Shafali Verma, Indian Cricket’s Youngest World Number One

When the Indian women’s team’s batter Shafali Verma was entering her teens, her father would take her and her older brother to a ground near their house and engage in a competition that would see the three bat for a reward of Rs.5 or sometimes Rs.10.

Shafali, who won Player of the Series award in the T20I series against South Africa on Tuesday despite India losing the series, played some scintillating knocks in the series. She hammered a 30-ball 60 on Tuesday night to lead India to a consolation win.

“She learnt to play attacking cricket from an early age. One of the things that helped her get into the attacking mould was a drill that we did together. I would pick an odd time, after 11 am or so, and take her and my son Sahil to the ground. I chose odd time to ensure there would be no crowd. Each of us would face six balls and whoever would hit most sixes or fours would get a reward of Rs.5 and sometimes Rs.10,” said her father Sanjeev Verma, who runs a jewellery shop on Railway Road in Rohtak.

“For a 12 or 13-year-old, Rs.5 or Rs.10 was great. This drill went on daily for about four months and the base of her big-hitting was set,” adds Verma.

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