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Focused on Winning Games For India, Not Rankings: Mandhana

Smriti Mandhana, the leading batter in ODIs, insists that she never thinks about being the number one batter and focuses on how she could contribute to the team and win matches for India.

IANS |May 22, 2019, 8:31 AM IST
Focused on Winning Games For India, Not Rankings: Mandhana

Smriti Mandhana, the leading batter in ODIs, insists that she never thinks about being the number one batter and focuses on how she could contribute to the team and win matches for India.

"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.

Mandhana, the vice-captain of Team India, was adjudged ‘Women's Cricketer of the Year' as well as the ‘Women's ODI Player of the Year' by the ICC.

The women's cricket, especially in India, has been on the upswing since the 2017 World Cup in England where India reached the finals. Mandhana feels this is the best phase of women's cricket.

"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 22-year-old, however, feels winning the World Cup would be a massive boost for women's cricket in India and that's what they are focused on.

"We still have to win the World Cup. My, as well as the team's focus, is to bring the World Cup home," Mandhana remarked.

When asked about her feelings of being the ‘face of women's cricket in India', she drew attention to the pioneers. "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 said.

The elegant left-hander led Trailblazers in the recently concluded Women's T20 Challenge and even though her team could not make it to the finals, she felt satisfied with the response the four-match tournament got from fans in this cricket-fanatic nation.

With talks of a women's IPL in the pipeline, Mandhana, who has featured in the Big Bash (Australia's T20 league) and Kia Super League (England's T20 tourney), feels these are exciting times to be playing cricket in India.

"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," Mandhana 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."

Team Rankings

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 4027 115
2 New Zealand 2829 109
3 South Africa 2917 108
4 England 4366 104
5 Australia 3270 99
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Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6745 125
2 India 7071 122
3 New Zealand 4837 112
4 Australia 5543 111
5 South Africa 5193 110
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 7748 277
2 England 4253 266
3 South Africa 4720 262
4 India 8620 261
5 Australia 5471 261
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