For a cricketer wanting to make a comeback to the national side, it’s always difficult to find form in the domestic circuit, prove fitness, and most importantly, stay relevant to the team. 2017 World Cup runner-up Sushma Verma looked to done all of that after her ouster from the team in 2018, but for now luck doesn’t seem to be on her side.
The 27-year-old who last played for the national team in April 2018, has been waiting for her opportunities, while trying to get the basics right — no matter how cliched it might sound. And that has brought dividends too. Verma was included in the ODI squad for West Indies tour in 2019, though didn’t get a game in that series.
When asked what went wrong in 2018, she was quick to reply, “When you are with the team and constantly travelling, it gets difficult to do the practice that you would do on your own. It gets difficult to get the drills according to your requirement. In short, my preparation was not up to the mark," Verma told Cricketnext.
“Then when I got dropped, that was the time I sat down with the coach and noted the areas I needed to improve. Also I got enough time to work on every aspect. I went through those routines, which used to go through previously before getting into the team."
Of course, soon after Covid-19 rocked the world, India’s scheduled series against England and South Africa were cancelled, this year. Verma might have missed a golden opportunity to come back in the reckoning with few stellar performances, but now she has her eyes set on the IPL or Women’s T20 Challenge. As of now, the tournament will coincide with men’s IPL, and will be played from November 1 to 10 in the UAE. This time around there will be four teams in fray.
“I resumed my training keeping in mind the England T20I series, that got cancelled, in first week of June. I was lucky that I got the permission to train at the ground. Then there were also talks of having a South Africa series somewhere in October, so was gearing up for that too. Then finally when the IPL was announced, the focus shifted to that completely," Verma added.
Last year, playing for Velocity, Verma smashed a quickfire 40 from 32 balls in a match against Supernovas, when the chips were down. Coming in at a time when her team was 37/5, her innings took the score to a respectable 121. Talking about her experience of playing in world’s biggest league, she said, “The experience is always good playing with the world’s best, including domestic players as well. I remember we were playing in Jaipur - you don’t really expect a lot of crowd — but we heard the next day that the stadium doors were closed because no seats were left. Playing in front of a packed stadium is what we always wanted."
No interaction with Sushma would be complete without talking about the World Cup final against England at Lord’s, where India lost narrowly, by 9 runs. And since then, in the two T20I World Cups, India yet again faltered in the knock-outs, once in semis and the other in finals.
“That was three years back. We did well in the next two T20I World Cups too. In 2017, that was the first time for most of us on such a big stage. No one expected us to do what we did. We knew as a team where we were going and what our goal was. We were doing well till the 43rd over and lost the game in the last 7 overs."
“After coming back the kind of welcome and reception we got from the fans, the kind of change women’s cricket in India has gone through, we feel blessed to be a part of that team. Having said that, I don’t think we lack anywhere, we just need to play more elite teams. That will make a big difference," she signed off.