Meet Anuradha Doddaballapur: Cardiovascular scientist, holder of cricket records too
Anuradha Doddaballapur shares a unique tag with Lasith Malinga and Rashid Khan.
She is a cardiovascular scientist. She is also the captain of the German women’s cricket team, since 2017. Meet Anuradha Doddaballapur, who on August 14, became the first woman bowler to take four wickets in four consecutive balls in an international cricket match. The only two other international cricketers with this unique achievement are bowlers Lasith Malinga and Rashid Khan.
“I know I am in esteemed company! A lot of people have congratulated me,” says Anuradha as she reveals that be it her family or friends “back home in India” or her “friends in England”, almost everyone has congratulated the all-rounder. “I am overwhelmed. Even those I who played cricket with, in Karnataka, few of them, got in touch and congratulated me,” she adds.
But while she loves playing cricket, and her recent achievement might suggest that playing cricket was what saw her move three countries, it wasn’t. “I started playing gully cricket with my elder brother, just like the rest of the kids. It was a friend of mine, when I was 12 years old, who coaxed me to take formal training. It was because of her that I started taking cricket seriously,” she says.
For 10 years, Anuradha played in India, representing her home state, Karnataka, , before she moved to England. “I moved to England to pursue my college education (Masters in Medical Genetics at Newcastle University). But, cricket doesn’t leave you. So I played for my university, and I later played county cricket as well. I think for two seasons,” she adds.
Her move to Germany, to pursue PhD, saw her land in Frankfurt, which “sadly” didn’t have a women’s team, then. So she started playing in the men’s league. “For two years, I played for the men’s team,” she says, adding, “while also playing in women’s team, in Cologne, which is almost two hours away from Frankfurt.”
While one would think playing for a club which is two hours away, along with being a scientist, would bring more than enough on one’s plate, it wasn’t enough for Anuradha. “I felt that if I have a chance to make this sport, which has contributed so much in making the person that I am today, then I should take that chance,” she says, explaining what drove her to earn coaching badges and help establish a women’s team in Frankfurt.
Breaking stereotypes comes naturally to Anuradha, ever since she was a kid. For example, even though she is from Karnataka, she confesses she is not a Rahul Dravid fan. “I am a Sachin (Tendulkar) fan. Sorry to break that bubble,” she quips. “He (Rahul Dravid) is classy and technically very sound. But I guess I was drawn to more hard hitting sort of batting,” she quips.
That also probably explains why, Anuradha wasn’t really deterred by the idea of playing alongside men. “When you play cricket, you don’t look at it as women’s cricket,” she says. All her inspirations are also, mostly men, because, as she points out, “women’s cricket” wasn’t televised when she was growing up. She is happy all that has changed.
“I love the Australian women Big Bash League, and I think the standard of cricket played there is really good. But, overall, it is really nice to see ICC promote women’s cricket so much,” she says.
And while she is happy that women’s cricket is being promoted, she hopes her achievement, also highlights that other countries are also, not just playing cricket, but equally capable of breaking records. “ I really hope that people also realise that there are countries who can make and break records as well. I mean, if you see, not just me, that entire series, our entire team made a few records,” she signs off.
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