Shafali Verma wants to make it count

Telegraph India

Telegraph India

Author 2019-09-19 06:05:00

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Sachin Tendulkar took the cricketing world by storm in 1989 when he made his India debut at 16. Now, three decades later, another 15-year-old has similar dreams.

Shafali Verma, only 15 years old, has her eyes set on a successful international journey after being selected for India women’s T20I squad for the upcoming home series against South Africa. Coming from a humble family in Rohtak, she is determined to make it big.

Uncapped Shafali also has big shoes to fill — that of Mithali Raj who announced her retirement from the shortest format a few weeks ago. But the girl has enough confidence and conviction to make her mark.

“If I get a chance to play in any of the coming T20Is, I need to ensure I cash in on it… Kuchh kar ke dikhau aur team mein apni jagah banaake rakhu (Need to do something worthwhile and cement my place in the team),” Shafali told The Telegraph from the NCA in Bangalore.

“As for coming in place of someone of Mithali’s stature, I’ll try my best to fill the void left by her departure… Aur kabhi unki kami mehsoos nahi hone du (And never let her absence be felt)…”

The India-South Africa women’s five T20Is are scheduled from September 24-October 4 in Surat.

Shafali’s talent was spotted three years ago by BCCI treasurer Anirudh Chaudhry during a practice session at the Lahli Stadium in Haryana. She then rocked the domestic T20 circuit for Haryana during the 2018-19 Senior Women’s Inter-state T20 tournament, smashing 128 off 56 balls against Nagaland.

“It’s indeed a matter of pride for us that Shafali has been included in the Indian team at such a young age,” Chaudhry said.

“She is very hardworking and dedicated. I believe a few years down the line, she will be one of the names to watch out for.”

Shafali also impressed in the Women’s T20 Challenge in May, with Danielle Wyatt — England batswoman and her teammate at Velocity — lauding her ability to hit big shots at the top of the order and hailing her as a future Indian superstar.

“I got a lot of support from Dani Wyatt, especially, during those T20 matches. She had some very good words for me,” Shafali said.

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