'I told them the only birthday gift I want is the trophy. I'm not asking for much' - Skipper Shafali Verma ahead of U19 Women's T20 World Cup final

The U19 Women's T20 World Cup final will be played on January 29 between India and England.

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Shafali Verma
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Shafali Verma. (Photo by Pankaj Nangia/Getty Images)

India U-19 skipper Shafali Verma has reportedly asked her teammates to win the ICC U-19 T20 World Cup as a "birthday gift" to her.

Shafali Verma is celebrating her 19th birthday on January 28, 2023, in South Africa with her teammates on the eve of the all-important World Cup final on Sunday, January 29. India will be locking horns with England for the coveted title.

Want the trophy as birthday gift: Shafali Verma's message to her teammates

"When I joined up with this U-19 team, I told them the only birthday gift I want is the trophy. I'm not asking for much. No real preparation. Just going to enjoy the day. It would have been different if I was at home," the just-turned-19-year-old said as reported by ESPNcricinfo.

The explosive right-handed batter had a very clear message to give to her teammates - win the World Cup. She stated that all of them had worked very and immensely hard to be where they are, and they wouldn't want to go from South Africa empty-handed. The way she spoke, she exuded the maturity of a captain who is learning with every game.

The opener further went on to add that the loss to Australia has hurt the girls extremely, so much so that it caused them to have a sleepless night. But, gradually and quickly they backed themselves to ultimately keep progressing into the tournament, and thus perform brilliantly against New Zealand in the first semi final, hence breaking the 'Kiwi jinx' in ICC events. 

Speaking about her opponents, Verma stated that England have a good amount of all-rounders, but India are geared up for the challenge.

"Yes, it's a very good feeling to be in the final. Just want everyone to give their 100 percent. I had spoken after the match against Sri Lanka about us having trouble sleeping (after losing to Australia) but we've been able to execute everything we discussed after that game. There's a good mood in the camp. From what I've seen, they have a good bunch of all-rounders.

We have to continue backing our strengths, we don't need to try anything different. They've made it to the final, so obviously, they have been doing the right things. We need to keep backing our strengths, enjoy each other's performances. Keep backing each other on the field," she added.

She credited coach Nooshin Al Khadeer for creating a good environment for the players and letting them know about their roles clearly.

"The credit goes to Nooshin maám (sic). You want a coach to let the players know what their roles are and she's defined the roles clearly to everyone. You know a day in advance if you're playing. So, you have time to prepare. We enjoy each other's company a lot. I'd say I've played a small role in creating the environment. Shouldn't praise oneself too much for it," she mentioned.

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