Smriti Mandhana: The Challenger In Indian Women’s Cricket Team
Smriti Mandhana, the 26-year-old women batsman, grabbed the attention of the whole cricket world when she scored a double century, an unbeaten 224 from 150 balls, to become the first woman to achieve a double century in One Day Internationals. Cricket is in the blood of Smriti. Her father, Shrinivas Mandhana, was a cricketer at the district level. Her brother, Shravan Mandhana, played for the Maharashtra State Under-16. Quite naturally, Smriti started liking cricket from an early age. Noticing her devotion to the game, the Mandhana family decided to support her in every way to fulfil her dream. While her father managed her practice schedule, her mother looked after her diet, clothing and other requirements. Her brother Shravan ensured her regular net practice by bowling to her. With such a fabulous family to support her, Smriti was bound to become a promising player in the Indian women’s team as per cricket match latest news.
Regular practice and a balanced lifestyle made it smooth for Smriti to enter the Under-15 cricket team of Maharashtra at the age of just nine years. Her confidence and consistent performances helped her to secure a place in the Under-19 cricket team within two years.
Smriti’s focused attitude and tremendous determination to excel in the art of batting made her a master of all forms of cricket. She made her debut in T20I, ODI and Test cricket almost simultaneously. Her T20 international debut took place against Bangladesh on April 5, 2013. She joined the One Day International cricket team on April 10, 2013, against Bangladesh. A year later, on August 13, 2014, she marked her debut in test cricket against England.
The players and the selectors appreciate Smriti’s sense of discipline. Her records came one after another to prove her merit as a batsman in the world of women’s cricket. The cricketing video of her matches is spectacular. Her exceptional individual score of 192 in the Women’s Challenger’s Trophy in 2016 established her as the top scorer in the tournament. She was selected by Brisbane Heat for one year, alongside Harmanpreet Kaur, to play for the Women’s Big Bash League in 2016. Her potential as a batsman made her the first Indian women cricketer to appear as part of the Kia Super League in 2018. The year proved a landmark one for her, as she received another opportunity to be part of the Women’s Big bash League for the season, 2018-19, appearing for the Hobart Hurricanes’ team. She rejoined the Women’s Big Bash League again for the season 2021-22 in the Sydney Thunder squad and remarkably equaled the record of 114 not out in the Women’s Big Bash League.
Smriti never failed to give her best in all the matches she played for her team. Her test debut in 2014 against England brought victory to her team. The first century came from her bat when she played the second One Day International match in 2016 on India’s tour of Australia. Her striking 102 from 109 deliveries made her the only Indian cricket player to appear in the ICC list of the Women’s Team of the Year for 2016. Smriti’s merit as a batsman ensured her place in the Indian team for the Women’s Cricket World Cup in 2017. Unfortunately, despite her brilliant performance, in the final match, India lost to England by only nine runs.
Smriti’s unmatched determination to deliver her best kept the opportunities for better performances coming her way. In February 2018, Smriti made the cricket world speechless with her fastest fifty runs against New Zealand from just 24 balls. In March 2018, she snatched the honour of the player of the series for three Women’s One Day International matches in England. Smriti’s solid performances in the Women’s World T20 tournament in the West Indies made her eligible for the rare feat of becoming the third women cricketer to score 1000 runs in Women’s One Day International matches. She also created the record as the highest scorer in the Women’s One Day internationals with 669 runs. These achievements were enough to receive two of the most prestigious awards for a woman cricketer in a year. Smriti bagged the ICC women’s ODI Player of the Year award and the ICC Women’s Cricketer of the year award.
The following year, in 2019, Smriti’s dream to lead the Indian Women’s team became successful. She received the post of captain of the Indian women’s T20 International team for three vital matches against England. This new responsibility created a record in the history of cricket, as Smriti became the youngest T20 International captain for India. Consistency became the middle name of Smriti Mandhana as she kept smashing record after record. In her 51st innings, she became the third fastest batsman to score 2000 runs in Women’s One Day Internationals. She also holds the individual record for being the first Indian woman Cricketer to achieve a century in both the test matches and the one-day internationals in Australia. She won the International Woman Cricketer of the year award in 2019. She has another rare award in her collection, namely the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Award for ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year for 2021.
The success story of this young lady cricketer is an inspiration for all. When girls of her age settled in classrooms for some general careers in future, Smriti turned her attention to something she always loved. Her passion for the game paid off in later years. She added style to her game, wearing the No. 18 jersey for the Indian Women’s Cricket team. Her happy attitude and skilled left-hand batsmanship consolidated her position as the opener for the Women’s team. She is the second Cricketer from India to become a part of a foreign T20 league. Smriti’s development took place under the guidance of her father and brother. Like every player, she needed extended hours of practice, but going to Mumbai or Bangalore was not possible for her. So she built a concrete pitch with her savings to get trained under the able guidance of the state junior coach, Anant Tambwekar. Smriti Mandhana’s contributions to Indian cricket have made the country proud of her.
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