NEW DELHI: History was scripted in South Africa on January 29 when India won the inaugural ICC Under-19 Women’s T20 World Cup, thereby ushering in a glorious chapter in the annals of the women cricket in the country.
Interestingly, the Indian boys had also won the Under-19 World Cup in the Caribbean last year.
In a lopsided final, the Indian girls defeated England by seven wickets to crown themselves with glory. Throughout the tournament, they played like champions and didn’t lose a single match.
BCCI bounty to winners
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) was quick to acknowledge the stupendous feat of the young girls, with its president Jay Shah announcing a cash award of Rs 5 crore to each member of the team. In a ‘special gesture’, he also invited the entire team to witness the third T20 between India and New Zealand held in Ahmedabad.
As regards the outstanding stars of the U19 World Cup triumph, special mention must be made of two players – Captain Shefali Verma and Shweta Sherawat. While Shefali contributed consistently with the bat, Shweta was the best batswoman and emerged the top scorer of the tournament with 297 runs from seven innings. More importantly, she had a terrific average of 99, a rarity in the women’s game, and was only dismissed thrice in the whole tournament Delhi-based Shweta hails from Mahipalpur, an urban village, before shifting to Vasant Kunj, where she currently resides.
Dream comes true Speaking to Blitz India, Shweta said she had dreamt of winning a World Cup for India ever since she was a 12-year-old. “I was good at the game and sometimes used to play with boys in order to hone my skills.”
According to her, “one good thing was that my parents firmly backed me in whatever I did.” They had undergone a lot of sacrifices to help her realise her dream and she will always be indebted to them, Shweta added with tears in her eyes. Asked whether she thought that she would emerge as the best batter in the tournament, Shweta replied: “Honestly, I didn’t expect to score so many runs.”
Shweta’s idol is Sachin Tendulkar and she has modelled her game on the Little Master. “I try to play as straight as possible, replicating when he plays the drive. I also try to be aggressive from the start, as I don’t allow the bowlers to get into their rhythm,” she said.