“Adam Gilchrist is my inspiration,” reveals Sushma Verma in Instagram Live Chat

Sushma Verma from Himachal Pradesh is a wicket-keeper bat, who has featured in 38 ODIs, 19 T20Is and a solitary Test. Vishal Yadav from Female Cricket, had a tête-à-tête with Sushma Verma, wherein the duo discussed about Indian cricket, cricket facilities in Himachal Pradesh and the lockdown.

The conversation started in such a way that it raised many eyebrows when the 27-year old wicket-keeper bat stated, “I was not a planned cricketer, cricket happened to me accidentally.”

It was in 2009, when Sushma, who was 17 years old then, played cricket with a leather ball for the very first time. Prior to that, she played different sports like handball, volleyball, basketball, badminton, inter alia, including cricket but not professionally. She always wanted to be in sports and hence tried her hand in varied games. It was because of these sports that she could achieve adequate levels of fitness that would help her kick start her cricketing journey.

 

Sushma Verma
Sushma Verma. Pic Credits: ANI

 

In 2009, a residential cricket academy was started in Himachal Pradesh which was first of its kind in the state. “Since I was always interested in cricket right from my childhood days, I decided to go to the residential academy in Dharamshala and give trials. First I tried fast bowling, then batting, and towards the end I gave trials for wicket-keeping. Till that day, I didn’t know that the pads used for wicket-keeping and batting were different,” chuckled Verma.

She added, “Somehow wicket-keeping was of interest to me since I played with the boys in my area and they always used to make me field. Once I decided to become a wicket-keeper I used to look up to Adam Gilchrist and the way he used to keep wickets when Shane Warne used to bowl.”

Sushma Verma
Sushma Verma. Pic Credits: Facebook

 

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Sushma Verma was fortunate to be a part of the residential academy and she attributes her success to the coaching and facilities provided there. Talking about the selection into this academy, she explicated, “To get selected in the academy you should be under 17 and a resident of Himachal Pradesh. After the trials, if you are selected, you are required to shift your base to Dharamshala. Apart from your education, all the other expenses like practice sessions, food, accommodation, etc. are borne by HPCA. The facilities at HPCA are state of the art. For girls above 17 who wish to be a part of this academy, they need to perform well in the Challenger Trophy which is played within the state. If a player plays well in that tournament then she has a strong chance of getting selected in the academy.”

Reminiscing from her domestic playing days, Sushma averred, “I remember playing for North Zone against South Zone in Chennai, when I was surrounded by all the big players like Anjum Chopra, Reema Malhotra, Harmanpreet Kaur in my team and observing them I was not only overwhelmed but also understood how these players carried themselves and played professional cricket.”

 

Sushma Verma
Sushma Verma. Pic Credits: Twitter

 

There has been a paradigm shift in the way women’s cricket was perceived 11 years back when Verma first started playing and today when the Indian women’s team has made it to two ICC finals in three years.

“The budding women cricketers have started idolizing Indian women cricketers and they have also become the role models. I am happy to see women’s cricket flourishing in India.”

“There is an increased awareness in society and more and more girls are taking up this sport as their career. Parents are also becoming supportive and allowing their daughters to play this game. I am sure that many retired women cricketers as well as the present players will be happy to witness this pleasant change,” exclaimed the 27-year old.

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She further added, “BCCI is also taking a lot of effort in improving the state of women’s cricket in India. There is an increase in the number of domestic fixtures as well as international tournaments which give players more opportunities and exposure.”

 

Sushma Verma and Amelia Kerr for velocity in Women's T20 Challenge
Sushma Verma and Amelia Kerr for velocity in Women’s T20 Challenge. Pic Credits: BCCI

Talking about women’s IPL, Sushma concluded, “I hope that women’s IPL is just a stone’s throw away. We have had Women’s T20 Challenge over the last two years in which many international players participated. You get to learn many things from these players. Also I feel that Australia’s success in T20 can be attributed to the Women’s Big Bash League which has been running successfully in Australia for the last five years.”

Rapid-fire Rounds

Favorite subject
Honestly none. But maybe because my father was a Sanskrit teacher and I used to score well in that subject, I would say Sanskrit.

With which three cricketers would you like to spend the quarantine period?
Nikita Chauhan (Himachal Pradesh) because she is a good partner for everything, be it work, play and fun, next would be Kavita Patil (Indian Railways) since I have not her in person for a while, and third would be Anisha Ansari (Himachal Pradesh) because she is a very lively person.

Cheat meal
Momos and Thupka soup

Favorite shot
On-drive

You can watch the Complete Live Chat here

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