Cricketer Shafali Verma was forced to disguise her true sex after being consistently turned down by several cricket academies in the Indian town of Rohtak.
Shafali, who had aspirations to play professionally, says she chopped off her hair because no academy in her town would admit girls.
She recently debuted as the youngest woman player to ever play Twenty20 International (T20I) cricket for India against South Africa.
Shafali’s story touched a lot of netizens who took to Twitter to share their reactions.
India's youngest T20I player had to be enrolled as a boy in order to train.— Nischal (WazirX) ⚡️ (@NischalShetty) October 3, 2019
Nation progresses one step at a time and this is definitely the right step forward 🇮🇳
We need to keep fighting for Crypto in India 💪https://t.co/bKArRajLPE
We perform gender but we have to guise ourselves to perform "outside" it. Youngest Indian women T-20 cricketer was trained as a boy to be eligible to join an academy. Nevertheless kudos to Shefali! #t20womens #Cricket #india https://t.co/7hEI9IJcvj— sarayus (@sarayu_s_) October 3, 2019
"The seeds of Shafali’s passion for cricket were sown when Sachin was playing his last Ranji Trophy match against Haryana at Lahli in 2013."— Ankur Bhardwaj (@Bhayankur) October 3, 2019
Was there for that match. Have never seen such madness anywhere.
These are the stuffs our dreams are made of. Lovely story.— Anuradha Shukla (@anu1122) October 3, 2019
Shafali Verma: India’s youngest T20I debutante trained as a boy as no Rohtak academy would admit girls https://t.co/QUunAxHytM
What an Incredible Inning by 15 year Old Girl, Shafali Verma in her 2nd T20I match. At the age of 15, I was just worried to score a good marks in class 10 and spending a time on think about our Education System 😌. Shafali scoring the runs at International Level 😍#ShafaliVerma— Harsh Dhamecha (@HarshDhamecha3) October 1, 2019
Need any motivation in life?— Gomesh🏏 (@theumpires_call) October 3, 2019
Take a look at Shafali Verma's story! https://t.co/aou5sK88f5
Sanjeev Verma, Shafali’s cricket-mad father, said he approached a lot of cricket academies but none of them would train his daughter. He therefore enrolled her disguised as a boy, the daily newspaper Times of India reported.
Sanjeev also spoke about how people from his area negatively judged his family for letting their daughter dress up and play cricket “like a boy.”
Shafali is the second youngest player to play an international match for the Indian team after Gargi Banerji who debuted as a professional One Day International cricketer at the age of 14 in 1978.
Meanwhile, local media reports suggest that Women’s cricket is set to be the next big thing in world cricket.
Not only are women’s leagues like the Big Bash or the Kia super league in England gaining in viability, but a 20,000 crowd turned up to watch the final of a women's exhibition match in Jaipur earlier this year.
Shafali earned her India debut based on an impressive domestic season where she amassed 1,923 runs, including six hundreds and three half-centuries.
On 2 October, the batswoman smashed 46 off 33 balls as the Indian women's cricket team beat South Africa by 51 runs in the fourth T20I and clinched the series 2-0.
The standard-10 student has been touted by many as India’s India’s next superstar by the likes of English woman cricketer Danielle Wyatt and Mithali Raj, who is the former captain of the Indian women's national cricket team in Tests and One Day Internationals.