WV Raman backs Shafali Verma to be the X-factor in all three formats

Shafali Verma hits out against Australia A. © Getty Images

WV Raman, India’s former head coach, says Shafali Verma can be the X-factor for India in all three formats with her batting approach. He believes the 17-year-old’s ability can be priceless for the side in Test matches as well.

Verma, who has played 22 T20Is for India so far after making her debut in 2019, got her maiden call up to the ODI and Test squads for the England tour that starts on June 16. India will play one Test, three ODIs and three T20Is during the tour. India are also scheduled to play another Test match during their tour of Australia in September where they will be playing their first ever day-night Test.

“Sometimes there could be a bit of reluctance to bat first if you win the toss for various reasons, but if you have someone in your side who can go (all) out, (it helps). Some players are like that, they don’t care what the conditions are, who they are up against, they would back themselves and they’ll go after the bowlers and demoralise them,” Raman said while talking in a video interview with Sports Today.

“If a batter goes on to psychologically demoralise the opposition bowlers in the first 45 minutes to one hour, I would take that any day in any format. In a four-day game or a Test match you are as it is looking to play out, if at all you happen to bat first.”

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Verma, who first came into the limelight with her aggressive batting during the Women’s T20 Challenge 2019, made her debut in the same year and then went on become the leading run-getter for India in the T20 World Cup in Australia in March last year where they finished as the runners-up.

Raman, who was in charge during the T20 World Cup and recent home series against South Africa in March, is of the opinion that Verma should open the innings regardless of the format if she makes her Test and ODI debuts during the England tour.

“If they can find somebody who can do that from 35-50 overs, have them in the side, and have Shafali also in the side, why restrict yourself to either Shafali Verma or somebody at the bottom? Just have as many bazookas as you can and launch them mercilessly,” he added.

Verma, current number one ranked T20I batter, will also be seen in action in inaugural season of The Hundred where she will feature for Birmingham Phoenix. She has also signed a contract with the Sydney Sixers for the seventh season of Women’s Big Bash League.

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