We want to help Shafali Verma with her career: Ben Sawyer

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We want to help Shafali Verma with her career: Ben Sawyer

Shafali Verma and Alyssa Healy for Sydney Sixers © Sydney Sixers

Sydney Sixers head coach Ben Sawyer showered praise on Indian star Shafali Verma whose maiden Women's Big Bash League half-century led her team to victory against Hobart Hurricanes. Verma’s 57 off 50 balls was vital in the chase as Sixers won their second consecutive match in WBBL07 on Sunday (October 17).

Thrilled by the youngster's performance, Sawyer said Sixers want to help Verma develop and further her career, adding that she has started learning from the 'leaders' in the group, including her opening partner Alyssa Healy and captain Ellyse Perry.

“I know Midgey (Healy) probably won’t like it, but I know Shafali reached out the other day, and they had a really good chat about her batting, and Shafali went really, really well yesterday,” Swayer said.

“Midge said in the media that it's a big part of what the Sixers want to do, is help Shafali with her career and be a part of that. to watch Alyssa spend lots of time with her yesterday. Ellyse was throwing balls to her in the nets as well, and they have chats all the time on and off the field about ways to prepare.”

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Sawyer, who also coached the 17-year-old during his stint with the Birmingham Phoenix in The Hundred also reflected on Verma’s role in the playing XI for the Sixers.

“I was probably lucky enough to work with Shafali overseas in The Hundred as well. So I’ve been able to spend a little bit of time with her. She's a really dynamic player. We always say about our internationals that if they can win three or four games for us over a season then that's really important to us.”

The head coach said the Sixers are not looking to change Verma’s game to suit the team’s needs, but accommodate her talents in the batting line-up. “For us at the Sixers, it's about Shafali just playing her game. She's going to be aggressive. We understand, at times, that's going to come undone early, but that's the way we want to play our cricket up front knowing that we've got the likes of Ellyse and Nicole Bolton - who played her role to absolute perfection yesterday - to sort of finish innings off for us.”

“It's been spoken about a lot - we've got that firepower up front, and Shafali is a big part of that, but if she doesn't come off, we've got Midgey and Ash (Gardner), and then we've got people to finish off the game for us. So for her, it's just about being still, maybe not trying to overhit too much, but also she's got complete freedom to play the way that she wants,” Sawyer concluded.