Ace batswoman Smriti Mandhana has been declared women’s cricketer of the year by the sport’s world governing body, following her extraordinary run-scoring season.
Mandhana is one cricketer who has steadily made a mark in women’s cricket. The batswoman 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.
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This time she finished the year with a bang, named ODI cricketer of the year for accumulating 669 runs off 12 one-day internationals. She scored 622 runs in 25 T20 matches this year.
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 the women’s player of the year in 2007
“The awards are pretty special because as a player when you score runs, you want the team to win, and then when you get acknowledged for your performances through these awards, it motivates you to work harder and do well for your team,” Mandhana was quoted as saying in the ICC release. “The century I scored in South Africa (in Kimberley) was quite satisfying and then I had good home series against Australia and England. A lot of people used to say I do not score that much in India, so I had a point to prove to myself.”
ICC chief executive David Richardson congratulated Mandhana, saying she was “a worthy winner” of the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Award, named after the legendary English player.
On her debut, Mandhana 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, Mandhana smashed the fastest 50 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 Brabourne Stadium.
Congrats to the feisty player!