Ace batswoman Smriti Mandhana was named the ‘Women’s Leading Cricketer of the Year’ in the 2018 edition of the Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack, the publication Wisden reported.

Mandhana, who scored 1,291 runs in limited overs, topped the game while Afghanistan spinner Rashid Khan was named the Leading Twenty20 Cricketer for the second consecutive year. Meanwhile, Indian captain Virat Kohli was named the ‘Leading Cricketer in the World’ for the third time in a row.

The left-handed batswoman scored 669 and 662 runs in ODIs and T20Is during 2018. She kept her brilliant form alive throughout and scored 421 runs in the Women’s Super League with an astonishing strike rate of 174.68.

The Wisden list takes into account “excellence in, or influence on, the previous English summer as the major criteria for inclusion as a Cricketer of the Year”, according to Cricinfo.

Mandhana knows No defeat

Last month, Smriti Mandhana achieved a career-best ranking on the batting list, in the updated ICC rankings. Following her extraordinary run-scoring season, despite losing 0-3 in the three-match series against England, Mandhana is one cricketer who is steadily making a mark. Earlier, she was declared ‘Women’s Cricketer of the Year’ by the ICC.

Mandhana, who captained the Indian team while injured Harmanpreet Kaur is on rest, scored 72 runs in the T20I series against England women in Guwahati last month. Owing to her performance, Mandhana jumped three spots up to take the third place on the list.

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But it wasn’t a bed of roses for the cricketer. In 2017, due to a knee injury, which she had sustained 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.”

Records by the batswoman

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.

The 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.

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, 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.

Smriti Mandhana also made it to the ‘Forbes India 30 Under 30’ list this year.

She has captained the Trailblazers in one-off IPL exhibition games. The left-handed batswoman is a crucial player in the Indian women’s cricket team. She created history when she became the first Indian female cricketer to score a double hundred in a one-day game. 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.

In 2016, after Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana had become the second player to sign 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, the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced. Mandhana was also a crucial part of the team in last year’s World Cup finals. Considered as the favourite in women’s cricket, Mandhana helped India reach the final of the ICC Women’s World Cup in England last year.

Congrats to the feisty player!

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