‘I need to get better at it’ – Shafali Verma opens up on issues with the short ball

Shafali Verma during her knock against England ©Getty Images

Shafali Verma has spent only two years at the international level, but she has shown enough to make everyone believe that she is here to stay for a very long time. Despite early success, the 17-year-old is completely aware that she needs to get better at certain things in order to stand tall in international cricket. 

“It feels good that I have been able to complete two years in international cricket but there is a long way to go. I know the areas of my game I need to get better at and one of them is playing the short ball,” Verma was quoted as saying by PTI.  

The opening batter has been subjected to some short pitch bowling in her short career and has had some issues with it as well. However, she has been proactive in responding to those tactics and has managed to overcome her issues on some occasions. 

“The coaches have also told me to play as per the ball and I will continue to do that. I will never change my game. I won’t back away that much going forward. You will see me shuffling around the crease a lot more and play as per the merit of the ball,” said Verma.

One of the key moments for the youngster in 2021 was her Test debut against England. She managed to get 96 in her very first knock in red-ball cricket for India and added another fifty to her credit in the second innings. She also managed a third fifty in the Test against Australia a few months back. 

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“In Test cricket, I got to learn a lot more than I thought, especially patience. It is the best format and it was a dream come true for me. “I just loved my first Test knock (96), I felt really good out there and I played a lot better than I thought. That innings will always remain special,” Verma said while talking about her brief Test career. 

“I just want to be fit and work hard on my game and help India win. I hope I will inspire more girls to play the game. Two seasons in international cricket have been very good to me. My approach is to learn something new from every game and improve,” Verma added. 

The young Indian batter further spoke about her relationship with opening partner and senior pro, Smriti Mandhana. Verma noted how Mandhana has helped her on the field. 

“She is always backing me on and off the field, tells me to play my natural game and whenever I am struggling in the middle, she always helps me fix my flaws. If I am struggling against a particular bowler, she will tell me ‘take a single and give the strike to me’. It is great that I have a batting partner like her,” Verma concluded.