As I begin writing this letter to one of the the most charming and diligent members of the Indian Women’s Cricket team, our Super-girl is celebrating her 23rd birthday today. So, here’s wishing you a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY. May you be blessed with another super-hit year on the field.
Little did I know about ‘her’ before the 2017 edition of Women’s World Cup. But she knew well that the only way to get her name imprinted into record books and into the minds of people was the love of her life, CRICKET. As I was following the score update of the opening encounter of WWC between India and England, her blistering knock of 90-runs in just 72 balls helped India over-turn the pre-match predictions and defeat hosts and obvious favourites by 35 runs. And I was urged to know more about this talented youngster as I searched for “Smriti Mandhana” on Google.
There she was. A proud young girl with glittering eyes, frame-less glasses, smile on the face, raising her bat high with one hand and holding the helmet with the other!!! The innocence of a teenager and the honesty in her eyes instantly attracted me towards her. Soon after that, she became the youngest Indian to score a century in a World Cup event by hitting the Caribbean bowlers all over the ground in India’s second group stage match. By then, she had already cemented her place in my heart. Watching her classic shots is a visual delight for a cricket enthusiast like me and when she gets going, batting looks so easy, smooth and just EFFORTLESS…
The “Timing Queen” broke into the Top five of ICC’s Women’s ODI Rankings in April 2018 for the very first time after she made 181 runs in three-match series against England and was adjourned ‘Player of the Series’ for the same. There has been no looking back after that as the opener is currently the top ranked ODI player as per latest ICC Rankings.
The attacking approach you have and your ability to stay back has undoubtedly strengthened the top order of Indian batting line-up. I am eagerly waiting for the day to see you hit your first double century in a women’s international match as I got to know that you have already done this magic in the domestic cricket.
Three months later, in August 2018, playing for Western Storm in Kia Super League, you made another century and this time you lit up Manchester with your knock. The ‘Desi’ girl had rocked the cricketing world by then and lot many heads turned towards you.
You have already started jiggling the record books and became the third Indian batswoman to reach 1000 T20I runs when you smashed sensational 83 against Australia in group stage match of ICC Women’s World T20 tournament in November 2018.
Not only this, your brilliant cricketing sense was noticed by the team management and as the opportunity struck, you became the youngest T20 captain for India in 2018 and currently positioned as vice-captain in India’s ODI team.
Yesterday when I saw you receiving the “Arjuna Award” from the honourable Sports Minister of India, I just said, “WOW” and thought it’s just the best timing as you have got the best birthday gift of your life. Surely, many more to come, champ!!!
I feel myself to be so lucky to be able to watch you batting on screen with women’s cricket coverage getting better than before and wish to meet you in-person one day as you keep inspiring millions of girls across the world with all your attitude towards the game as well as life.
With a Heartfelt Birthday wish for you…
May you remain in the best of your health always and keep inspiring us all!!!
From ‘one’ of your million fans
‘Gully’ cricket player and close observer of Indian Cricket team and it’s matches. Straight forward and still socially admirable personality. Strong belief in teamwork and possess high leadership skills.