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Shafali Verma: The 15-year-old Rohtak girl who beat Sachin Tendulkar

Teen sensation
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Teen sensation

Fifteen-year-old Shafali Verma became the youngest Indian cricketer to score a half-century in international cricket, her 49-ball 73 in the first T20 International against West Indies surpassed Sachin Tendulkar's 30-year-old record.

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Sachin's record
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Sachin's record

Tendulkar was 16 years and 214 days when he scored his maiden halfcentury (59, vs Pakistan at Faisalabad in 1989). At 15 years and 267 days,UAE’s Kavisha Egodage is the youngest woman to score an international 50, against Malayasia in Jan 2019).

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Backed by Smriti Mandhana
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Backed by Smriti Mandhana

The Haryana teenager shared a record opening stand of 143 -- India's highest partnership in women's T20Is -- with Smriti Mandhana to help her team post a challenging 185 for four after being asked to take first strike by the hosts.

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Trained as a boy
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Trained as a boy

Verma started her cricket training in the guise of a boy as there were no academies for girls in her hometown. The 15-year-old batswoman, who became the youngest T20I debutant for the Indian women’s cricket team, chopped her hair on the instructions of her cricket-mad father, Sanjeev Verma, after every cricket academy in Haryana’s Rohtak district refused her admission.

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No place for girls, she was told
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No place for girls, she was told

“No one was ready to induct her in any academy because there was not a single one for girls in Rohtak. I literally begged them to give her a chance but in vain,” recalled Sanjeev, who runs a small jewellery shop in Rohtak.

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Bat girl
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Bat girl

Sanjeev had to face constant interference by pesky neighbours and relatives for years. “Neighbours and relatives started to taunt me. ‘Teri ladki ladkon ke saath khelti hai, ladkiyon ka koi future nahi hai cricket mein (Your daughter plays with boys, girls have no future in cricket).’

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Copyright © 2019 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All rights reserved. For reprint rights: Times Syndication Service