'A dream after a special tournament' – Shafali Verma basks in success
Verma's heroics at the top of the order carried India to their first T20 World Cup final. Although she couldn't make an impact at a packed MCG on International Women's Day as Australia ran away with the title, she finished the tournament with 163 runs at an incredible strike-rate of 158.25. The 16-year-old also temporarily held the No.1 position on the MRF Tyres ICC Women's T20 Rankings for batting.
Her fearless shot-making in her short career so far has earned her plenty of fans and Verma came home to a hero's welcome.
"The last one month has been pretty special for me. Not everyone is lucky to play in a World Cup with some of the best cricketers. I got the opportunity, and that too at such a young age," she wrote in a piece for Hindustan Times.
"I will never forget the welcome that I received at my home in Rohtak. There were dhols (drums) and music. My relatives received me with garlands and I felt pretty special. It was like a dream after a special tournament."
Verma's story, of how she pretended to be a boy with the support of her father so that she could play cricket, is an inspiring one. To see her family's efforts result in success has been satisfying for the youngster. "My father was there in Australia and I can sense his pride when he talks about me to his friend," she added.
With cricket around the world on hold and people keeping to their homes, the youngster's practice has been affected as well. She's using the down time to spend time with family, watch movies and recover from a strain she picked up at the World Cup.
"I often shadow practice at home with a tennis ball," Verma revealed. "For a [batter], it’s essential to maintain the rhythm and touch. It’s very important that I don't get rusty. Nothing can substitute playing an actual game but one has to make the best out of a situation."