Shafali Verma to play for Birmingham Phoenix in place of Sophie Devine in the Hundred

Shajin Mohanan S
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Shafali shines, Pandey keeps her calm as India make the semis

Shafali Verma in action. © ICC

Earlier it was reported that Verma has been confirmed as a replacement player for the new competition and will be the fifth Indian in the tournament after BCCI handed No Objection Certificate (NOC) to four Indians in fellow opener Smriti Mandhana, India’s T20I skipper Harmanpreet Kaur, Jemimah Rodrigues and Deepti Sharma.

A source close to the development has confirmed to Women’s CricZone that 17-year-old Verma will be replacing the New Zealand skipper after the later opted out of the competition for personal reasons. They are waiting for confirmation from BCCI before an official announcement could be made.

Devine was earlier named skipper of the Phoenix side but they will now have to choose a new captain in place of her. Big-hitting Verma will join Australian allrounders Ellyse Perry and Ashleigh Gardner as the overseas stars in the squad.

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Verma, who made her debut for India in 2019, has so far played 22 T20Is scoring 617 runs at an average of 29.38 and a strike rate of 148.31. She was last seen in action during the T20 leg of the South Africa series at home where she smashed a 30-ball 60 to take India to victory in the final T20I. Verma made waves during the T20 World Cup 2020 in Australia with her power hitting and was catapulted to number one in the ICC T20I batting rankings. After the successful South Africa series, she regained her number one spot in the ranking.

Kaur will be playing for Manchester Originals, Mandhana, Deepti Sharma and Jemimah Rodrigues are set to represent Southern Brave, London Spirit and Northern Superchargers. All four of them featured in the now defunct Women’s Cricket Super League during the 2019-20 season.

The Indian players are expected to assemble towards the end of May for their tour to England, which starts with a Test match from June 16. It will be followed by three ODIs and three T20Is from June 27 to July 15.