Meet the Wildcats - Kari Carswell
In the third edition of 'Meet the Wildcats' Gary Heatly features player/coach, and all-round women's cricketing maestro, Kari Anderson/Carswell.
When Kari Anderson went to a summer camp at Stirling County when she was in primary six at school little did she realise it would start a love affair with the sport of cricket that would span the next two decades and more.
Indeed Anderson - who is now player/coach of the Scotland Women’s squad that are getting ready to head to Thailand this month and who also goes by her married name of Carswell at times - only attending the camp because her brothers were going.
And she has never looked back, having earned over 100 full Scotland caps - and being one of only two players - along with Kathryn White - to have done so to date.
The 33-year-old said: “I think what I really liked about the sport of cricket from the off was that it was a team game, but within that game individuals get to show off their own skills in the batting, bowling and fielding facets.
“I think it is great that on any given day anyone can be the one scoring the runs, taking the wickets or taking that amazing catch and it means that everyone is involved all the time.
“You also make great friendships for life and get to travel to other clubs and, if you are lucky, other countries, so it is just something I got hooked on.”
After that summer camp, Anderson continued with her cricket - at Stirling County and Dollar Academy, a short spell with Grange Ladies and with various Scotland sides - before heading to university.
During her degree she had done a lot of coaching work and a result on her return from Northumbria she got involved as a cricket development officer in the Stirling and Forth Valley area.
At the same time as her career on one side of the boundary was progressing it was also going well on the other side of the rope and the Scotland caps were coming thick and fast.
“As I had played cricket from a young age and earned Scotland caps at a young age by the time I came back from university I was captain of the national side,” Anderson said.
“I was still only in my early 20s, but I felt quite experienced as a player and as a coach and I wanted to try and pass on that knowledge to others around me.
“The game was always progressing and that excited me and we were starting to get more and more girls playing the game, but we had to get the structure right so that they would carry on playing and could also move on and play at a higher level.”
Things moved on apace from there and around four years ago she was appointed as the first ever Women’s cricket manager at Cricket Scotland.
Anderson continued: “I think in the last four years the structure has started to improve and a lot more clubs and schools are embracing women’s cricket and also giving it the coaching resources that it requires.
“That, aided by the improvement of the age-grade teams, has seen more and more quality young players coming through to the full team and you can see by the squad that is going to Thailand just some of the exciting talent there is.”
With her various cricketing roles to fulfil Anderson admits life can be busy, but she would not have it any other way.
The player/coach post is never an easy one to pull off, but she has great support from the other coaching staff and skipper Abbi Aitken and still loves being out on the field.
Anderson concluded: “I cannot wait for the Thailand trip, we have all been working really hard and will be going out there to give it our best shot.”
You can follow the Scotland team's progress in the run up and during the competition on Twitter: @Wildcatscricket