India’s all-rounder Deepti Sharma on Friday announced to join her compatriot Smriti Mandhana in the squad of Western Storm for the KIA Super League, a women’s Twenty20 competition organised by the England and Wales Cricket Board. Western Storm signed the 21-year-old Deepti, who is the second best all-rounder in ODIs, claimed, “I am looking forward to the challenge of playing in the KIA Super League. Every player wants to play alongside and against the best in the world, and this will give me the opportunity to do that,” Hindustan Times reported. “I have heard good things about Western Storm from Smriti and I can’t wait to contribute to the team’s success on the field,” she added.
The young cricketer has played in 30 IT20s, in 48 ODIs, taking 56 wickets at an average 27.39 with a best of six for 20. She also averages 41.81 with the bat in ODI cricket.
“Deepti is a quality player with a huge amount of experience at the very highest level and she will bring something a little bit different to our squad this year,” Western Storm head coach, Trevor Griffin said. “Continuity of selection is something that has played a huge role in our success over the last few years, and therefore we felt it was important to sign overseas players who will be with us for the duration of the campaign,” coach added.
BREAKING: We are delighted to announce the signing of @BCCIWomen star Deepti Sharma for the 2019 Kia Super League!
— Western Storm (@_WesternStorm) June 28, 2019
“She’s still only 21 but she will bring a huge amount of experience and knowledge to our dressing room. She is currently rated as the second-best all-rounder in the world in one-day cricket by the ICC, so her quality is there for all to see,” added Griffin.
- 21-year-old Sharma is a left-handed batswoman in the team who holds various records in batting, bowling and partnership.
- The youngest in a family of seven siblings, Deepti was inspired to get into cricket by her brother and father. When Deepti was just nine, she relentlessly pestered her father, Bhagwan Sharma, who is a retired chief booking supervisor with Indian Railways, to allow her brother Sumit to be her cricket coach.
- She became more enthused the first time she held her brother’s kit bag. Sumit is a former medium-pacer who represented Uttar Pradesh in the Under-22 CK Nayudu Trophy.
- One day, Sumit took Deepti to one of his net sessions at the Ekalavya Sports Stadium in the Sharmas’ hometown of Agra. Amidst his practice, Deepti’s talent was spotted by Hemlata Kala, the former India batsman and current chairperson of the BCCI women’s selection panel, who watched her hit the stumps with a ball in the first attempt. Kala asked Sumit about the girl with the “boy-cut” hairdo and said: “Let her play. This kid will represent India someday.”
- All-rounder Deepti made her T20 debut against Australia in Sydney in January 2016, playing in her first ICC WWT20.
- This youngster from Uttar Pradesh has earned a great achievement so far — becoming a part of a 320-run partnership by the Indian women’s team — the highest ever – male of female — for a first wicket partnership. The highest among men is 286. Deepti with Poonam Raut scored 320 vs Ireland.
- To name a few more records Deepti has made: she has hit 27 fours, which is the highest ever in an international women’s cricket match.
- The teenage player is the third youngest person to score 150 in international cricket — a record set by a player across genders.
- Deepti is a part of an elite club of under-20 players with 150s to their names which till now had male cricketer till date.
- Sharma is now the second highest scorer in women’s ODIs with 188 score. Belinda Clark of Australia, who had scored 229 against Denmark in 1997, being the first.
Feature Image Credit: Hindustan Times