Shafali Verma returns to India for the upcoming Australian tour – Set to miss Birmingham Phoenix’s Hundred eliminator

Indian batsmen Shafali Verma returns to squad training for their upcoming tour of Australia which is set to begin from September. The 17-year-old batsmen will miss Birmingham Phoenix’s Hundred eliminator against Oval Invincible on Friday. Indian players arrived in Bengaluru and have begun their quarantine period before starting their pre-tour camp.

Shafali arrived in The United Kingdom in early June to play for India against England. The young batsmen impressed highly during these months and then started playing for Phoenix from mid-July. Smriti Mandhana who also plays for Phoenix left the squad earlier to spend time with her family before the Australia tour.

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Phoenix captain Amy Jones admits that Shafali will be a huge loss for her side but claims that they enough squad depth to cover for the young batsman.

“Obviously Shafali was hitting her straps and we saw how dangerous she is against Welsh Fire so she is a big loss for us,” Jones said. “But we’re very lucky in that the girls who have been running the drinks in Marie Kelly, Thea and Ria are all very powerful hitters and are quality cricketers.

“They’ve been very unlucky not to get a game, to be honest. They’re definitely good enough to be playing in the tournament. It opens up a big opportunity for one of them to slot in. I’m sure there will be a bit of nerves around coming straight into a big game but I know all three of them would be more than ready to slot into the team.”

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After three straight wins, Phoenix reached the eliminators and captain Jones hopes to continue this run of form in the knockouts as well.

“To win three in a row is brilliant and we can feel that momentum,” she said. “Going into this game tomorrow I think we all need to remember that we’ve basically played in three knockout, must-win games, and take confidence from that.

“If I was playing for a different team, I wouldn’t want to play us at the moment. We have to remember that and take a lot of confidence from that going into it.

“I think we’ve seen throughout the tournament lots of close games. The outcomes have been unpredictable and that has kept everyone engaged. No-one really walked it – the Brave have obviously had a really good tournament but they have been challenged.”

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