Women's T20 World Cup: Shafali Verma an important member of our team, says captain Harmanpreet

At the official welcome event for the India and Australia women's teams, captain Harmanpreet Kaur spoke of young opener Shafali Verma's importance to the team.

Meg Lanning and Harmanpreet Kaur

Australia and India women's team captains Meg Lanning and Harmanpreet Kaur at an official welcome event at the Sydney Opera House.   -  Getty Images

Skipper Harmanpreet Kaur pointed to Shafali Verma as the pick of the youngsters in India’s ICC Women's T20 World Cup squad. Exciting opening batter Shefali, 16, is expected to play a crucial role in India’s campaign at the mega-event. India takes on host Australia in the tournament opener at Sydney Showground Stadium here on Friday.

“This year, we have a few new faces in the team. Shafali has been doing very well, and we are very happy for her. She understands her game very well. She is a very important part of the team,” Harmanpreet said at the official welcome event for the Australian and Indian teams at the Sydney Opera House here on Thursday.

Harmanpreet is counting on fan support to boost her team's morale. “Everyone loves cricket in India. Whether you play in India or abroad, we always get support. I love the fact that wherever we play in the world, we always have Indian fans in the stadium," Harmanpreet said.

Read: ICC Women's T20 World Cup 2020: Five Indians to watch out for

Australian captain Meghann Lanning spoke about the pressures of playing at home. “Our players have had a chat about handling the pressures of playing at home. But there will always be pressure involved in playing a big event like the World Cup, regardless of
where it is played. Everyone starts on an even keel; there is no real advantage or disadvantage to playing at home. It’s going to be a massive challenge, starting with the match against India on Friday. We’re hoping for a big crowd and lots of support,” Lanning said.

The teams were welcomed by Stuart Ayres, MLC Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney, Bronnie Taylor, MLC Minister for Mental Health, Regional Youth and Women and ICC T20 World Cup CEO Nick Hockley.

Meghann and Harmanpreet were presented with
commemorative cricket bats painted by Wollongong indigenous artist Zachary Bennett-Brook. In light of the recent bushfires, 30 junior players from Camden Cricket Club presented each player with an annual koala adoption from Port Stephens Koalas, a gift that helps with the rescue and treatment of sick and injured koalas in the region.

(The writer is in Sydney on invitation from Destination NSW)

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