'God-gifted' Shafali Verma proves she is here to stay
Shafali Verma went on to smash an eye-catching 96 off 152 deliveries in her debut test innings yesterday and proved to critics that she could adapt to the longer formats as well.
Shafali Verma has been tipped as the one to watch out for in the Indian women's circuit for a long time. Ever since she came to the limelight with a couple of breezy innings in the Women's T20 Challenge or Women's IPL, and has since gone on to establish herself as the first choice opener for India in T20Is and is currently ranked World Number 1 in the format.
While Shafali is yet to make her ODI debut, the 17-year-old made her test debut when the one-off test match between India and England women kicked at the County Cricket Ground in Bristol on 16th June 2021.
Much like the success she has enjoyed in her short international career so far, the Haryana girl went on to smash an eye-catching 96 off 152 deliveries in her debut test innings yesterday and proved to critics that she could adapt to the longer formats as well.
Having started playing cricket only in 2016 when she was 12-years-old, Shafali was drafted into the Haryana under-19 team in the same year and used to hit even the senior Ranji team bowlers of Haryana with relative ease.
"Shafali joined our academy in 2016 when she was 12 – since she was quite small, we put her in a group that comprised of kids aged 12 and 13 and within 15-20 days of joining the academy, she made quick progress, and we decided to put her in the group comprising senior players like under-19, under-21 and above. She looked at ease facing the senior bowlers and was selected for the Haryana under-19 team in 2016. She was unperturbed by the prospect of facing senior men's team bowlers like Ashish Hooda and Aman Kumar and used to hit them like a seasoned campaigner," Shafali's coach Ashwani Kumar had said to The Bridge in March 2020.
The coach had then stated that his ward was god-gifted and that she will go on to become a very big asset for the Indian team in future.
"I would say she is god-gifted, and along with that, she picked on learnings from her stint at the academy. With age on her side, she will be a big asset for the Indian women's cricket team," Kumar had then said about Shafali.
Well, Ashwani Kumar's statement about his student seems to be well on the mark. Shafali is surely gifted. The way the youngster negated the threat posed by the likes of Katherine Brunt and Anya Shrubsole rather easily and scored at a steady pace during her debut test innings at Bristol was a testament to that.
While people had doubts about her potential in the longest format, Shafali, yesterday, made sure that all that was put to rest. She took her time, settled in, and made sure that she made her opportunity count.
God-gifted or not, Shafali Verma is here to stay!