On January 24, India’s stylish left-handed opening batter Smriti Mandhana won the ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year award for her phenomenal performance in 2021. She is only the second Indian woman to win this coveted award after the bowling legend Jhulan Goswami, who did it in 2007. This ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year award, which is also called the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Award, is the second instance of Mandhana bagging it. She won the first time in 2018.
In the year 2021, the elegant southpaw mustered 855 international runs across the 22 international matches, including two Tests, 11 ODIs, and nine T20Is. The 25-year-old smashed one century and five half-centuries in the year 2021. She averaged a healthy 38.86 across formats.
Last year, despite the Indian team losing three bilateral series to South Africa in March, then to England in June-July, and to Australia in September-October, one person who showed consistency with the bat was none other than Smriti Mandhana. She took the attack to the opposition and more often than not provided a solid start to her team’s batting innings.
The Only Indian Female Cricketer to have Won ‘Rachael Heyhoe Flint Award’ 😍
— Female Cricket (@imfemalecricket) January 24, 2022
While she has been a holder of quite a few records in her nine-year-long illustrious international career, the one that she made in 2021 was to become the first Indian woman to score a century in a Pink Ball Test. She accomplished the task against Australia during the multi-format series.
Mandhana was one out of the four nominees for the award alongside England’s Tammy Beaumont, South Africa’s Lizelle Lee, and Ireland’s Gaby Lewis. The star Indian batter pipped the other three to bag the ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year award. Just a few days ago, Mandhana was also named in the ICC Women’s T20I team of the year.
There is seldom any doubt that 2021 was a great year for Smriti Mandhana and with all the action coming up in 2022, Mandhana’s fans and ofcourse the followers of Indian women’s cricket will want her to fire on all cylinders and produce some phenomenal performances during the New Zealand series, World Cup and Commonwealth Games, among many other tournaments in the pipeline.
Female Cricket congratulates Smriti Mandhana on achieving this stupendous feat of winning the ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year award.
I am a former cricketer having represented Mumbai University at All India University level. I was a part of MCA probables for the U-19 and U-23 age group. I have been an avid cricket writer for the last five years. Currently I am pursuing my Ph.D from IIT Bombay.