Can you please start by telling us how you first got into cricket?
I’m from a family of cricketers, my grandma (Judith Bargna) played for England when she was a teenager and my mom used to play in England. When I was 10 years old she introduced me to a youth team in Munich and I played there and learned the basics of how to bowl, how to bat, throw and catch for about 6 months. However, the team then collapsed because the coaches couldn’t take on that sort of responsibility, such as teaching so many younger players and also having jobs so that had to stop.
As I wasn’t old enough yet to play for the women’s team, I stopped for about 2 years.. but in between that I used to play in the garden and on the beach and everything. So then when I was 12, my mom noticed that there were younger children and younger girls playing for the Munich women’s team. So she decided it would be a good idea for me to go to a training session and see if I liked it, and I did obviously and I’ve been playing ever since.
Can you please describe your journey into the German women’s national team or the German Golden Eagle’s as you like to call it.
when I had played for a year for Munich when I was 13, I was invited to go to a national team development weekend, which was potential players training for a weekend with the national team. About 6 months later they (the national team) were going on a tour to England and I was in England at the time and they asked if I’d like to come play some matches and I said yes, so I played two matches for the Golden Eagles in England. A year later we went to La Manga in Spain.
I wasn’t initially chosen for the senior squad because I was too young, because I was only 14 at the time, so I wasn’t chosen to play, but then Anu the captain, she had a back injury and she had to be operated on and she couldn’t play. I was asked if I’d like to come and play instead and I said yes, obviously, and then I was asked if I’d be ok to open the bowling, which I did and then I took the first wicket for the Golden Eagles in and ICC match and I’ve been playing for them ever since.
Can you please briefly take us through the women’s domestic cricket structure in Germany and how this leads into national pathways?
We have 3 leagues in Germany, the south, the west and the north league and each league has 4 or 5 teams in it. Those teams play two matches against every other team in the league. The winners of each league would go on to the semi-finals and then that would go onto the finals and then the winner of the finals is obviously the champion of Germany for that year. For the national pathways, there’s usually at least one national player in a team and if another player in the squad has the potential to play for Germany, they’ll (existing national players will) suggest it to Monika the manager, Anu the captain, or even Michael who coaches.
How do you balance your cricket commitments with school-work and having a social life as a teenager?
It is very hard to do because before Covid I was away every weekend for cricket and I was getting very bad grades in school because I wasn’t doing any work because I was playing cricket all the time. I didn’t really have much of a social life either because everything I was invited to, I always declined, because I wasn’t there. But now, I’m kind of trying to focus on school more and I’m not committing as much time to cricket as I’d like to because, going into my final year, I really have to get the grades that I need if I want to go to university and I want to achieve things that aren’t just cricket. And I think, socially I’m also trying to do more things with people that I’ve been kind of neglecting when I was playing cricket.
How have you found adjusting to a high-performance environment at a young age?
I think because we all kind of went and played our first ICC matches together as a team, it wasn’t as if I was an outsider coming into a high-performance ICC team. It was like we were all going through everything together and trying to figure it all out as a team. And I think that’s really helped, because everybody’s kind of felt support from everybody else, because we knew.. we weren’t just alone trying to figure everything out, trying to figure out what to say, what to do, everybody was helping each other and doing everything together.
Has guidance from senior players and coaches been an important part of you being integrated into a high performance environment?
Yes, so I would think It has been very helpful, especially from the coaches and manager because they’re not in the team and trying to figure it out themselves, they are kind of helping the players as well and they’re always there if anyone needs anything, if anyone needs to talk and obviously, they are not the only ones, you can talk to anyone in the team to ask for support or advice or anything
What does a typical week look like for you during the cricket season. Especially balancing it with school
Usually, I would play and train on a Wednesday, a Sunday and maybe even a Friday afternoon and then at the weekends I would be away playing in the league or having a national team weekend or even doing like a coaching course. So I think during the week I’d really have to work on school and social life, and then at the weekends it would all be focused on cricket and going different places and playing different things, doing everything.
What do you most enjoy about the game, as we all know, enjoyment is one of the most important parts of sport.
I really like that even though it’s a team sport, everybody is also playing for themselves and trying to get their own personal best and working towards goals. Like you know, getting wickets, scoring runs, you’re doing that for yourself, but you’re also doing that so that the team can win.
During last year’s series against Austria, I’m sure you got asked this many times, but you were the first German international player male or female, to take a 5-wicket haul in a Twenty20 international. This is an amazing achievement. Can you please talk us through this moment?
The match before, I had 3 wickets I think, so the next match everybody was telling me that I should get a 5-for before the match started, but I didn’t know what it meant because I’ve never seen anyone get one or I’d never gotten one. So I was really confused as to what was happening, so I was just playing as normal and I got a wicket on my first and third ball in my first over, I was like ‘wow this is going well!’, so I kept bowling and I got 5 in 4 overs and everyone was so excited and running up to me and telling me I’d gotten a 5-for and I was like ‘what’s going on?’
I was so confused, I didn’t know what to do and they (my teammates) were like ‘hold the ball up to the camera’ and I was like ‘ok, I’m just going to do it, I don’t know what’s going on!’ and then like halfway through the match, it hit me and I was like ‘ohh that’s what they meant, I get it now’ so then afterwards, we were all celebrating and I was really happy but before it happened, I didn’t know what was going on and what they were telling me to do and anything
Are there any international tournaments coming up for the German Golden Eagle’s?
We have one in July, we are playing against France at our cricket center in Krefeld near Düsseldorf and we are playing 5 matches against them I think and we’ve kind of been like training weekends, starting to build up the training, working towards playing again and because the clubs have started to be able to train again on weekends and everything, it’s been really nice to get back into the gist of everything and work towards playing again
Do you have world cup qualifiers coming up?
We do as well yea, we’ve also been working towards that. We have online training sessions every Monday and Thursday as well, which are more fitness sessions to make sure everyone is keeping fit and keeping up with each other socially as well, so we’re working towards that as well
Do you have any memorable or funny off-field moments with your teammates that you would like to share?
When we were in Oman in February 2020, my roommate,, Toni and I, decided it would be really funny to prank the vice-captain Tina. We decided to call her hotel room phone using google translate in and we put this message in saying that ‘you’ve spent 16 euros in data while in Oman and you have to pay it or your data plan will be suspended’. So we called her and played this automated voice message so she wouldn’t recognize our voices or anything, but Tina wasn’t the one to pick up, it was a different player and she panicked and she told the rest of the team what had happened and asked everyone if everybody else had gotten it and Toni and I obviously told them that we did so that we wouldn’t seem suspicious.
everybody found it hilarious (when they found out) and they thought it was great, because Toni and I, we’re the quiet ones being the two youngest, we’re really quiet and we don’t talk as much and we don’t really make as many jokes, and the fact we’d done this was pretty great and was really funny.
Rapid Fire Round:
Favourite school subject.
Philosophy. I love philosophy, I could go on about it for hours. I could tell you about every philosopher and all their theories, I love it.
If you had any superpower, what would it be?
Oh, to teleport, I hate waking up early. I just think getting to school on time for once would be nice
If you could have dinner with any famous person, who would it be?
Favourite hobby apart from cricket?
I like to paint.
If you could spend a day in the shoes of any sporting hero, who would you choose?
Oh I think Anya Shrubsole. She was the first bowler I ever watched take wickets when I was about 12, I loved her.
We recently caught up with 16 year old right-arm off-spinner, Emma Bargna, an upcoming young star of the German Women's National Team or 'German Golden Eagles'. Stay tuned to learn more about her impressive journey thus far.