On July 3, 2020, as pacer Sultan Sherzad Shah ran in to bowl the final delivery of the ECS T10 Kummerfeld League, KSV Cricket's wicketkeeper Sharanya Sadarangani wore a wide smile on her face, for her team were due to be crowned champions of the tournament.
After the final delivery from Shah, Sharanya had her arms aloft and had one more reason to celebrate on the day - she was celebrating her 25th birthday, and it was no surprise that she was the centre of attraction post the victory.
As for her own emotions, lofting the trophy high up in the air was a result of having poured blood, sweat and tears into the sport, having taken to the game at a very young age. From cuts, flicks and drives on the streets of Bengaluru in India to keeping wickets for her club in Germany, Sharanya's journey is nothing short of a fairy tale.
Sharanya found a liking for the sport at a very young age, and with talent to back her love for cricket, there was nothing to stop her from carving out a career in the sport.
Right from her schooling days, Sharanya fine-tuned her skills under the watchful guidance of renowned coaches Irfan Sait and Nasir at the Karnataka Institute of Cricket (KIOC).
Her consistent performances earned a couple of stints with the U-16 and U-19 Karnataka state teams and notably, she even played a few matches under the stewardship of current Indian women's team cricketer, Veda Krishnamurthy.
Stint with Essex
After the completion of her Pre-University degree with Jain College in Bengaluru, Sharanya shifted to Essex in England to pursue a Bachelors in Liberal Arts degree.
And, it was no surprise that Sharanya fit right into the Essex women's cricket team during her years of stay in England. A couple of years later, with the fire of cricket burning bright inside her, Sharanya's shift to Germany for another educational degree brought with it yet another cricket contract, this time with the DCB (Deutscher Cricket Bund).
"I shifted to Germany to pursue another degree. It was easy for me to find a team here because only nine days into my arrival in Germany, I had already found a club close to my place. Monika Loveday (Vice-President of DCB) helped me settle in. I am currently a teacher here, I teach 7th, 8th, and 9th standard kids English and cricket!," said Sharanya in an exclusive interview with Sportskeeda.
Sharanya's now into her third year of playing cricket in Germany, and given her background of having grown amidst the love for cricket in India, the 25-year-old feels her prior knowledge of the game has worked in her favour.
And, Sharanya was more than just pleased that the ECS T10 Kummerfeld League was broadcast across the world, which gave her family the opportunity to watch her play live, after a gap of many years.
“It was great that the T10 tournament was broadcast, I have been playing for some years now. This was a nice way for everyone back home to see me play after so many years, even my grandmother watched me play," said a beaming Sharanya.
‼️HISTORYMAKER! Sharanya Sadarangani sets the standard becoming the first female cricketer to play in Dream11 European Cricket Series‼️👇https://t.co/OKl2v5hcz5@Dream11 @FanCode @Cricket_Germany pic.twitter.com/EpR00iVd4p— European Cricket (@EuropeanCricket) June 29, 2020
The 25-year-old talented cricketer was also effusive in praise for the diverse cultures in the KSV Cricket team, which she felt was a real striking feature of their side in the tournament.
"No other team had the cultural diversity like we did. Our captain Izatullah Dawlatzai played for the Afghanistan national side, Mussadiq Ahmed played first-class cricket in Pakistan as well. Finn brought his own experience into the team, and it was always great to have some feminine presence in the side!" she added.
Sharanya Sadarangani's playing days with the Denmark women's cricket team
Over the last five years of her life, Sharanya has plied her trade not only in Germany, but in Denmark as well. Notably, she was a part of the Denmark women's senior team, having initially turned out for her husband's previous club - Husum CC.
In 2014, Sharanya was in England for a league stint with a local club, a competition in which she got to meet one of her cricketing idols, Sarah Taylor.
“I went and played in a league competition last year in England. Sarah Taylor was playing for Sussex, and I was in the Essex team's squad. Throughout the match, I was fan-girling her!" Sharanya added.
With big leagues such as the Women's Big Bash League, Kia Super League providing a platform for talented cricketers to make a name and exhibit their talent, Sharanya is keeping an optimistic approach towards a potential contract in a franchise-based tournament.
Germany women cricket team's steady rise over the last 12 months
2019 was a memorable year for the Germany women cricket team, given that the team made its debut in an ICC tournament. However, rather unfortunately, they lost to Netherlands and Scotland but the learnings were far more important than the exit from the competition.
In February this year, the Germany team brought its A-game to the fore and clinched four T20I wins against Oman, climbing up from the 42nd rank to 27th at the end of the series.
And, while she feels her team has done well to adapt to the shorter formats of the game, organising Test match cricket for the Germany women's team might only be akin to building castles in the air.
"I think I'd say yes and no (to Germany needing to play Test cricket). Yes because it will be great for the overall development of the team but no because there aren’t too many games which stretch beyond 90 minutes in Europe. So basically you might not have too many people watching it," Sharanya said.
Having shaped her style around one of her role models, Australian great Adam Gilchrist, Sharanya claims that she's happy to spread her knowledge of the game to her teammates in the Germany women's cricket team.
“The German women’s cricket team is not quite like the men’s team, about 70% of the our team’s composition consists of native players. So a background from having played in India certainly helps. In fact, the captain of our team is also from Bengaluru, and we played for KIOC as well! It certainly is a small world," she added.
Having enjoyed a storied journey so far in a career that has lasted little more than a decade, Sharanya hopes that the ICC will also cater to the needs of women's cricket in the foreseeable future.
Our players are back in group training, for the first time in 5 months! Today the players from the western region met up in Frankfurt and worked hard for 5 hours got get the cricket feeling back 🇩🇪🏏🦅#nottoolate #change #dontputitdown pic.twitter.com/uZ7T3oLKUx— German Women's Cricket (@GoldenEagles_DE) July 11, 2020
And, as for Germany's win over Oman, Sharanya considers that series win as a watershed moment in the country's cricketing history, with an eye out on hopefully seeing her team bringing many more laurels.
"Hopefully we get a lot more games under our belt in the near future. We were the 42nd ranked team and now, after beaten Oman, we are 27th. Hopefully we will get to play more matches and against some tough opponents as well. As for my goals, I would love to make the playing XI of the national side and score a lot more runs," Sharanya added.
More importantly though, Sharanya, through her journey has elucidated that dreams, despite seeming ludicrous at times, do come true.
In fact, not many, including the wicket-keeper, would've envisioned her playing cricket in Europe at a time when the continent is trying to carve a niche for itself in the cricketing circuit.
And, if any budding youngsters wish to seek inspiration to pursue their dream of cricket in Europe, one reckons that they might not find a better role model than Sharanya.
After all, where there is a will, there is a way, even if it means doing so from Bengaluru to Germany via Denmark and England.