Indian women’s cricket star needed boy’s haircut to play

 

 

India’s 15-year-old women’s cricket sensation Shafali Verma had to get her hair cut like a boy so that she could get into the local academy to train, her father said.

Now India’s cricket establishment is relying on Verma, who made her Twenty20 debut for the national team against South Africa last month and will soon go on a tour of the West Indies.

The teenager has become known for her aggressive batting. But her father, Sanjeev Verma, told of the struggle to get her daughter accepted in games.

“I introduced her to cricket when she was eight or nine. I used to take her to play neighbourhood teams on Sundays,” he said.

“Most teams refused to play against her. They said that she could get hurt and that I would complain if that happened.

“Even when I insisted she was my daughter and I was okay, most didn’t agree,” said Verma, who makes jewellery in Rohtak near New Delhi.

That is when he decided to give her a “boy’s haircut” to trick opponents.

“At eight or nine, all kids look the same. After the haircut, most didn’t even notice she was a girl and she started playing regularly at weekends,” he said.

Verma said he was never worried about seeing Shafali playing against male teams, believing it would improve her skills.

But when he tried to get professional training for her, he hit a new equality obstacle when academies refused to take his daughter.

“Most in town refused to take a girl. I eventually found one, which took boys and girls. It was 8km from our house and she used to cycle there for training each day,” the proud parent said.

Father and daughter are “diehard fans” of Sachin Tendulkar, holder of many scoring records and a legend in Indian cricket.

“I have always been a Sachin fan and I made sure that I introduced her to his batting very early. We watched so many Sachin innings together,” Verma said.

With Shafali already in the national team, at least two other members of the Verma family are chasing cricket success.

One is Shafali’s 17-year-old brother, Sahil, who also hopes to rise through the ranks.

“Even my youngest daughter Nancy, 6, has started playing cricket. Both of them are inspired by their sister,” Verma said. “I just hope she plays for national team for a long time and is part of the first Indian women’s team to win the World Cup.” — AFP

Keep the powerful accountable

Subscribe for R30/mth for the first three months. Cancel anytime.

Subscribers get access to all our best journalism, subscriber-only newsletters, events and a weekly cryptic crossword.

Agency
External source

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Latest stories

Sub-Saharan Africa children show higher Covid-19 death rate than elsewhere

Infants younger than one year in Africa have nearly five times the risk of death than those aged 15 to 19 years after contracting the virus

Africa’s first green school ‘cultivates a love of nature’

The Paarl campus of Green School South Africa uses solar power and climate-smart water management systems.

Sisulu accuses presidency of ‘deliberate mischief’

The minister’s open defiance has raised the stakes in a standoff that points to the looming power struggle President Cyril Ramaphosa faces

South Africa gets R11-bn booster shot from the World Bank...

As the country battles the pandemic, the World Bank loan will assist to boost the economy
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×