Mon, 15 Aug 2022

Pallekele [Sri Lanka], July 6 (ANI): Indian opener Shafali Verma said that she has been working on her fitness and on taking more singles during her innings.

India will take on Sri Lanka in the final ODI of the three-match series in Pallekele. The visitors already have a winning 2-0 lead in the series.

Shafali Verma (71) had struck a huge 174-run stand with opener Smriti Mandhana (94) to win the second ODI by ten wickets after bundling SL out for just 173 runs.

"When we play in ODIs, we have to work on fitness and taking singles. I have been working on that. I watched some of my matches and found that I lack in taking singles. I felt that I should work more on rotating the strike and have done that. I did that in T20Is [against Sri Lanka] - taking singles of good balls. I was looking to play longer innings. I want to better myself," said Verma in a press conference ahead of the final ODI.

The opener credits her stint in the Women's Big Bash League with Sydney Sixers last year for changes in her otherwise aggressive batting approach. After a poor start as an opener, she played in the middle order alongside the likes of Ellyse Perry, Alyssa Healy, Ashleigh Gardner and Nicole Bolton.

"I learnt that you can take singles, and single-doubles can then lead to a lot of boundaries," she said.

The batter has a great equation with her opening partner Smriti Mandhana, with who she has opened 14 times in the format. The duo has stitched together five fifty-run stands before their huge stand in the second ODI. Verma said that the opener always supports her on and off the field.

"She tells me my mistakes and where we can improve as a pair. We enjoy talking to each other on the field and there's good bonding and are looking to have more partnerships," she added.

Shafali is not only limited to batting as she bowled regularly in the domestic Senior Women's T20 Trophy this year and was given the ball during the first T20I against SL and she dismissed Ama Kanchana.

"I have been bowling in the nets for a long time. In this domestic season, I got a chance to bowl and got a lot of confidence. During our match simulation [with the national side] I bowled well and Harry [Harmanpreet Kaur] di supported me and told me to work more on my bowling. So I have been practising single-wicket bowling in the nets," she told in the press conference.

Shafali has not ruled out the possibility of participating in the upcoming WBBL, but she said that she would think over it given the long season ahead for India.

After their assignment in Sri Lanka, India will travel to Birmingham for Commonwealth Games followed by a bilateral series against England. Later, Women's T20 World Cup will take place in February 2023 in South Africa.

"Because it is a long season - there are Commonwealth Games and [T20] World Cup - I have not thought much about the WBBL. We will see," she said. (ANI)

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