Pune-born engineer ruling the cricket scenario in Germany

Talking about his friend Kedhar Jadhav, Pillai mentioned that he is more than happy for Jadhav’s success.

Rishi Pillai
(Photo Source: Zimbio)

The game of cricket is spreading its growth all over the world with each passing day. The latest example of the same is Germany, where cricket seems to be a developing sport in the recent days. Germany, a country dominated by football is accepting Cricket as a sport and the credit goes to a huge number of refugees moving in from Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Middle East.

Much to everyone’s surprise, the top lad in the German national cricket team hails from India. Going by the name of Rishi Pillai, a Pune-born boy is currently the skipper of the team who was also a teammate of Indian international Kedhar Jadhav when he used to play tennis ball cricket.

Also a mechanical engineer, Pillai shifted his base to Germany in 2004 in order to engage himself in higher studies in MSc Mechatronics from Aachen University of Applied Science, Aachen.

What he had to say:

According to Rishi, leading a contrary German side of mixed potential is a tough job but exciting at the same point.

“The players are from different nationalities and backgrounds and I need to connect with each player to understand them and get the best out of them,” said Pillai, who once trained under Maharashtra coach Surendra Bhave. “The hardest part is to motivate yourself and the team to do well since there is no incentive for success. It is mind boggling to think people would do this for a cricket game. The amount of work they put in is phenomenal.” said Rishi.

Rishi made it to the German national side going through a long process. He started playing tennis ball cricket in the country and then went on to represent one of the top clubs there with the help of a friend named Salman, whom he had impressed with his cricketing skills.

“I didn’t even know cricket was played in Germany when I landed here in 2004, but I played for Heerlen Cricket Club (about 20 minutes from Aachen near the Netherlands border) in the Dutch league for three years,” he said. “My foray into German cricket was pure coincidence. Initially, we staged India vs Pakistan tennis ball matches in Aachen. It was generally good fun. The Pakistani team had a fast bowler named Salman, who was a very good cricketer. One day, I happened to score some runs off him and win a game. After the match, Salman asked me if I would be interested in playing for Koeln Cricket Club. I grabbed the opportunity. I have been with Koeln CC since 2008. It is one of the most successful clubs in Germany with 15 state championships and two national championships. I have been fortunate enough to lead the club side for the past nine years. That’s how it all started.”

“The introduction of the Super Series changed a lot of things for the better, especially in terms of the approach of players and preparation for international tournaments,” Pillai said. “The six playing regions (states) showcase their best players in this tournament. The national team is picked based on performances in this tournament. We are on the right path, but significant investments are required to boost the development of the game.” added Rishi.

Talking about his friend Kedhar Jadhav, Pillai mentioned that he is more than happy for Jadhav’s success. He also highlighted the fact that Jadhav continues to play with the same approach he had when he played tennis ball cricket. Pillai pointed out the their wives also know each other very well as they were school mates.


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