Interview: Karthika Vijayaraghavan

The August 2020 T20 International series between Austria and Germany gave a unique opportunity to view some talented players we don’t normally get to see. One of those, Germany’s wicket keeper Karthika Vijayaraghavan.

Born in Tamilnadu, India in 1988, Karthika has been living in Germany for five years after meeting husband Vijayaraghavan in India and moving straight after marriage.

All new world, different language.  Took 6 months to learn the language and find work. I work as an Application Developer for a private Health insurance company in Stuttgart.

Karthika played cricket as a youngster, like we all do.

Only played cricket as a kid on the streets. No professional background but I was a basketball player back in India. Yes, I know I am just 5’2 but played point guard for 14 years.

Cricket was only a hobby in Germany in 2017.

In a few months we had some senior players, Monika and the German coach come in for selections. I was in just for my batting and quick reflexes while fielding. Was then called for practice games and then made it to the team just as a batter and fielder.

This is only a couple of years back. The German coach, Michael Thewlis, noticed something about this player and suggested she might take up wicket keeping.

Before the European World T20 qualifiers Michael our coach on Jan 2019 just threw the keeper gloves at me and said your reflexes are great. You have 2 months to prove that you can keep. I took that challenge.

Wicket keepers are not created in two months! We all know they are born, not made. How does one pick up the finer points of wicket keeping in Germany in 2019?

I watched a lot of YouTube videos and yes I took over the wicketkeeping gloves and kept for all the games in Spain for Germany during the T20I Qualifiers. Then came Oman and did well there as well, kept for all the games.

She lists her influences as Sarah Taylor, Adam Gilchrist, MS Dhoni and one from many years back.

I have been learning a lot from the videos of Jack Russell. My coach Michael got me hooked to him. What a legend, what a keeper.

If you get the opportunity to see Karthika’s wicket keeping, you will be as impressed as I was. Ever alert, game aware and seizes the chances that come her way. But there’s also another secret to her success.

Without the support of my husband Vijayaraghavan, I wouldn’t be playing cricket at all. He coaches me in parallel.

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