Smriti Mandhana, the NO.1 batter in ICC ODI batting list, shared that she focuses on how her contribution could help India to win the game, despite thinking about being the number one batter. Mandhana is one of the key players of India who has been in a formidable form for the last couple of years. The vice-captain of India in the shortest format of the game, Mandhana was adjudged ‘Women’s Cricketer of the Year’ as well as the ‘Women’s ODI Player of the Year’ by the ICC.
“I never think about being the number one batter. I always think about how I can win matches for India and how I can contribute more to the team. Other things are just part and parcel (of the game). I like to keep things simple and how I can improve,” Mandhana said.
However, Mandhana feels this is one of the best phases in the women’s cricket right now.
“This is the best time to be a woman cricketer. Two years back, there was little television coverage and we didn’t have good contracts. But the situation changed after the 2017 World Cup. Many girls are now taking up cricket as a profession and women’s IPL will be great as many young players will get opportunities,” she said.
The left-handed opener believes that they are focused on winning the World Cup next year and thinks this would play a major role in women’s cricket in India
“We still have to win the World Cup. My, as well as the team’s focus, is to bring the World Cup home,” Mandhana added.
While asking about her feelings after being the ‘face of women’s cricket in India’, she said, “Where? I can’t see it anywhere.”
“We are reaping the benefits of the hard work put in by the likes of Diana (Edulji) ma’am, Jhulu di (Jhulan Goswami), Mithali (Raj) di and Harry di (Harmanpreet). While the 2017 World Cup run did start an upswing, the process was started by these legends. I don’t think about being the face because those things put unnecessary pressure on you. My job is to go out there and score runs for my team,” she expressed.
However, she further expressed her happiness over the success of Women’s IPL which was held in Jaipur from May 6 to 11 where she led the team Trailblazers.
“I am satisfied with the rate at which women cricket is growing in India. You can see the success of Women’s IPL. There was a crowd of 15,000 in the finals. Even though I was not a part of the summit clash, I was feeling proud of being a woman cricketer,” the classy opener said.
“The BCCI has a roadmap with regard to the Women’s IPL and we are happy with the progress. They have done a fantastic job. But one can’t compare a women’s T20 league in India with say, the Big Bash. They are an eight-team competition and we are three (one team was added this year). You will also have to take into account the huge popularity that cricket enjoys in our country. This isn’t to say one league is better than the other, but we are happy with the way things are moving,” she further added.