India’s latest young cricket sensation, the 17-year old Shafali Verma has made a name for herself in the shortest format of the game and is widely considered to be one of the most promising talents in women’s T20 cricket today. Verma was the highest run-getter for India in the World T20 in Australia in 2020 where she scored 163 runs in 5 innings at a strike rate of 158.25 playing a pivotal role with the bat in taking India to the final.
In an interview with ESPN Cricinfo, Verma spoke about how she developed her game against quick and short-pitched bowling and how she constantly wants to evolve as a T20 batman.
“My target has been to take lessons from every series and keep improving as a cricketer. After the T20 World Cup I worked on my skills, fitness, and choosing the right deliveries to play. I felt I did better there in the South Africa series. I could sense some improvement in my fielding as I had focused on working out and strengthening my body during last year’s lockdown,” quoted Verma.
Verma is currently the number one ranked T20I batter in women’s cricket and for good measure. She has scored 617 runs in 22 matches for India at a stunning strike rate of 148.31. Her style of batting and domination at the top of the order has helped her to show her skills in far-off lands – she has earned deals with the Hundred in the UK and the Women’s Big Bash league in Australia. Verma has also earned a call to the national ODI and Test units for the upcoming tour of England. She was in great form in the series against South Africa scoring 130 runs at a strike rate of 156.63.
One of the aspects of her game she has improved a lot has been her ability to play the bouncer and Verma spoke about the hardwork she put in to improve against the short-pitched delivery.
“If you try to get better at something and get complacent after trying just once, it never works out. I chalked out a plan and played 150 bouncers at a time, then rested for a bit and faced more bouncers. I focused on practising the same thing over and over again.”
Verma also stated that she benefited a lot from the Ranji camp of the Haryana Men’s Team facing bowlers who would bowl up to a speed of 140 kms per hour in the nets.
“I feel that I benefited a great deal from that Ranji camp. My back-foot game was a bit weak earlier, but facing the Ranji bowlers, who would come in at around 140kph, has helped better my technique and confidence on that front,” added Verma.