Ace batswoman Smriti Mandhana was named the International women cricketer of the year at the CEAT International Cricket Awards 2019. This win comes after her stellar performance at the recently-concluded Women’s T20 Challenge. In April this year, she was also awarded ‘Women’s Leading Cricketer of the Year’ in the 2018 edition of the Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack.
At 22, Mandhana is the number one T20 women cricketer in the world.
According to Times Now, in 2018, the left-handed batswoman had received the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Award for the ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year. She was also named the ICC Women’s ODI Player of the Year. She scored 669 runs in 2018 at an average of 66.90 in 12 ODIs, while hitting 622 runs at a strike-rate of 130.67 in 25 T20 International matches. While her team Trailblazers failed to reach the WIPL final, she was consistently in brilliant form throughout the playoffs.
“Winning the Cricketer of the Year award means a lot to me. It means you work hard for a year and get validation for your performances,” Mandhana told exclusively to CricketNext.
Mandhana knows no defeat
This year, Smriti Mandhana achieved a career-best ranking on the batting list, in the updated ICC rankings. Despite losing 0-3 in the three-match series against England, Manadhana had an extraordinary run-scoring season. Earlier, she was declared ‘Women’s Cricketer of the Year’ by the ICC.
Mandhana, who captained the Indian team while an injured Harmanpreet Kaur took rest, scored 72 runs in the T20I series against England in Guwahati last month. Owing to her performance, Mandhana jumped three spots up to take the third place on the list.
But it hasn’t been a breezy journey for the cricketer. In 2017, she sustained a knee injury during the Women’s Big Bash League. It altered her approach to batting. “I wasn’t able to walk,” she says. “I spent two months on crutches. I used to feel like not scoring runs is the worst thing in life, but I started thinking, no, at least I’m getting to go out on the field wearing the Indian jersey. Not many get to do that. I am lucky. Now, if I get runs or don’t get runs, I’m just going out there trying to enjoy my cricket.”
Smriti Mandhana is the first Indian to feature in England’s flagship T20 tournament for women. She scored an unbeaten 52 off 19 balls against Loughborough Lightning, creating a new record.
22-year-old Mandhana is only the second Indian woman to win an International Cricket Council award, fast bowler Jhulan Goswami being the first one, who was named women’s player of the year in 2007.
On her debut, she almost pulled off the fastest 50 in KSL’s history. She smashed as many as five sixes and three boundaries in that innings. Earlier in March this year, she scored the fastest fifty ever scored by any Indian player in women’s T20I cricket. She achieved this in the opening innings against England in the third match of the women’s T20 tri-series at the Brabourne Stadium. Mandhana also created history when she became the first Indian female cricketer to score a double hundred in a one-day game.
Smriti Mandhana also made it to the ‘Forbes India 30 Under 30’ list this year.
In 2016, Smriti Mandhana had become the second player, after Harmanpreet Kaur, to sign for an overseas Twenty20 franchise, the Big Bash League ( BBL). Again in the same year, she became the only player from the country to be named in the Women’s Team of the Year 2016. Mandhana was also a crucial part of the team in last year’s World Cup finals. Considered a favourite in women’s cricket, Mandhana helped India reach the final of the tournament.
Congrats to the feisty player!