Kolkata, Jan 18 (IANS) Indian women’s team head coach WV Raman is confident that 15-year-old sensation Shafali Verma will learn how to go about playing the way she does currently in international cricket in the coming years. The teenager has been turning heads with her performances and in November, broke Sachin Tendulkar’s 30-year-old record of being the youngest Indian to notch up a half century in international cricket.
“I would want her to continue playing the way she is playing,” Raman told IANS on the sidelines of the launch of his book “The Winning Sixer. Leadership Lessons to Master”
“She will learn, just like (Virender) Sehwag and (MS) Dhoni found out how to go about doing what they do. The good thing is that she has shown that she can perform at that level and she is a quick learner. Between the home series against South Africa to the series in West Indies, she worked hard and played everywhere, which is very exciting to see a 15-year-old girl do.”
Shafali will be part of the 15-member Indian squad that travels to Australia for the Women’s T20 World Cup slated to be held from February 21 to March 8. She is not the only teenager in the team with 19-year-old batter Richa Ghosh also added. Raman said that the key would be managing emotions while going through the tournament.
“We have a very talented side. In the T20 format it is very difficult to say what is going to happen. We need to try and find a balance because things sway towards both sides very quickly and before we know it there will be a lot of emotional highs and lows. If we can strike a balance in all that emotionally, our chances will improve even more,” he said.
“The one thing I am not going to be repeatedly talking about is the World Cup. It’s another tournament. The format is such that you are playing a different side every day. As it is the players will be under a lot of pressure and the basic job of the coach is to reduce that.”
He also said that the presence of youngsters does not mean that the team members will feel more pressure due to the stature of the tournament that they are playing in. “Sometimes we try to put into their heads whereas they don’t necessarily feel it (pressure). Youngsters don’t have fear, it is others who tell them that,” he said.
Talking about Richa, who could make her international debut at the World Cup, Raman said, “We had the case of Inzamam-Ul-Haq being picked (for the 1992 World Cup semi-final) and he played a match-winning knock and that too in a tight spot in the semi-final. Let’s not go by age and look at it positively. Has somebody told you that a 19-year-old who is picked for the World Cup for the first time can’t play? No.”
(Debayan Mukherjee can be contacted on [email protected])