While Cricket was always been regarded as the Gentleman’s game , women rarely ever got a chance to be an integral part of the same and prove their worth. With changing times, even the cricket world has seen some drastic changes in the approach towards the game and women have started getting the attention and consideration they always deserved for all these years. Even till few years back, most of us were only aware about few identities from the women cricket like Mithali Raj or Jhulan Goswami and its only in the recent times in the wake of some memorable performances by the Indian women team at the World cup in England, that the world and the whole media have made us aware about all those Women Stars.
One of the names from the list is Smriti Mandhana. At an age of 19 when most of the girls are either looking for a higher education or a future career options, Smriti Mandhana has become a strong pillar of Indian batting line up. Ther left-handed batsman from Maharashtra sounds much more mature than her age, if we would have a look at her cricketing career till now.
Smriti Mandhana never ever thought that she would become a cricketer.
It was her father who uses to take her along to let her watch her brother Shravan Mandhana playing in the Maharashtra U16 matches. Still she often used to practice alongside her brother with the help her father. Mandhana was first selected for the Maharashtra’s Under-15 state side when she was only 9 years old. Still her “larger than life “ confidence facing bowlers bigger and elder than him made everyone along with her father think that she has got what it takes to be a star in the future. That’s when her father made him practice under the coaching of Junior Maharashtra coach, Anant tambwekar.
At a tender age of 11, when everyone else feels like playing with toys, Mandhana carried a bat to be selected into the Maharashtra Under-19s side. While she used to mostly warm the bench for almost 2 years without getting a chance to play, she didn’t be able to perform up to the mark when she finally get to play.
Mandhana still didn’t give up and went on a scoring spree including three centuries and a double-century in the Inter State Under-19s one-day championship. Her knock of 224 not out against Gujarat in the same competition was highly appreciated and recognized by the cricket experts in Maharashtra Cricket Association. She didn’t just stopped there and her series of exceptional performances continued in the following two Under-19 limited-over’s tournaments which also made her earned a spot in the Indian Challenger trophy.
In the 2016 Women’s Challenger Trophy, Mandhana went on scoring three back to back half-centuries for India Red and further helped the team to clinch the title with a swashbuckling performance of 62 off 82 balls in the finals against India Blue. With 192 runs under her kitty, she went on to become the top scorer of the whole tournament and eventually made everyone around notice her for the National team selection.
Smriti Mandhana finally get to debut as an Indian Player when Indian went on playing the England team in August 2014 Wormsley Park and to everyone’s surprise, she helped her team to win the match with scores of 22 and 51 in first and second innings respectively.
She then went on to debut as an ODI player for India In the second ODI game of India’s tour of Australia in 2016 at the Bellerive Oval in Hobart and she also scored her maiden hundred scoring 102 off 109 balls.
One of the biggest highlights of her career was when she along with her Indian team companion Harmanpreet Kaur became the only two players in the history of Indian cricket to be signed for Women’s Big bash League in Australia. She wasn’t been able to score much runs in the series and also suffered a critical knee injury while bowling during the tournament.
Luckily the Injury didn’t hamper her career much and she got selected for the world cup 2017 Indian squad but during her recovery period for the five months, she didn’t get the right amount of match practice when she missed the World Cup Qualifier and the Quadrangular Series in South Africa. Still her world cup dream kick started with a brilliant knock of 90runs against the host England in Derby, in the first of the group matches. Her superb run continued when she scored her second hundred against West Indies in the world cup. Although she didn’t been able to finish up with her dream of a world cup glory as the Team India lose to the hosts England in the grand finale falling short by 35 runs.
While rest of the players and fans were still bound by the Disappointment of a World cup loss, Smriti came up strongly when In March 2018, she registered her name as the fastest fifty scoring player for India in a Women’s Twenty20 International. She didn’t stop there and went on becoming the player of the series, for the three ODI matches against the England women team.
Awards and Achievements
Her big list of awards and achievements include:
- Only Indian player to be nominated in the ICC Women’s Team of the Year 2016.
- Joint Fastest half century scored in Women’s cricket ever (KIA Super League 2018).
- First player to be signed in the KIA Women’s Super League(2018).
- One of the First two Indian players to be signed for Women’s Big Bash League(2017).
Personal Life and Family
Smriti Mandhana was born on 18 July 1996 in Mumbai to Smita and Shrinivas Mandhana. Her family shifted to Madhavnagar, Sangli when she was only two years old and ther was the same place she finished her schooling at also the same place where Both her father and brother, Shravan, played cricket at the district-level.
Her family is all support for her cricket and her father Shrinivas Mandhana is the one who always takes care of her overall cricketing schedule. Her mother Smita is in charge of taking care of her diet, clothing and other requirements while her brother is the one who still makes her practice in the nets with full dedication. She is s food and music junkie and loves to eat all the famous Junk street food in Maharashtra.
Social Media Presence
Twitter – Smriti Mandhana (@mandhana_smriti)
Instagram– Smriti Mandhana (@smriti_mandhana)