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IND-W Vs ENG-W, One-Off Test: Who Is Deepti Sharma, The Ben Stokes Of Indian Women's Cricket Team

India women's cricket team's latest triumph against England in the one-off Test match was led by none other than all-rounder Deepti Sharma

Indias Deepti Sharma (left) celebrates a wicket with Jemimah Rodrigues
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Indian women's cricket team completed a famous win over England women's in the one-off Test match with a massive 346-run victory. Deepti Sharma returned with match figures of 9/39 in 13.3 overs (5/7, 4/32) to go with her defiant 67 with the bat in the first innings. (Match Report | More Cricket News)

After the win, head coach Amol Muzumdar hailed the star all-rounder, who he refers to as the 'Ben Stokes' of the Indian team.

"I jokingly call Deepti (Sharma) 'Stokesy' (Ben Stokes' nickname). Nine wickets and a fifty, she's an important cog in the wheel and it's important for her confidence."

The Indian women's head coach comparisons of Stokes with Deepti is down to purely due to the latter being an all-rounder.

Who Is 'Ben Stokes'?
Benjamin Andrew Stokes is an English men's senior cricketer and is currently their Test captain. His 'never give up' attitude on the field makes him one of the most fiercest competitor in the world of cricket. Deepti's resilience on the cricketing field perhaps what Muzumdar attributes to and thus the comparisons with the English men's senior cricketer.

Deepti's fifer and a half-century made her only the second Indian after Shubhangi Kulkarni to record such a feat.

Deepti, 26, herself stated that she was proud of her effort. "Feels very good because we were waiting for the Test to start. It's a proud feeling and we bowled according to plan. We were quite calm batting on the first day, trying to build partnerships, that's it," she said.

"I was just waiting to bowl and keeping myself warmed up, got a lot of help from the wicket and I backed myself. Harry Di (skipper Harmanpreet Kaur) was saying 'Bowl in your areas and the turn will help you'. We want to continue this in the next Test."

Deepti was born in Agra and played her domestic cricket with the Bengal cricket team. In 2017, a 19-year-old Deepti Sharma blasted 188 runs -- the second-highest score in women's ODI cricket and the highest by an Indian cricketer -- against South Africa women.

In 2015-16, BCCI named her the best woman junior cricketer.

The youngest of the seven siblings in the Sharma family, Deepti set on to the path led by her brother Sunit, a former medium-pace bowler with Uttar Pradesh in the under-22 CK Nayudu Trophy. Her father, Bhagwan Sharma, was a chief booking supervisor with Indian Railways whereas her mother Sushila, is a retired principal with a government school.

Deepti scored an unbeaten 53 for India A in 2014 which earned her a maiden India senior team call-up. She even scalped two wickets on debut against South Africa in Bengaluru. In the third ODI, she took 6/20, making her the youngest-ever Indian to take a five-for.

In February 2023, Deepti was ranked no. 2 bowler by the ICC in the women's T20Is, just behind English spinner Sophie Ecclestone. She was snapped up by the UP Warriorz for INR 2.6 crores in the last WPL auction. Only RCB paid more for Smriti Mandhana (INR 3.4 cr).

In 2022, Deepti courted controversy during an ODI match against England at Lord's. Deepti ran Charlie Dean put in a controversial manner and it reignited the debate of 'Spirit Of Cricket'.

“Woh plan tha hum logon ka, kyunki woh baar baar... Hum warn bhi kar chuke the usko. Jo rules mein hain, jo guidelines hain, uske according hi humne kiya (We had planned this as she was not paying heed to our repeated warnings. We acted according to the rules and the guidelines,” Deepti told reporters post the controversy.

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