Cricket: Shafali Verma takes a shortcut to the Indian women’s team
NEW DELHI – Shafali Verma journey into the Indian women’s cricket team started with a haircut.
The 10-year-old shafali Verma grew up in Haryana, a state known for its male tendency and uneven gender ratio. She attended the Shree Ram Narain Cricket Academy, but was not allowed to participate in men’s tournaments, as the organizers said, injured.
Frustrated but unimpressed, she had a plan.
“It was her idea,” said her father Sanjeev from the northern city of Rohtak. She said, ‘What if I cut my hair? I don’t think anyone would notice that I’m a girl. “
Fortunately for Verma and Indian cricket, nobody did.
“Nobody noticed her among the boys and she had important match experience,” said Sanjeev. “It was an important decision we made. Her career could have been nipped in the bud. “
This career has now evolved, and 16-year-old Verma has secured a place on the national team at the Twenty20 World Cup in Australia next month.
Shafali, which received a key order from the Indian board earlier this month, was contracted by the same sports marketing company that represents the country’s best badminton player, PV Sindhu, and male cricketer Ravindra Jadeja.
Her father, who runs a small jewelry store, stubbornly supported his daughter’s cricket dream, but set her a deadline to make it happen.
“I had told her:” The first 19 years of your life are yours – chase your dream. If you don’t make it to 19, follow my advice. “
Verma is on the best way to “make it big” and her father is building a gym for her on the first floor of her humble home in Rohtak.
With Haryana wrestlers winning medals at the Olympics and Commonwealth Games, Sanjeev said a wind of change was blowing through the conservative state.
“The success of Sakshi Malik and the Phogat sisters has inspired many girls,” he said. “Shafali didn’t have a girl to play with on site. Now there are almost 30 girls in this academy alone. “
The story of 16-year-old Richa Ghosh is not too dissimilar.
Ghosh, whose passion for cricket conflicted with cultural expectations, had no opportunity to play in Siliguri, a busy city at the foot of the Himalayas.
“For some reason, the parents didn’t want their daughters to play cricket,” her father Manabendra told Reuters. “So Richa had no choice but to play with boys in a local club.”
Manabendra was convinced of her potential and took his daughter to Kolkata. Even before she reached her teenage class, she had taken over the state’s under-19 national team and finally secured a place in the senior team, in which the former Indian captain Jhulan Goswami also played.
“She has never been through a competition, not even against boys,” said Manabendra, who also changed games in clubs.
“It made them fearless. For this reason, she has become better as a player. “
Ghosh has also won a place on the Indian World Cup team. Manabendra hopes that her ascent will encourage more girls to start exercising at home.
“Girls are now allowed to go to cricket camps with the boys. I hope that many more girls will follow in Richa’s footsteps. “
India is launching its World Cup campaign on February 21 at the start of the tournament against defending champions Australia in Sydney.