India’s latest T20 sensation, the 17-year old Shafali Verma spoke about the encouragement given to her by the former Head Coach, WV Raman, senior cricketers like Smriti Mandhana and also some members of the Haryana Men’s Ranji Team. She also emphasized the importance of fitness and what she learnt from watching the IPL.
Verma is regarded as one of the fiercest hitters of the ball in T20 cricket and a specialist in hitting sixes. In an interview to ESPN Cricinfo, she stated that she has always been backed by her colleagues and support staff to play her natural attacking game.
“All of my team-mates, coaches and support staff encourage me to bat in my natural style. Whenever I don’t play a shot well, Smriti Mandhana points out the mistake and suggests how I could have approached the ball better, say, by timing it better or something else. She gives me sound feedback. We discuss a lot about what we think of each other’s batting," quoted Verma.
Verma was the toast of the T20 World Cup in Australia in 2020 where India eventually lost to the hosts in the final. She credited her coach, WV Raman for her brilliant performance Down Under in the tournament. Verma added that Raman always encouraged her to take calculated risks and go for the bowling.
“I worked with Raman for two years. He would back me to the hilt to bat the way I bat. ‘Ball dekho, apnaa game khelo,’ he would say. He motivated me since my debut. Whether or not I did something correctly or did it well, he would encourage me. I will miss him and I want to thank him. It was great playing under him."
India embark on a long tour to England which will kick off a busy schedule for the team and Verma’s main focus is to focus on her fitness.
“I want to remain fit. That’s my primary goal, because if I’m fit, I can carve out a long career for myself. And to simulate skiddy conditions [overseas], I have been training with wet synthetic balls, to allow them to skid more."
She further added that she keenly followed the IPL on TV and learnt a lot observing the batsmen and their shot selection.
“I watched the IPL as well. One gets to learn a lot observing and watching the IPL players, their shot selection, especially," said Verma.