New Delhi : India and Harmanpreet look to the next generation. Women in Blue will need teenage batter Verma to fire if they want to win the first title.

Indians are looking to a new generation of talented young cricketers led by teenage batter Shafali Verma to propel them to a first Women's T20 World Cup title this month.

Long-serving skipper Mithali Raj and record breaking fast bowler Jhulan Goswami, trailblazers for Women's cricket in India, both retired last year.

New captain Harmanpreet Kaur said both players are still on hand to give advice, but it is time to look forward.

''Whenever we need they are always available to us, that's what you expect from senior players,'' the 33-year-old told a recent press conference.

''Nobody can fill their places, but the young girls who are getting the chances are doing well.''

One of the players who has grabbed her chance is Verma, an attacking opening batter who led India to victory in the inaugural U19 T20 World Cup in South Africa last month.

The 19-year-old will be back on familiar ground for the T20 World Cup, which is again in South Africa.

It starts on February 10 and India are chasing a break through first title, having been runners-up behind hosts Australia in the last edition, in 2020.

Their first match is against arch-rivals Pakistan on February 12 in Cape Town.

Verma made her international debut at the age of just 15 and was in the team that reached the T20 World Cup final in 2020.

She also played in the one-day World Cup and was member of the Indian side which took silver at last year's Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

The youngster looks up big-hitting England batsman Liam Livingstone for inspiration and considers Indian great Sachin Tendulkar a role model.

After captaining India to victory in the U19 World Cup, Verma said : ''This is just the beginning.'' [AFP]


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