04:40 GMT +323 November 2019
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    In this photo taken on September 28, 2019 cricketer Shafali Verma trains during an Indian cricket team practice session in Surat, ahead of a Twenty20 match between India and South Africa

    Twitterati Amazed as Indian Teenager Reveals She Dressed as Boy to Train in Cricket Academy

    © AFP 2019 / STR
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): Social media was stunned to learn that a teenage girl, who recently debuted in an international cricket match against South Africa, had to disguise herself as a boy to train at the cricket academy.

    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.

    ​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.

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