Her brash innocence "off-the-pitch" can quickly give way to an unseen "prodigious" power play "on the pitch". She is simply, wonder kid on the 22-yards. But kids don't play for the senior Indian cricket team, or do they? The range, the timing, the quality of her shots, and the power behind it reminds you of 'God of Cricket' — Sachin Tendulkar — in his initial days.
And believe it or not -- Shafali Verma, at the age of 15, has broken the master blaster's very first record - of being the youngest cricketer (male/female) to play for India -- when she donned Indian colours and opened the innings during the recently concluded T20 series against South Africa. Shafali stunned the cricket world with her shot making ability when she scored 46 runs of just 33 balls hitting five boundaries and two towering sixes in the 4th ODI against South Africa in Surat on October 1st. The reason she was selected for the Indian women's senior team was her consistent performance and massive runs in the domestic cricket scoring over 1,200 runs with eight centuries last season.
"I am very happy about becoming the youngest (cricketer) ever. But I am not losing my sleep thinking over it. Its just the start. I want to play in all formats of the game, though Twenty20 remains my favourite. I just want to concentrate on my game and not pay much attention to records. I want to bat like Sachin Tendulkar and keep wickets like MS Dhoni," Shafali told Republic TV in an exclusive chat after her practice session at her academy in Rohtak.
Her batting coach Santh Kumar says she came to the academy under Sri Ram Narain Cricket Club in 2016 at the age of 12 and instantly caught everyone's eyes with her ability to middle the ball with immense power. "She is simply unbelievable considering her age and gender. Her powerful lofted shots and on-drives are her trademark shots. We hope she emulates her idol Sachin in cricketing achievements and break many records."
Her fielding and wicketkeeping coach Sanjay Badhwar said "apart from her enormous batting ability she is very good behind the stumps as well. People are comparing her with Sachin's initial days but I would say her game is more like MS Dhoni. She has quick reflexes and is quite good at catching and uprooting the stumps. She also has a very solid and matured cricketing mind like Dhoni."