Melbourne, Mar.18 (ANI): A new book about 20th-century reporting has revealed that future Nazi regime dictator Adolf Hitler raised his own cricket team to play some British prisoners of war during the First World War.
According to the book's author, John Simpson, Hitler declared the sport "unmanly" and tried to rewrite the laws of the game.
Simpson's cites the piece as appearing in the Daily Mirror in 1930.
He says that Oliver Locker-Lampson, an MP, decorated wartime veteran, right-wing zealot and fervent admirer of Hitler wrote the article.
It was published under the headline "Adolf Hitler As I Know Him" on September 30, 1930, as the Nazis' brutal rise to power gathered pace.
According to The Times, Locker-Lampson describes how in 1923, shortly after the Munich putsch, he met some British officers who had been prisoners of war in southern Germany during the First World War.
By coincidence Hitler, then a lance corporal in the German Army, was recovering from his wounds in a nearby hospital.
"He had come to them one day and asked whether he might watch an eleven of cricket at play so as to become initiated into the mysteries of our national game," writes Locker- Lampson.
"They welcomed him, of course, and wrote out the rules for him in the best British sport-loving spirit."
According to Locker-Lampson, Hitler returned a few days later, having assembled his own team, and challenged the British to a "friendly match".
As Simpson points out, Locker-Lampson infuriatingly failed to inform his readers who won, but we can assume that the British POWs thrashed Hitler's XI, because he immediately declared the game insufficiently violent for German Fascists.
According to Locker-Lampson, Hitler had an ulterior motive for wanting to play the game:
"He desired to study it as a possible medium for the training of troops off duty and in times of peace." He also wanted the game to be Nazified.
"He had conned over [sic] the laws of cricket, which he considered good enough no doubt for pleasure-loving English people. But he proposed entirely altering them for the serious-minded Teuton."
Specifically, he "advocated the withdrawal of the use of pads. These artificial 'bolsters' he dismissed as unmanly and un-German ...in the end he also recommended a bigger and harder ball."
Locker-Lampson was not mocking Hitler. Far from it, he regarded Hitler's "essential improvements" to the English game as a mark of his greatness.
The British MP was the founder of the Sentinels of Empire, a blue-shirted group of right-wingers dedicated to fighting Bolshevism.
Like many upper-class Englishmen, he was besotted by Nazism, and the rest of the article is a dribbling paean of praise to Hitler.
Hitler's angry contempt for cricket, his attempt to invade the rules and alter them in his own image, and his inability to comprehend the complexities of the sport all point to one, inescapable conclusion: he was out for a golden duck. He only faced one ball. (ANI)