“When I grow up I want to be like Pari Sharma,” said West Indies cricketer Shai Hope. England’s Michael Atherton called her “exceptional”, while Michael Vaughan said her movement at the crease is “as good as it gets”. When one fan suggested that Pari needs to be ‘discovered’, Indian women’s team cricketer Shikha Pandey said she could use some lessons from the seven-year-old.
So why is Pari getting so much praise from professional cricketers? Some of it is down to the balance of her head when playing strokes, her shot selection and her wrist-work. The seven-year-old was pretty clear when asked about her plans.
“My dream is to crack all world records in women’s cricket and to establish a new level in the women’s game,” Pari told indianexpress.com.
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Pari, who lives in Haryana’s Rohtak, is coached by her father Pardeep Sharma, a former cricketer whose teammates at the university level included former Indian cricketers Ajay Ratra and Joginder Sharma.
“Pari has not played any big matches yet, but it is good people are talking about her technique,” he said.
“I have been training Pari at home since she was four years old. It was my dream to make it big as a cricketer, now I hope my daughter fulfils my unrealised dream. These days, she plays with 14 to 15-year-old boys in training at local cricket academies,” he said.
Pardeep said he had been uploading videos of her batting for a long time, but one particular video drew attention from across the globe earlier this week after a cricket website asked him for permission to use it.
“Pari is still only seven-and-a-half-years-old and has a long way to go. I am her coach but Vidya Paradkar (a coach from Mumbai who has worked with the likes of Ajinkya Rahane and Zaheer Khan) also guides and motivates her,” he said.
Speaking about Shafali Verma, the 17-year-old opener in the Indian team who also hails from Rohtak, Pardeep said, “She has good aggression and the right approach, but she needs to work on her technique a lot more.”
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