India's youngest woman cricketer had to dress as a boy for training

15-year-old Shafali Verma is the youngest women debutant in Twenty20 International cricket IANS

  • India’s youngest woman player in T20 International Shafali Verma disguised as a boy to train as a cricketer.
  • There were no academies for girls in her hometown Rohtak in Haryana, TOI reported.
  • In a recent Twenty20 International, Shefali played against South Africa women at Lalabhai Contractor Stadium, Surat, winning India 51 runs in the match.
  • The idea to play cricket seeded in 2013, when Shafali saw Sachin Tendulkar play a Ranji Trophy match against Haryana.
This story is right out of a Bollywood movie. Shafali Verma who is now popular for being India’s youngest woman player in T20 International, had to disguise herself as a to undergo training.

The 15-year-old batswoman enrolled in a cricket academy for boys as there were no academies for girls in her hometown, Rohtak in Haryana.

“No one was ready to induct her in any academy because there was not a single one for girls in Rohtak. I literally begged them to give her a chance but in vain,” lamented Shafali’s father Sanjeev Verma.

At the age of 9, he asked his daughter to cut short her hair to look like a boy, when the cricket academies in the district turned down the girl’s application, TOI reported.

While her father was afraid of the academy finding out the truth, Shafali’s school — St Paul School — decided to start a girls’ cricket team.

In a recent Twenty20 International, Shefali played against South Africa women at Lalabhai Contractor Stadium, Surat, winning India 51 runs in the match. Shafali hit 46 for 33 balls, with two sixes taking the total to 140 as South Africa managed to score 89.


“The aim is to play as long as possible for India and keep winning matches for my country. I am feeling a bit relaxed now, after getting a duck on debut. The senior players backed me after the first match and I am glad I contributed to the team’s victory,” Shafali said.

The idea to play cricket seeded in 2013, when Shafali saw Sachin Tendulkar play a Ranji Trophy match against Haryana.

Women in cricket is still a taboo in the Indian society. As for Shafali, the neighbours and relatives passed jeering comments saying that girls have no future in cricket.

“When she first came on TV while playing for Velocity team in the Women’s T20 Challenge in May, all those who were criticising us were dumbstruck. I felt so proud,” Sanjeev recalled.

See also:
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