Have made a conscious effort to improve strike rotation: Shafali

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Young Indian opener Shafali Verma, who is known for her big-hitting prowess, says she is making a conscious effort to improve her strike rotation to become a better cricketer. The 18-year-old slammed a run-a-ball 71 not out, her career-best score in ODIs, in an unbroken 174-run partnership with Smriti Mandhana (94 not out) as India decimated the hosts by 10 wickets here on Monday to take a unassailable 2-0 lead in the three match series.

The 18-year-old has not been able to maintain consistency in her performances, especially in the 50-over format. “Having seen my past matches, I thought I lacked in taking singles, so I’ve worked on it. I’m trying to be better as I feel taking singles is very important to build your innings in ODIs,” Shafali said on the eve of the third and final ODI of the series.

“If it’s a good ball, it’s about taking singles and rotating the strike. If you keep rotating strike, scoring boundaries become easy. I’m also working a lot on my fitness.” In the preceding T20 series, Shafali failed to convert her starts and got out for 31, 17 and 5 in the three matches.
But in the ODIs, she scored her first half-century in the format since the one against South Africa in the World Cup in March. With a modest target in sight, the duo focused on taking singles and twos as they kept piling misery on the Lankan attack.

49 of her 71 runs came in singles and twos as she along with her senior teammate slowly built the partnership before chasing it down in 25.4 overs. “She’s (Smriti) supporting me well on and off the field, telling me my mistakes and where I can improve. We enjoy talking to each other, we hope to keep it going, and form more such partnerships.” India now have Harmanpreet Kaur leading the side in all formats after the Mithali Raj’s retirement.

Shafali said the new skipper constantly backs youngsters. “Harry Di (Harmanpreet) supports youngsters a lot. We have a lot of youngsters in the team. She has developed a culture where we keep our communications going, keep talking to each other. Yes, there’s a good team culture now.” Shafali was also seen bowling slow off-breaks in the series and said it was her skipper’s idea. “I always bowled in the nets and recently got a chance to bowl in domestic cricket and got confidence from there. Harry Di also supported me, it was her idea and she told me to keep practising at the nets. I’m trying to work more on it,” she signed off.





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