One of the most elegant cricketers, Smriti Mandhana turns 26 today. It’s been an incredible journey that the Indian left-handed opener, Smriti Mandhana has had and we bring it to you today.
Smriti Mandhana’s father and brother both played cricket at the district level for Sangli and having watched her brother play for Maharashtra in the Under-16 tournament she too was inspired to play the sport. Mandhana continued to chase her dream and at the age of 9 she made it to Maharashtra’s Under-15 team and at the age of 11, she made her way to the Maharashtra Under-19 team. The name ‘Smriti Mandhana’ got on the minds of many when in 2013 against Gujarat there came Mandhana’s knock of 224* off 150 balls in the West Zone Under-19 tournament and she happened to be the first woman player to have scored a double century in one-day cricket.
Smriti Mandhana made her international debut for India against Bangladesh in 2013 in T20I and ODI format and Test cricket against England in 2014. Smriti Mandhana was well among runs, but her maiden international ton took some time to come as it’d happened in 2016 in Australia. Mandhana wasted no time and had an immediate impact on the Indian Test team with vital contributions in her debut test and became a core member of the Indian team across all formats of the game.
International leagues too weren’t far away for Smriti Mandhana as in 2016 she was one of the two who made it to the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) having signed a one-year deal with the Brisbane Heat signed, then got an edition’s contract with the Hobart Hurricanes in the 2018-19 season and for last summer’s edition, Mandhana played for Sydney Sixers. In June 2018 Kia Super League’s defending champions team, Western Storm roped in the Indian opener and she happened to be the first Indian to play in the League. She even made her presence during the inaugural season of The Hundred last summer where she was drafted by the Southern Braves and is even retained for this summer’s edition.
Mandhana does have a lot of ICC awards to her name and to name a few in the years 2018 and 2021 Smriti Mandhana was awarded the Rachael Heyhoe-Flint award as Women’s Cricketer of the year. 30 December 2021, she became a nominee for the ICC Women’s T20 Player of the Year. Smriti Mandhana was awarded the ICC women’s cricketer of the year in 2021. A career that’s decorated and highly celebrated is one that Smriti Mandhana had earned.