Smriti Shriniwas Mandhana is an Indian cricketer who plays for the Indian women’s national team. In June 2018, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) named her as the Best Women’s International Cricketer. In December 2018, the International Cricket Council (ICC) awarded her with the Rachael Heyhoe-Flint Award for the best female cricketer of the year. She was also named the ODI Player of the Year by the ICC at the same time.
Mandhana was born on 18 July 1996 in Mumbai to Smita and Shrinivas Mandhana. When she was two, the family moved to Madhavnagar, Sangli in Maharashtra, where she completed her schooling. Both her father and brother, Shravan, played cricket at the district-level, for Sangli. She was inspired to take up cricket after watching her brother play at the Maharashtra state Under-16s tournaments. At the age of nine, she was selected in the Maharashtra’s Under-15 team. At eleven, she was picked for the Maharashtra Under-19s team.
Mandhana’s family is closely involved in her cricketing activities. Her father Shrinivas, a chemical distributor, takes care of her cricket programme, her mother Smita is in charge of her diet, clothing and other organisation aspects, and her brother Shravan still bowls to her in the nets.
Mandhana’s first breakthrough came in October 2013 when she became the first Indian woman to achieve a double-hundred in a one-day game. Playing for Maharashtra against Gujarat, she scored an unbeaten 224 off 150 balls in the West Zone Under-19 Tournament, at the Alembic Cricket Ground in Vadodara. In the 2016 Women’s Challenger Trophy, Mandhana scored three half-centuries for India Red in as many games and helped her team win the Trophy by making an unbeaten 62 off 82 balls in the final against India Blue. With 192 runs, she emerged as the tournament’s top-scorer.
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