Annesha Ghosh is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @ghosh_annesha
India batter Shafali Verma wants to use her maiden Test and ODI call-ups for the upcoming tour of England to improve her decision-making skills around playing and leaving deliveries as well maximising the length of her innings.
"[India] Women are getting to play their first Test in seven years. I have been given the chance [to be part of the Test squad], so my aim would be to learn from that Test match as much as I can about choosing the right balls to play, staying on in the middle as long as possible," Verma told ESPNcricinfo. "All formats - ODIs, T20Is, and Tests - have different experiences and lessons to offer, so I would be looking forward to learning from both the ODI and Test formats."
Verma, the youngest Indian woman to play T20I cricket and the youngest Indian to make an international half-century, made her India debut in September 2019. The 17-year old has since established herself as one of the most fearless strikers going around on the international circuit, playing in 22 T20Is. Her brisk starts and a tally of 163 runs in the opening position was pivotal to India's run to the T20 World Cup final last year in Australia.
Her inclusion in the Test and ODI squads also comes at a crucial juncture. India are due to play their first Test since 2014, as part of a multi-format, seven-match assignment against hosts England starting June 16. Besides, with the rescheduled ODI World Cup slated for March-April next year in New Zealand, her quick-hitting abilities could inject momentum in the run-scoring of India's 50-over unit, an aspect they were found especially wanting in during the 4-1 ODI series loss to South Africa at home in March.
Verma, who admits her favourite player in Tests is Australia's Steven Smith, was hopeful that should her maiden call-ups in the longer formats materialise into a place in the starting XI in the one-off Test or the three-match ODI series, lessons on evolving into a better batter would be there for the taking.
"Whenever I get a chance [call-up] like this, I look out for opportunities to play matches so that I am able to prove myself and my style of play and go on to build a good career for myself," Verma said. "Everyone feels good after getting their maiden call-ups, and I felt good, too. My goal [in the upcoming tour of England] would be to make sure I score well for my team."
Full interview out soon on ESPNcricinfo