ze innings is over!”) Instead, it was
Hitler, caught Roosevelt, bowled Churchill, and he didn’t see the ball
Um, yes. Absolutely.
Look, I have as much affection for cricket and faith in its healing powers as the cricket fan (unless that cricket fan is Andy Zaltzman, or – less amusingly – Simon Heffer). But seriously, it’s not like cricket is the reason India and Pakistan haven’t gone to war – it’s more like how they wage war without nukes. Why else would one of them produce Shoaib Akhtar and the other Sachin Tendulkar? Cruise missile bowling versus missile defence shield batting. That’s what it is.