Dietmar Hamann
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The Essentials

'I prefer fielding'

Footballer Dietmar Hamann on the cricket discipline he's partial to, and the first name on his T20 team sheet

Jack Wilson |

How did you fall in love with the game?
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 games through the years and met a few players. The whole sport is just great. It's a game of skill as well as strategy - especially Tests. That's why I enjoy watching it so much.

Have you ever swapped the football boots for cricket spikes? How did it go?
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!

Who is your favourite cricketer to watch?
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.

What is your all-time favourite cricket moment?
There are so many, it's impossible to pick one. I love watching Chris Gayle bat. Any innings he plays in the shorter form is great entertainment.

If you had to select a T20 XI, who would be the first name on the team sheet?
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.

If Franz Beckenbauer was a cricketer, how would he play?
I'd say he'd be a bit hot-headed at times - maybe like Ricky Ponting. He'd be technically gifted, silky-smooth, but with a bit of a temper about him. Exactly like Ponting.

Which of your old team-mates would be most likely to sledge in a cricket match?
Carra [Jamie Carragher]. He's never shy of a word or two on the pitch. He's a cricket fan too, so I'll go with him.

What is the one thing footballers could learn from cricketers?
Etiquette. 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.

Interview by Jack Wilson