Head coach of the Indian Women’s team, WV Raman feels that teenage prodigy Shafali Verma should be left alone by the media and opined that too much focus and attention might be unconstructive for her. Raman further believes that the current crop has a very good chance of lifting the WT20 title.
Ever since making her international debut at the age of just 15, Shafali Verma has taken the cricketing world by storm, with opposition bowlers often taken aback by the sheer power she possesses. She announced herself to the cricketing world with back-to-back fifties against the Windies Women in late 2019, but her match-winning knock of 49 against the World Champions Aussies in Melbourne last week has got the whole world talking about her, with many believing the youngster could be the x-factor that could deliver India the Women’s World Cup.
However, W.V. Raman, the head coach of the India Women’s team, believes that too much attention at this tender age could be unconstructive for young Shafali, and has requested the media not to focus on her and just let her play. Raman further lavished praise on the flamboyant batswoman and expressed his admiration for her aggressive batting style and stated that the now 16-year-old, with time and experience, will figure out her own game.
“I would request the media not to go gaga over her, because she is barely 16, and too much attention is not good for her at this stage. I have given her the freedom to play the way she has been playing. She has shown she has the talent. She is fearless. She is unique,” Raman was quoted as saying by ESPN Cricinfo.
“She is extremely positive. She has the ability to score runs quickly. She can hit the ball hard and she looks to get runs. She is at a stage and an age where it doesn’t make sense to put anything into her. She needs to be allowed to figure it out for herself. That will come with experience.”
The team came agonizingly close to lifting the 50-over World Cup in 2017 before being outclassed by the Aussies in the WT20 in 2018 and Raman believes that the India women, who are now a settled outfit, will be one of the firm favorites to lift the title heading into the tournament.
“Definitely one of the favourites. They made people sit up and take notice in the 2017 World Cup (runners-up) and the 2018 T20 World Cup (semifinalists). Since then there has been a lot of improvement, in terms of fitness, agility on the field and their approach to batting.
“They have been shaping well over the last six months. It is more or less a better and settled team than perhaps what it was when I took over. These girls have a very good chance in this World Cup.”
Raman further believes that a victory in the upcoming WT20 could create a 1983-esque buzz in the country and feels that the current crop will become ‘superstars’ should they clinch the title.
“If they end up doing that, they will probably do what Kapil Dev‘s World Cup-winning team did for Indian cricket in 1983. And they will become superstars if they go on to win.”