Sharing her insights and observations ahead of the 4th T20I, Shafali Verma is all set to roar.
In the five-match T20I series, Australia currently leads 2-1 and the 4th T20I is crucial for India to survive in the series. This match will also be Shafali Verma’s 50th T20I and she was geared up. Ahead of India’s crucial do-or-die match versus Australia, Shafali Verma said, “Of course hume pata hai ki yeh agla match kitna crucial hai yeh aur practice bhi aise hi chal rahi hai aur day by day aur hum improve kar rahe hain and hum apna best de” which translates to “The team is aware that the next match is crucial and we are practicing accordingly, improving different aspects and we wish to give their best”.
When asked about how it is to play a quality side like Australia shared, “Aisa lagta hai ladkon ke saath khel rahe hu”, which translates to “It feels like we are playing against men”.
Shafali Verma often practices with the Harayana men’s team during the off-season to sharpen her skillset and a comparison like this goes to show how competitive and strong the Australian outfit is.
“I learnt a lot while playing against Australia. I love playing against them. Aisa lagta hai ki ladkon ke sath hi khel rahe hain (it seems you are playing against a men’s team)”
— Female Cricket (@imfemalecricket) December 17, 2022
Talking about the joy of playing a quality team like Australia and outplaying them, she said that “When I hit a four (against an Australian bowler), I get boosted, and feel that I’ve improved as a player, because Australia is the best side currently (in women’s cricket). I’m always happy when I hit boundaries off the Australian bowlers. She added that “I don’t get so much happiness when I hit boundaries against England or any other team,” she added. Shafali is aware that the Indian team cannot afford to make any mistakes since the Australians would seize every chance to capitalize. She also believes that if the Aussies see a small mistake that you are making, they will take advantage of it. So the Indians have to ensure that they are on top of their game against them.
While also reflecting on the difference in wickets at the DY Patil Stadium and Brabourne Stadium, Shafali quipped that this wicket is not similar to the one at the DY Patil Stadium and that the bowlers are generating good swing on this wicket and that they can’t really give excuses. Dot balls and rotation of strike have been a concern for which she also added, “Batter (batting) coach ke saath baat ho rahi hain aur singles pe hum work kar rahe hain toh day by day improve ho rahe hain” which translates to “we are working with the batting coach to improve our game and take more singles and day by day we are improving”. On conceding runs in the games, she remarked how the bowlers are “bowling on single stump” and that they are putting in the hard yards and trying their best. Delving more on the role that Hrishikesh Kanitkar, the batting coach she said that he is someone she is in constant touch with as he guides her on and day by day they learn something new from him, and is a confidence booster and he has guided her on how to choose the right ball and attack it based on the merit.
On the U19 prospects, she said, “My aim is to go step by step and now Australia series hai dimaag mai ki kaise complete kar series ko jeetna hai toh mai yehi try kar rahi hu ki mai apna 100% du kyunki abhi do match bache hain taaki world cup mai achi confidence mile aur of course mai U19 World Cup ke liye bahut excited hu” which translates to “I aim to go step by step and currently I am focussing on the Australia series and winning it and because there are two games left I want to give my 100% and make the most of all the matches in the lead up to the World Cup. I am looking forward to the same”. On the rapport with the players of the U19 set-up, she said that she has previously played with some of the Haryana players chosen and will also speak to the current captain to understand the team better. She intends to build more on the team dynamics in the camp before the series.
On understanding different captaincy styles and how she has learnt from different captains, she remarked how Harmanpreet Kaur is exceptional as a captain and she backs players, and how she is grateful to Harmanpreet for guiding her during the lows. Some attributes like contributing whatever she asks, field settlement, using the right bowlers, and how to captain are also some major takeaways that Shafali reflected on. When asked about the WIPL, although there is the excitement she reiterated how winning versus a strong Aussie team is crucial and will help boost their morale massively.
I am a first year postgraduate student pursuing a MA in Media and Communication Studies at Christ University, Bengaluru. I am a podcaster, blogger and an avid cricket fan. When not glued to cricket matches, you can find me submerged in books and thinking about cricket all the time.