As the Indian women’s team’s dough, Shafali Verma, entered her teens, her father took her and her older brother to the ground near their house and took part in a race that saw the three bats for a prize of Rs 5. .
Shafali, who won the T20I Series Player of the Series award against South Africa on Tuesday, although India lost the series, played several sparkling shots in the series. On Tuesday night, she scored 30 balls 60 to lead India to a consolation victory.
“She learned to play attacking cricket from an early age. One of the things that helped her get into the attacking mold was a workout we did together. I would choose a strange time, after about 11 in the morning, and I will take her and her son Sahil. on the ground.
“I chose a strange time to ensure that there would be no crowd. Each of us would face six balls and whoever hit a maximum of sixes or fours would receive a reward of Rs 5 and sometimes Rs 10,” Father Sandjeev Verma, who runs a jewelry store on the Rohtak railway, told IANS.
“For a 12- or 13-year-old, Rs.5 or Rs.10 was great. This workout lasted every day for about four months and the foundation of her big hit was laid,” adds Verma.
When Shafali was only nine years old, Verma had taken her to be admitted to the local Sri Ram Narain Academy, run by former Haryana coach Ashwani Kumar.
“We didn’t have the money to enroll her then. But when she started doing well in school games tournaments (competitions organized by India for school games) and I realized that there was no future in that, I decided to enroll her as a 12-year-old. at the Sri Ram Narain Academy, until then we had also managed the money, she never looked back and was supported by coach Ashwani and Ranbir Singh Mahendra [former BCCI president], “added Verma.
Ashwani Kumar says Shafali has always been a striker.
“In the beginning, when we saw her talent when she was less than 12 years old, we started making her train with the boys – with the current Ranji Trophy players, such as mid-range Ashish Huda, Sumit Kumar, Ajit Chahal and spinner Amit Rana, “he says.
“She plays fearless cricket and has God-given talent. She has good hand-eye coordination.”
Father Verma says they realized quite early on that Shafali would only succeed through a heavy blow. “We realized that if it hits hard and hard, only then will it work. So we worked on that aspect,” he added.
During the lockout last year, it helped that old equipment such as dummies for Shafali’s father was at home. “During the lock, she trained with a hanging ball and also trained in the shade. She ran up and down the stairs,” Verma said.
Shafali was ignored for ODI and was not selected in the Indian team, which lost a series of South African women 4-1 just before the T20I. The right-winger, however, says she needs to work on the gym.
“I need to work harder on my gym and [getting picked for] a one-day party would be my goal. Not being named on the ODI team is a motivation for me, really, to play even better and break into the country. I wasn’t very disappointed, but I saw it as a huge motivating factor, “she said after winning Tuesday’s matches in Lucknow.