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Thursday, October 1, 2020

Sweeping achievement by a Cardio vascular Scientist on the field !

Remember that Test no.2387 and then had to wait for more than 4 months for the historic test no. 2388  .. .. .. Cricket perhaps is back on its feet !  This post is on an exceptional women – a Cardiovascular Scientist !!

AT start of this year 2020, India toured  New Zealand and played two Tests, three One Day Internationals (ODIs) and five Twenty20 International (T20I) matches. The Test series formed part of the inaugural 2019–21 ICC World Test Championship.

India won the first three T20I matches to give them an unassailable lead in the series.  The third T20I was decided by a Super Over, after both teams made 179 runs from their twenty overs. This gave India their first T20I series win in New Zealand.  Kane Williamson was ruled out of the fourth T20I with a shoulder injury, with Tim Southee named as New Zealand's captain in Williamson's absence.  The fourth T20I was also tied, with India once again winning the match in the Super Over. India won the final T20I match to take the series 5–0, becoming the first side to whitewash another team in a five-match bilateral T20 series.

However,  New Zealand won all  the 3 ODI matches  making their first clean sweep against India in an ODI series with three or more matches. It was the first time that India were whitewashed in an ODI series since losing 5–0 to the West Indies in March 1989.  During the tour, New Zealand's Ross Taylor became the first cricketer to play in 100 matches in all three formats of international cricket. New Zealand won the first Test by ten wickets to record their 100th victory in Test match cricket. New Zealand won the second Test also  by seven wickets,[ taking the series 2–0, and extending their record of being undefeated at home to thirteen Test matches.

That was on Mar 2,2020 and then followed the lull, Cricket fans had to wait for  history to happen on 12th July 2020 ~   yes a test match happening after 4 months – amidst Covid and the touring West Indies emerging winners.  A significant win to Jason Holder and West Indies !  when the Series was contemplated, even die hard fans were not favour of matches being played at a time when the globe was surrounded with pain and anxiety.  However, ECB planned the matches within a biosecure bubble, with on-site hotels being their quarantine base. It clearly was an attempt to cash on media marketing, not on the game or the spectators but those who would watch the forecasts even when drowning under fear of Covid 19.   

There have been many matches since, after West Indies, Pakistan toured England and now Australia is playing.  Indian Premier League is set to begin in another 10 days’ time with matches being played at UAE. When Germany women took the field for the first T20I against Austria in Seebarn on August 12, it marked the return of women's internationals since the T20 World Cup final in March, but the series will be remembered more for all the records Germany broke along the way to a 5-0 win - two hat-tricks, the team's first T20I century, Germany's first T20I five-for, and their openers setting the highest unbeaten partnership for the first wicket across all T20Is. The sudden limelight was something the players weren't used to. The livestreams of these matches on YouTube gained over 85,000 views each, and their phones buzzed with notifications from across social media handles.

An Indian women more distinguished otherwise hit the headlines by taking 4 wickets in 4 balls in T20I .. ..  She is  Anuradha Doddaballapur, the Indian-born captain of the German national team, who took four wickets in four balls against Austria in Seebarn last month. The previous day, her team-mate Anne Bierwisch took a hat-trick against the same opponents, also in Seebarn.

Two bowlers have taken four wickets in four balls in men's T20I.  First  was Rashid Khan, for Afghanistan against Ireland in Dehradun in Feb 2019 and he was followed in Sept by Lasith Malinga, for Sri Lanka against New Zealand in Pallekele. Malinga has also achieved this feat in one-day internationals - against South Africa in Providence (Guyana) during the 2007 World Cup.

There's a running joke in our team," says Anuradha Doddaballapur, the Germany women's captain. "The minimum qualification to make it to our women's national side is a master's degree."  Former Karnataka player Doddaballapur is a cardiovascular scientist, and fits right in in a team mostly comprising highly qualified academics. "The balance between science and cricket has been a difficult one, but I've never felt like giving up one for the other," says the 33-year-old. "To have a world record to your name while you're able to do the work you want to do is something I am grateful for." Her 5 for 1 in the fourth T20I against hosts Austria made her the first woman to take four wickets in four balls in T20Is.

Doddaballapur is a medium-pacer, but the record came when she decided to bring herself on as a spinner in the 15th over. She says she wanted to put the onus on the batter to generate all the power herself. "The hat-trick ball was quite exciting because we had had one the day before," Doddaballapur says. That was Germany women's first ever hat-trick, taken by Anne Bierwisch. It was quite the day for records; in the second T20I, earlier on the 13th, Emma Bargna had taken Germany women's first five-for. "The fourth ball - nothing special, really," Doddaballapur remembers. "It was all about going through the over. In fact, my reaction after the four-for was so normal that I wished I were aware it was a world record, so I could have reacted more enthusiastically!"

A native of Basavanagudi in Bengaluru, India, Doddaballapur was drawn to sport by her father's love of Test cricket. She remembers being charmed by Sachin Tendulkar's batting, before a "zinc-smeared" Allan Donald's bowling action made her a fan. At the suggestion of a friend 12-year-old Doddaballapur got into the Karnataka women players' organised training group in 1998-99. The group was overseen by former India captain Shantha Rangaswamy and batter Kalpana Venkatachar. Back then, women's cricket in India was still nearly eight years from coming under the BCCI's purview. Her Karnataka career came to an end with her decision to move to the UK in 2008 to get a masters in Medical Genetics at Newcastle University after finishing a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Biotechnology at Bengaluru's New Horizon College. But it was far from the end for her cricket-wise. "I enrolled myself at a cricket club in Newcastle. A few county coaches noticed me there and I ended up playing a few seasons for the Northumberland women's county side, one for my university and three for my local club, the South North Cricket Club."

An offer to pursue a PhD in Cardiovascular Biology at the Goethe University in Frankfurt came by in 2011. Given Germany's prominence as a hub of biomedical research, the decision to relocate was not too difficult. "But I knew I could live away from cricket only that long," says Doddaballapur, "so after a year of getting used to life in Frankfurt, I started looking up cricket clubs in the city." She could only find one, the Frankfurt Cricket Club (FCC), and it did not have a women's team. So she decided to play on the FCC men's team for the 2013 and 2014 seasons. She also represented the Cologne women's team in the country's primary leather-ball inter-region tournament, Bundesliga, from 2013 to 2015, and during that time helped lay the foundation for a women's club in Frankfurt.

Meanwhile, a maiden call-up to a national squad training camp in Berlin came in the spring of 2013. Her debut for Germany in the T20 European tournament followed in August that year. In 2014-15, Doddaballapur and another Frankfurt-based player set up an FCC women's club, which has since 2016 fielded a team in the Bundesliga. A further step up in her cricketing career came in 2017, when was handed the captaincy of the national team. Last year she also picked up an ECB Level 2 certification, along with 14 other coaches in the country, four of them women.

"The principles of coaching here are slightly different," says Doddaballapur, breaking down a process she describes as unconventional.  Doddaballapur is looking to continue contributing to both cricket and science "until I tire out - which I hope never happens". And she hopes her record five-for and Germany's series win helps put the women's national team on the world map. "Ours was the first women's international series after the Covid-19 hiatus," says Doddaballapur. "The ICC did a bit of promotion, reaching out to us for photos for social media - which doesn't happen often for Associate teams, so I'm grateful that Austria successfully staged the series. Our matches were live-streamed, meaning that, aside from the England v Pakistan series, people could watch ours too. The response on social media has been great, and I hope our performance - both individually and as a team - further helps kindle interest in Germany women."

Hats off to this great Women Cricketing Doctor !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar


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