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I can’t wait to get back on the ground and meet other players: Shafali Verma

cricketer Shafali Verma

Recent reports in the cricketing world have suggested that the 2020 IPL Women’s Challenger is well and truly on course, and is set to take place during the week of 4-9 November. The third season of the Women’s Challenger is set to continue the tradition of last year, with three teams taking part and four matches played between them. Although we’re still waiting for the official confirmation from BCCI.

16-year-old Shafali Verma has been a massive beneficiary of the Women’s Challenger and gained national attention after she showcased her six-hitting skills in the Women’s T20 Challenge last year. Since then, she solidified her place in the Indian team and played a massive role in India’s run to the finals of this year’s T20 World Cup. Making her debut at the tender age of 15, Verma has scored 487 runs in 19 innings at an explosive strike rate of over 146.

Also Read: Shafali Verma, Smriti Mandhana And Jemimah Rodrigues In T20 Rankings Top 10

Verma said in an interview with ANI, “The BCCI, like every other organisation, is dealing with issues because of COVID and it is understandable. The very fact that the Challenger would be happening is great news and I can’t wait to get back on the ground and meet the other players! Yes there will be restrictions but that’s only for our safety.”

The lockdown has impacted lives all around the world, and the sporting sector has been one of the worst-hit industries. Major events including the ICC T20 World Cup have been cancelled due to the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic. Sportspeople, too have been majorly affected by the lack of game time, and even the legends of Indian cricket like Kohli and Dhoni have struggled to find their feet post the long break, as we’ve seen in the ongoing IPL.

Speaking on the impact of lockdown, Verma said, “The lockdown was an unforeseen situation but I looked to use it to the best of my ability and worked hard on my fitness so that I am ready to go when action resumes. The HCA has been a great strength for us in these times as we were given not just fitness charts, but even our nutritional facts were kept a check on so that as sportspersons we don’t lag behind.”

Months of lockdown at a stretch also has a massive impact on one’s mental health, and the extended pause has made us all realize the importance of good mental health. Verma, said in the interview to ANI, “The sessions with a sports psychologist helped as negativity can creep in during such times when you are stuck indoors, but the HCA ensured that we were kept motivated and knew what awaits us when normalcy returns.”

This article was published first on Female Cricket.