Shafali Verma’s journey to breaking Sachin Tendulkar’s record
She sat on her daddy’s shoulders and cheered Sachin Tendulkar in his closing Ranji Trophy match when Shafali Verma had been nine years old.
Six decades after, aged 15 years and 285 days, she broke the record to become the youngest participant to score an fifty of the Tendulkar.
What happened in between is a story of determination and succeed against the odds in a region where women are discouraged from playing sport.
Inspired by Tendulkar’s trip in 2013 to her regional scene in Rohtak close Delhi, Verma took up awards , only to be turned off from her local academy because she wasn’t a boy.
Disheartened but not conquered, the dad of Verma had a notion. He had his daughter’s hair cut brief to trick people.
“Where I’m from there are some things women should not do, but my family always supported me,” Verma told Stumped about World Service.
“After cutting my hair, I’d train with the boys and that has really enabled me to play how I perform now.”
Just 1 day after breaking Tendulkar’s record with 73 runs off 49 balls in a Twenty20 international against West Indies in St Lucia, Verma continued the effort using the unbeaten 69 off 35 balls against the same opponents.
She plundered 22 borders round the 2 innings, demonstrating a energy that was honed in an innovative childhood exercise.
“Close to where I live there is a location where the police force used to have training clinics,” she explains. “There were tyres there and I used to train lifting and flipping those tyres. That really helped me get stronger.”
Verma’s strength hitting for Haryana Women brought her a call-up at the Women’s T20 Challenge to Mithali Raj’s Velocity team performed in May alongside the Premier League.
And it had been the retirement of Raj from international cricket which made space for the call-up of Verma into the complete India group in September.
As she looks ahead to the Twenty20 World Cup in Australia in February and March, Verma is hoping her story will encourage visitors from her country to promote their daughters to play sport.
“What I’d say to each family is don’t think girls shouldn’t leave the house,” she adds. “You’ve got to support them. It is not that women will just do well in studies. They can do well in sports.
“What I need is that when there’s a young girl, she shouldn’t be stopped from playing cricket. When she works hard and concentrates on her match anything could happen.”