Shafali Verma, arguably the most exciting prospect in Indian women’s cricket, made her ODI debut against England at the age of 17 on Sunday. The right-handed batter played in her typical take-no-prisoners fashion, scoring three boundaries in the first five overs.
But before she put on a show of her talent, an amusing goof-up from the broadcasters for the game sent Twitter into a frenzy. Shafali Verma’s stats, presented by Sky Sports and by Sony Ten in India, displayed the youngster’s age as 28, a whopping difference of 11 years.
Some confused fans on Twitter threw around conjectures about the reason behind the change, while others tried to bring it to the attention of the broadcasters and the BCCI. The following are the best of these reactions:
“I want Shafali Verma to enjoy her style of playing” – Mithali Raj
Despite providing a headstart to India’s innings, Shafali Verma got out on her 14th ball, mistiming a pull shot against Katherine Brunt.
Her opening partner Smriti Mandhana, who was trying hard to manufacture attacking strokes against some disciplined bowling, couldn’t score big either and got out after a 25-ball 10.
Nevertheless, it’s certain that a few failures at the top of the order won’t deter the Indian women’s team’s belief in Shafali Verma.
Speaking before the match, skipper Mithali Raj admitted that she wanted the 17-year-old to play freely and enjoy her game without worrying too much about losing her wicket.
“That’s how she plays, her strength and style of batting. There will be times when she gives us a headstart. She’s a young kid, she’ll also learn to build an innings. As a captain, I want her to enjoy her style of playing. If we lose early wickets, we as middle order are there to rebuild, or if we get a good start, take the momentum forward. We have the batting depth to do that.”
Mithali Raj and Punam Raut will now have to walk the talk and lift the team to a competitive total.
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