From pretending to be a boy to play cricket at the age of nine to being at the top of her game now, 16-year old Shafali Verma's story is an inspirational one. Adding another feather to her cap, Shafali has grabbed the top spot in the T20 International (T20I) rankings for women in the latest list by International Cricket Council (ICC).
Not just that, she is the youngest Indian ever be to ranked numero uno in the T20I ICC list. Former New Zealand skipper Suzie Bates was on number one spot before her with 750 points. In fact, Shafali jumped 19 places on the list and is currently leading with 761 points.
For those who haven't been following the ongoing ICC Women's T20 World Cup, Shafali has been one of the top performers in our team. She has scored 161 runs in four matches so far. Not just that, her strike rate of 161 is the highest among all batswomen in the tournament. She sure is taking women's cricket to another level, given that cricket is still called 'a gentleman's game' all over the world. We couldn't be more proud!
Did you know Shafali is not the first Indian woman to achieve this feat? Mithali Raj was ranked No. 1 in the T20I ICC list last year! Shafali, however, debuted playing for the country only six months ago in September, and there has been no stopping her. As far as her overall T20I record is concerned, she has a total of 485 runs under her name including two impressive half-centuries. Her career so far may be short but her achievements clearly aren't.
Shafali Verma is not just the backbone of India's batting top order, she is also one of the main reasons behind our unbeaten run in the tournament. But, oh, how I wish her and our entire women's cricket team got the appreciation they deserve. Imagine if this were men's T20 Cricket World Cup? Would the headlines be so few? Or the craze be so little?
While that's food for thought, here's wishing Team India all the very best for the remaining tournament. India will be next playing England in the crucial semi-final match on Thursday, March 5. Go for the win!
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