Why Is Smriti Mandhana The Rising Star Of Women’s Cricket?

We all love a good underdog story, don't we? That's exactly the kind of tale that Smriti Mandhana is scripting.

We all love a good underdog story, don’t we? Especially one that unfolds on a cricket pitch, where every boundary hit and every wicket claimed ratchets up the suspense. That’s exactly the kind of tale that Smriti Mandhana, the vice-captain of the Indian Women’s cricket team, is scripting every time she steps onto the field. But what’s the story behind this rising star of international women’s cricket?

Smriti Mandhana is an Indian cricketer and vice-captain of the Indian Women’s cricket team. In domestic cricket she represents Maharashtra and plays for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Women’s Premier League (WPL).

At 27 years of age, she is a rising star and one of the biggest names in women’s cricket, both nationally and internationally. She is an intrinsic part of the Indian team’s batting order and has played a pivotal role in the many laurels that the team has bagged in recent years.

Early life and initiation into cricket

Mandhana was born in Mumbai in 1996 and two years later her family shifted to Sangli, which she now calls home. Her connection with cricket is a long one, with both her father and elder brother being cricket players before stepping away from the sport.

Her father, deprived of the opportunity himself, always desired at least one of his children to don the national colours. While Smriti’s brother changed paths after his stint in the under-19 Maharashtra team. It left a deep impact on young Smriti. She felt that she belonged to the field.

Smriti used to accompany her brother to the practice grounds. She would even play a few balls during his net sessions. Her family was always very supportive of her interest in cricket. Hence, she didn’t have to face many of the gender-related challenges like her other female counterparts.

The inspiring journey of Smriti Mandhana - The One Liner
Source: The One Liner

Her father believed that left-handed batters had a leverage in the sport. This encouraged both Smriti and her brother to learn batting with their left hand while originally being right-handed.

Soon she started training under Anant Tambwekar. He remembers her as a prodigious student and praises her for her humility, discipline, and dedication towards the game. This is despite her weighty achievements.

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At the mere age of nine, she got selected in the U-15 Maharashtra team. By the time she turned 11, she had already made her way into the U-19 team.

2013 was the life changing year for Mandhana.

She made her international debut in a T20 match against Bangladesh. A few days later, she made her ODI debut, again against Bangladesh. During these initial limited overs matches of her career, Mandhana used a bat signed by the legendary Rahul Dravid. This bat was something her brother got for her when she was young.

Records and achievements

Smriti Mandhana has a top-notch records table. Ever since she started playing professionally she has strived for excellence in her craft.

Mandhana became the first Indian woman to smash a double century in a 50-overs match. She scored 224 off 150 balls while playing for Maharashtra against Gujarat in an Inter-State Under-19 one-day tournament.

Her role in India’s run-up to the 2017 World Cup finals cannot be overlooked where the batter was India’s third highest scorer after Mithali Raj and Harmanpreet Kaur.

Smriti Mandhana Birthday: डेब्यू मैच में राहुल द्रविड़ के बैट का खास  कनेक्शन, पढ़ें नेशनल क्रश 'स्मृति मंधाना' की अनसुनी कहानी - Smriti mandhana  birthday special smriti ...
Source: Naidunia

In a 2018 Kia Super League match, Smriti Mandhana scored a 50 off just 18 balls, consequently equaling Sophie Devine’s record for the fastest 50 ever in women’s T20 cricket.

That same year saw her being adjudged the ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year (Rachael Heyhoe Flint Award) and the ICC Women’s ODI Player of the Year. For the first time in 2019, she topped the ICC women’s ODI rankings.

Also in 2019, she got the opportunity to lead the Indian team as the country’s youngest T20 captain, for both men and women, when she took the reins from an injured Harmanpreet Kaur.

By 2021, the batter was once again chosen as the ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year. She became the only cricketer in history after Aussie Ellyse Perry to win the award twice.

Smriti also has to her credit the record of the fastest T20 50 by an Indian woman cricketer. She achieved this when she scored a 23-ball half century against England in the CWG semi-final match. Here, she broke her own previous record of achieving the same feat off 24 balls.

After Raj and Kaur, Mandhana is the only Indian woman to cross the 2000 runs mark in T20I. She is also only the sixth Indian woman to reach 2000 runs in WODI.

The Maharashtra star was the vice-captain of the Indian squad that bagged the silver medal at the 2022 Commonwealth Games. She was also the vice-captain of the squad that won the gold medal at the 2023 Asian Games. These games were held in Hangzhou, China.

Smriti Mandhana Bought By RCB For Rs 3.40 Crore, MI Gets Harmanpreet Kaur |  Cricket News
Source: NDTV Sports

Her INR 3.4 crores bid at the inaugural Women’s Premier League (WPL) is the icing on the cake, making her the highest-priced player of the contest.

In her decade-long international career, Smriti Mandhana has become an indispensable part of the Indian women’s cricket cohort. Her precocious batting talent adds to the team’s strengths, making it a remarkable force in the cricketing world.

Her coveted records prove that there is a long and flourishing career ahead of her. Undoubtedly, nothing can stop her from making her mark as one of the biggest that the country has seen in the sport.

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About the Author

Shambhavi Srivastava

Shambhavi Srivastava is a Mass Communication master's student. She is an avid reader and believes in strongly voicing her opinions on various issues of national and international importance. She is a women's rights read more...

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