Rising India batting star Shafali Verma has become the fifth women cricketer from her team to sign up for the inaugural The Hundred. Shafali will represent Birmingham Phoenix at the tournament which is being organised by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).
“It is a delightful news not just for Shafali but for Indian women’s cricket that there will be five Indian players in the inaugural edition of The Hundred. She will re-unite with her Sydney Sixers coach Ben Sawyer and the experience should help her grow further in what has already been a very positive road forward for the youngster," news agency ANI quoted a source as saying.
Before Shafali, India women T20I captain Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana, Jemimah Rodrigues and Deepti Sharma have also linked up with various teams in The Hundred taking the total participation from India women team to five.
The 17-year-old has so far played 22 T20Is and scored 617 runs at a strike-rate of 148.31 and struck three fifties as well. She recently spent time training with Haryana’s men team ahead of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.
Talking about her stint, Shafali had told ANI, “The reason behind the fast foot movement is the time I spent with the Haryana men’s team ahead of the Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament. I cannot thank the Haryana Cricket Association enough for allowing me to train with the team. What it did was that it helped my decision-making power at the crease as I was facing fast bowlers who were touching close to the 140kph mark. So, I had that extra second to decide if I wanted to go back or play off the front foot when I played the T20I series."
She faced the likes of Mohit Sharma among others during the nets. “We had some top-quality bowlers in Mohit Sharma, Ashish Hooda, Ajeet Chahal, Sanjay Pahal and Aman Kumar among others," she said.
Apart from sharpening her batting skills, Shafali also worked on improving her fitness. “Yes, I did work on my fitness during the time away from the game due to lockdown. Here too, cannot thank the HCA enough. Every player was catered to individually. Our needs were looked into and even for things like dumbbells, HCA ensured every player had equipment to train. At the top level, you need to be fit to perform," she said.