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India fielding coach R Sridhar praises Shafali Verma, finds shades of Sehwag

Fielding coach R Sridhar, facing questions at the end of washed-out Day 1 of the WTC final, said the 'Men in Blue' have been religiously following the women's team's Test, where Shafali Verma has struck twin 50s.

By: PTI |
June 18, 2021 9:39:42 pm
Shafali Verma celebrates reaching her first Test 50 in Bristol (AP)

Indian men’s fielding coach R Sridhar was all praise for batting sensation Shafali Verma, who has impressed one and all with her twin half-centuries on Test debut against England.

In fact, Sridhar said that the whole Indian team whenever they had time off from training have been glued to the Test match and mighty impressed by the Haryana teenager’s pyrotechnics.

“Shafali, so much reminds us of Viru (Virender Sehwag), doesn’t she? The way she plays and her mindset is so clear, so we are enjoying the innings from Shafali. I wish she had got a hundred in the first innings,” Sridhar said at the virtual press conference after the first day of the World Test Championship final against New Zealand was called off due to rain.

“And well played to both Smriti (Mandhana) and Shafali, what a rollicking start they gave us in the first innings and unfortunately, we couldn’t capitalise on that, but great test match going there,” added Sridhar.

In the one-off India women’s Test against England women, debutant Shafali made an impressive 96 in the first essay and has scored an unbeaten 50 in the ongoing second essay after the visitors were enforced a follow-on.

Smriti Mandhana too chipped in with a patient 78, striking 14 boundaries.

The fielding coach also said that the ‘Men in Blue’ are watching the women in action and encouraging the girls.

“We have not missed a bit of the girls’ game right from day one. We have almost seen it, whenever we can except for the times we were out for practise. All of us have seen the game, it has been live going on in our rooms, in our team room, in our breakfast area and even today, when we are (were) for the rain to stop, all of us were sitting together and watching the girl’s game and encouraging our girls,” he said.

“Now they are fighting to get back into the game, claw their way back into the game, seeing Deepti (Sharma) put up a stoic performance there, she has played a few balls for her one or two runs when I left (for the press conference),” Sridhar added.

The fielding coach also loved the Bristol pitch, where the Women’s Test is being played.

“Looking at the wicket, we thought, maybe we could play the finals there. The ball is turning a bit, so we (are) just wondering if we shift the finals from here to Bristol, what do you reckon,” he quipped.

The four-day Test match ends on Saturday.

Our playing XI was picked taking conditions out of equation: Sridhar

Sridhar ruled out the possibility of a change in the playing XI after the opening day of the World Test Championship final against New Zealand was washed out, insisting that the chosen players are capable of making conditions irrelevant.

“I was expecting this to be first question. The eleven that has been announced is eleven that takes conditions out of equation,” Sridhar told the media after the opening day wash-out.

“I think its the eleven which can play and perform on any given surface and any given weather conditions. This eleven that has been put on park. If need be, a decision will be taken.”

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