India’s star cricketer Smriti Mandhana‘s rise at the worldwide degree is exemplary. Be it dispatching the quick balls over the ropes or slicing the ball in direction of the off-aspect, the 25-12 months-previous Mandhana has been phenomenal and a nightmare for the prime bowlers in the world. Thanks to her constant performances, the left-hander was just lately named the ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year for 2021.
Mandhana beat the different shortlisted candidates, Tammy Beaumont of England, Lizelle Lee of South Africa and Gaby Lewis of Ireland, to bag the award. In 2021, the 25-12 months-previous Mandhana scored 855 runs in 22 worldwide appearances, at a mean of virtually 39, smashing one century and 5 half-centuries. She is the solely Indian cricketer to win the ICC Women’s cricketer of the Year award twice. She had earlier bagged the award in 2018 as properly. Before her, the legendary Jhulan Goswami was named the ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year in 2007.
“She deserved the award. She worked really hard for it. I have been working with her for the last 13 years. How she struggled in the beginning, how she excelled in a particular shot by practicing it for hours, how she prepared herself for every condition and situation – these are all things she religiously worked on,” Mandhana’s coach Anant Tambvekar stated in an unique interview.
“She practices as per the conditions ahead of a tour. If she is going to Australia, she practices with wet tennis balls. If she is going to the UK, she practices early in the morning because it is pretty cold and windy in the UK. That’s the reason behind her run-making spree. She practices as per the conditions. That’s why she is in the top 10 of the world rankings,” Tambvekar additional stated. Tambvekar first met Mandhana about 13 years in the past when he was the district coach at Sangli. “Smriti’s father brought her to me and asked me to coach her. I took her to the nets and found that she was timing the ball really nicely. I was amazed to see her playing those kinds of shots. She was a natural talent. I teach her and learn from her as well,” Tambvekar stated.
Mandhana is all set to signify India at the ICC Women’s World Cup, in New Zealand, beginning March 4. India will open their marketing campaign in opposition to arch-rivals Pakistan on March 6. “Smriti is in brilliant touch. She scored a good amount of runs in Australia and in the Big Bash too. India will have a good run in the World Cup and Smriti will do wonders for India in the tournament. I am really confident that she (Smriti) will be rock solid in the World Cup,” Tambvekar added.
For Tambvekar, Mandhana is a combine of Sri Lanka batting legend Kumar Sangakkara and former India captain Sourav Ganguly. “Initially, she was timing the ball like Sangakkara. It was just very similar. Now she is amazing on the off-side and that looks just like Sourav Ganguly’s (style). Smriti is a combination of Sangakkara and Ganguly. Be it timing the ball like Sangakkara or playing wonderfully on the off-side, Smriti is just amazing,” Tambvekar stated. Former Indian women’s cricket group fielding coach Biju George additionally feels Mandhana provides followers a glimpse of Ganguly when she bats, particularly when she hits the ball in direction of the off-aspect. George additionally feels Mandhana is an apt participant to substitute Mithali Raj, when she retires, as the captain of the Indian cricket group.
“I saw her for the first time in 2014. I was the lead coach of the Under-19 women’s team in Guntur (in Andhra Pradesh). She was as excited (to play) as she is right now. She was a treat to watch. She had the same style. She could pick the ball well and hit it with ease. I still remember she was worried about the pull shot. Raghu (throwdown specialist) and I used to take her indoors and make her play a barrage of short balls. She started playing those balls big and strong. Now, if any bowler bowls a short delivery to Smriti, it will be a six. We used to call her ‘Lady Dada’,” George additional stated. “After Mithali Raj, I think she (Smriti) is an ideal captain for the Indian women’s team (ODIs). She is the one who is doing really well in all formats, she is young, she is talented, she is brainy, she is smart and the best part is that she doesn’t get into any controversies. She is ideal captaincy material,” he signed off.