It was 15-year-old Shafali Verma’s dashing 46 runs knock that helped India register a convincing 51-run win over South Africa in the rain-hit fourth women's T20I to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the five-match series in Surat on Tuesday. Shafali, who was dismissed for a four-ball duck on her debut in the opening match, laid the foundation for a good total with a 33-ball innings, while Jemimah Rodrigues (33) provided the stability, scoring a 22-ball 33.
This woman cricket sensation had entered cricket academy disguised as a boy due to the lack of a single academy for girls in Rohtak. Her family recently made the revelation and her father said it was his decision to take the step looking at the lack of facilities for aspiring women cricketers in the state.
Verma had to sport boys' haircut to enjoy the facilities of the academy and to get a proper cricket training.
"In the early days, we had many problems. I took her to many academies as people used to refuse, saying that she is a girl. We then decided to cut her hair short to get her enrolled in an academy. I am very happy that she is now representing India on a national level. There is no academy in Rohtak for girls, so we decided to cut her hair short and let her play disguised as a boy. We even changed her name, academy people found about her disguise a little late," Sanjeev Verma, father of Shafali told news agency ANI.
"It is a nice feeling when you that your child is representing India. She used to play with a tennis ball during her initial days, I did not much about the sport. Her father has always been a huge supporter of cricket. We had many hindrances as our neighbours also used to comment on letting our girl play cricket," Parveen Verma, mother of Shafali told ANI.