Women’s cricket star Shafali Verma shaved her hair to play as a boy in India

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How a teenage cricket star was forced to chop all her hair off and pretend she was a boy for a YEAR just so she could play in her hometown – and she has no intention of growing it back

  • Shafali Verma is a star opening batsman with India in all three forms of the game
  • Verma, 17, radically cut her hair at 14 in order to play junior boys cricket in India 
  • She went on to feature in a women’s T20 international match for India aged 15
  • Verma is contracted with the Sydney Sixers, opens the batting with Alyssa Healy 


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Women’s cricket star Shafali Verma was forced to shave off her hair and pretend to be a boy at the age of 14 so she could have a chance at a professional sporting career.

With no elite academy pathways for emerging female cricketers in her home town of Rohtak, 65km from Delhi, she and her father Sanjeev went to extreme lengths.

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The dynamic Indian opening batsman quickly became an integral member for her local team – and it took a year for her teammates she realise she was a girl.

Earlier, the same teammates politely told her she couldn’t play in the XI as they feared she could be injured playing against boys.

Standout Indian cricketer Shafali Verma cut her hair at the age of 14 to play boys cricket

Standout Indian cricketer Shafali Verma cut her hair at the age of 14 to play boys cricket

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By 15, Verma was the youngest cricketer to play in a women’s Twenty20 international and then played in the T20 World Cup last year aged 16.

She has also had a memorable 2021, etching herself into the history books as the youngest Indian cricketer – male or female – to play all three international formats of the game.

Verma is a key member of the Sydney Sixers in the women’s T20 Big Bash League, opening the batting with Australian star Alyssa Healy.

The teenager thumped 57 off 50 balls in her team’s thrilling win over the Hobart Hurricanes at Bellerive Oval last Sunday.

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The bold move paid off, with Verma (pictured with her Sydney Sixers teammates) making her international women's debut for India aged 15

The bold move paid off, with Verma (pictured with her Sydney Sixers teammates) making her international women’s debut for India aged 15

Shafali Verma has gone onto represent India in all three forms of the sport (pictured with her brother Sahil)

Shafali Verma has gone onto represent India in all three forms of the sport (pictured with her brother Sahil)

She also has no intention of growing her hair back anytime soon. 

‘I want to keep it this way as I’m used to it now with the helmet,’ she told the Sydney Morning Herald.

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Verma is relishing her time in magenta, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Healy, all-rounder Ellyse Perry, and Ash Gardner.

‘It’s a good learning experience for me,’ she said.

‘I’m always talking with them about what they’re doing, what I am struggling with, and they always give me support.’

It also took her junior cricket teammates a year to discover she was a girl - and she has no plans to grow back her hair

It also took her junior cricket teammates a year to discover she was a girl – and she has no plans to grow back her hair

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