Smriti Mandhana: Indian cricket’s new run-machine takes the world by storm

first_imgSmriti Mandhana. Remember the name because this 20-year-old girl from Mumbai is the next big thing in Indian cricket.Of course, it is not like Mandhana has suddenly burst on to the international scene. She made her debut in April 2013 as a 16-year-old and a year later, played her first Test match for India. The women’s team does not play as much cricket as the men’s team and that has resulted in only two Tests and 25 ODIs for the compact batswoman.Despite the lack of regular international cricket, Mandhana is climbing up the ladder steadily. For over two years since her first ODI, she had only three half-centuries to her name. Since February last year, she has two hundreds and three fifties.Mandhana is nothing if not steadfastly determined. Her first hundred against Australia had come in a losing cause and that was not something she was willing to forget.Thank You for all the lovely wishes, really appreciate the support ???. Team did the job for us. @BCCIWomen pic.twitter.com/E7aNGqlVtI- Smriti Mandhana (@mandhana_smriti) 25 June 2017So it was no surprise when she came out all guns blazing in the Women’s World Cup – her 72-ball 90 highlighted India’s victory over England in their tournament opener on June 24. Four days later, she was back against the West Indies and smashed an unbeaten 106 to steer India home in a modest run-chase.There is plenty of talk around 19-year-old Rishabh Pant and how he could possibly succeed MS Dhoni once the legend calls it a day. Mandhana, who is already scorching the international scene does not get half the attention. But that does not reduce her appetite for runs nor does it diminish her sense of occasion.advertisementShe admits there were nerves when she entered the 90s for the second time in a week but batting with the older Mona Meshram certainly helped.”I was quite nervous after 90 but my partner helped me along… Mona told me not to play a rash shot,” Mandhana said as she collected her player of the match award.She certainly had not forgotten how her first hundred had failed to secure victory for India in Hobart against a tough Aussie unit. The knock, therefore, was all the more special.”This knock is special because we were chasing and my first hundred we lost the match, and this comes in the World Cup.”Mandhana will turn 21 on July 18. She is still very young but has a mature head on those shoulders. Over the next several years, the world will hear a lot more of her and her feats with the bat.last_img read more