On 15th November 1989, we saw a young man who debuted against one of the most dangerous fast bowling attacks of that era – Pakistan, at the tender age of 16. He went on to become not only India’s but the world’s greatest ever batsman and his name is Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar.
I’m sure no fan would have thought that someone even younger than a sixteen-year-old from India would ever make an international debut just looking at the vast competition there is to break the barrier and get into the International side.
But 30 years later, here we are celebrating the youngest Indian cricketer ever to step foot on a cricket field at the biggest of stages and creating records of her own. Shafali Verma hailing from the state of Haryana saw her idol Tendulkar’s Last Ranji Innings in her hometown Rohtak, Haryana and that gave her the confidence and the vision to improve on her game and also to dream big.
She played school cricket and owing to her excellent performances there, she got selected to the state U19 & U23 teams as well. Idolizing Sachin Tendulkar and following her father’s words about working hard and developing her game consistently paid her rich dividends. Her father’s advice to her was to hit the ball hard every time and Shafali says that she will never change that aspect of her batting ever. Honestly !! we are not complaining.
Just at the age of 15, Shafali made her international debut Vs South Africa in September 2019 had big shoes to fill. Yes, she replaced the mighty Mithali Raj as she had just announced her retirement from T20Is and Shafali on the back of some exceptional performances in the Women’s T20 Challenge held in May 2019 made headlines by being selected in the squad announced by BCCI for the T20I’s against South Africa.
She had a duck to her name in her debut match but that didn’t shatter her confidence one bit. With the next two matches being washed out due to rains, Shafali made a strong comeback in the 4th T20I Scoring 46 off 33 deliveries announcing herself on the biggest of stages.
Her next assignment was the West Indies series in which she went on to score her maiden T20I Half-century breaking her own idol’s record of becoming the youngest cricketer ever to smash a half-century in international cricket at just 15 years of age scoring a gutsy 35 balls 69.
The likes of English opener Danielle Wyatt from England who was her teammate from Velocity in the Women’s T20 Challenge played earlier this year has heaped praises for Shafali calling her the future superstar of Indian Cricket and we don’t doubt that at all.
She regularly features in the T20I’s for India and is certain to make her ODI debut as well soon.
Shafali Verma will be seen representing India in the upcoming Women’s T20 World Cup 2020.
Loves all things female cricket