Epitome of the Indian batting lineup, stylish left-hander Smriti Mandhana recently completed 7 years of international cricket. Born on 18 July 1996 to Smita and Shrinivas Mandhana, a resident of Sangli, Maharashtra; Smriti harbored an interest in cricket seeing her father and brother play the sport.
All of nine when she was first picked in Maharashtra’s Under-15 state side and fast-tracked into the Under-19 side at the age of 11, the prodigious journey has continued. Impressive performances and a host of double centuries, (an unbeaten inning of 224 runs that she scored representing Maharashtra in a one-day game against Gujarat) announced her arrival on the national scene.
All her sacrifices paid up when she got to don the blue a couple years later. An India call-up in April 2013, for a short limited-overs series against Bangladesh saw her take the field for the first time in the blue jersey. Cometh 2014 and a call-up to the World T20 followed by a tour of England later that year. The teenager skipped her Class XII board exams and left a lasting imprint on the international scene. Then there was no looking back. The rest as they say is history.
She continued to churn out impressive performances and was the only Indian to be named in the ICC Women’s team of the year 2016. Her maiden international hundred came up against Australia soon after. Soon making waves in the WBBL and KSL on foreign soil, Smriti encapsulated international appreciation. No doubt, there were a few hiccups in her journey – A dry run for a while and an ACL tear that forced her out of action for a period of 6 months.
But, each time the champion cricketer bounced back with double vigor. Her silky-smooth stroke-making has been a sight to behold ever since. In June 2018, the BCCI named her as the Best Women’s International Cricketer. In December 2018, the ICC awarded her with the Rachael Heyhoe-Flint Award for the best female cricketer of the year. She was also named the ODI Player of the Year by the ICC at the same time.
She ended 2018 as the leading run-scorer in WODIs with 669 at an average of 66.90. In 2018, she was bestowed with the prestigious Arjuna Award by the Government of India for her contribution to Indian Sports. A crucial link in the Indian batting lineup, a pivot around which the team revolves with around 3800 international runs under her belt coupled with 4 centuries…she is a legend in making for sure!