Smriti Mandhana, the left-handed opener, may be just 20-year-old but she is already an established opener in the Indian women’s line-up. It didn’t take long for her to earn a name at the international level after excelling for her stateside Maharashtra through all age group levels.
Her first claim to fame was her maiden ODI century which she recorded as a 19-year-old rookie last year. Later, she became an integral part of the Team India’s dominating limited overs performances in the last 18 months which includes a historic T20I series win in Australia and couple of other record-breaking wins.
“I just can’t think that I have done well there. Every game for me is a new challenge. It does give you confidence, but I’ll rather be like ‘yeah, I have experienced success here but I want to better it’.” Smriti Mandhana told Cricbuzz.
Smriti Mandhana’s performances grabbed the eyeballs and a few months later she became a part of history after signing up for the Brisbane Heat in the Women’s Big Bash League. Her time in the WBBL, however, was forgettable, as she was forced to return with an injury.
“Everyone has certain goals for themselves, and you do go through such phases but you can’t just forget your goals. If you are feeling down, your goal should keep you going. I know what my goal is – to play for India – and that keeps me going during the ups and downs,” she pointed.
The downside of being a ‘busy’ international cricketer became visible, as she spent the close to six months recuperating from the ACL tear and the subsequent surgery. The fitness setback also threatened to rob her from a place in the 15-member squad for the Women’s Cricket World Cup.
Fortunately, she gained full fitness on time and made it to the touring party. The selectors showed immense faith in her which was quite evident, as she was picked despite having not played active cricket for a long time.
Her journey back to full fitness included lengthy recovery sessions at the NCA. Once she was deemed ready to resume net practice, she devoted her entire time getting match ready. Even weekends were dedicated to gain the rhythm back.
The results were on display in the tournament opener itself. Playing against hosts England at the County Ground, Derby, she smashed 90 off just 72 deliveries to play a central role with the bat in India’s handsome 35 runs win.
Her current form suggests she will come up with better knocks in the tournament. The learnings from the initial setbacks and failures are now the yardsticks for constant success.
“I think without self-belief you can’t survive a lot of international cricket, at that level. To be able to achieve your dream – any dream, not just cricket – you need self-belief to go all the way and perform,” said the southpaw who has the only domestic one-day double-century to her credit.
“I definitely gauge my past performances. And for me, it is all about (trying) to better it. My aim is to keep improving and play better the next time I take the field.