India back fearless T20 young gun Verma

Aggressive Indian opener Shafali Verma shapes as a threat to Australia in the T20 World Cup.
Aggressive Indian opener Shafali Verma shapes as a threat to Australia in the T20 World Cup.

India have backed dynamic teenage batter Shafali Verma to take her fearless approach into the Twenty20 World Cup opener against Australia.

The 16-year-old was unfazed playing against Australia in the recent tri-series, hitting 49 from 28 in India's win over the hosts in Melbourne.

The youngster - who debuted at age 15 last year - regularly took on Ellyse Perry and at one stage hit the Australian star back over her head down the ground.

The World Cup though shapes as her biggest test, in what will be the opener's first global tournament.

But captain Harmanpreet Kaur says there's no reason why she can't take her aggressive approach into Friday's clash at the Sydney Showgrounds.

"Shafali is someone who loves to play her shots and always look positive," Kaur said.

"That's her approach for the team and she is someone who loves playing cricket.

"She understands her role for the team and she will definitely enjoy this tournament."

Verma's stunning summer also included a run-scoring blitz against Australia A, where she whacked 124 off just 78 balls in one game.

She has fashioned a career strike rate of more than 140 from her 14 Twenty20 internationals, and will relish what appears to be a good batting wicket in Sydney.

The right-hander is the youngest player in an Indian squad that has an average age of just 22 - the lowest in the tournament.

"Young players are mentally very fresh, they don't know what type of pressure they have to face," Kaur said, unconcerned by the youth policy.

"They love playing cricket, that's why they are in this side and they are definitely enjoying this moment."

Australian Associated Press