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Sunday, Aug 25, 2019

ICC Women’s World Cup: Smriti Mandhana says England makes her ‘happy inside’

Indian cricket team opener Smriti Mandhana says she loves to bat in English conditions as they prepare good pitches, whilst she hopes to maintain her good form in the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017.

cricket Updated: Jul 01, 2017 00:33 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Smriti Mandhana says she enjoys batting in England due to the conditions of the pitches.
Smriti Mandhana says she enjoys batting in England due to the conditions of the pitches. (PTI)

Smriti Mandhana has a happy connection with England. In 2014, aged 18, she scored a crucial 51 in the fourth innings as the India women’s cricket team registered its first-ever Test win in England.

In the ongoing ICC Women’s World Cup 2017, Mandhana, a left-handed opener, has been in great form, scoring an aggressive 90 in the win over hosts England first-up and a brilliant, unbeaten 106 to upstage West Indies in Taunton on Thursday.

Speaking after India’s win over the West Indies, Mandhana was delighted she was playing in England. “I love the conditions here, I love playing in cold weather. It makes me happy inside. They prepare good pitches. It’s not that I don’t like playing in India, but I like playing here more. I just concentrate on my game, there’s no TV and nothing to distract you so that helps me concentrate on cricket,” the 20-year-old from Mumbai said.

Injury an opportunity

Mandhana had made a big statement when she became only the second Indian woman cricketer, after Harmanpreet Kaur, to be picked in the Women’s Big Bash League in Australia. While Harmanpreet went to Sydney Thunder, Mandhana went to Brisbane Heat. However, her tournament was cut short as she suffered a torn meniscus and anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee, which put her out of action for close to six months.

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Speaking on the injury, Mandhana said she used the break to develop her game. “While I was injured, I made sure I worked on my weaknesses. Many people have seen my game so I worked on that. It was really tough coming out of the injury.”

The youngster admitted she was nervous playing in the first practice game heading into the ICC Women’s World Cup. Heading into the opener against England, Mandhana had managed just 1 and 44 against New Zealand and Sri Lanka respectively.

Not complacent

Mandhana is currently the leading run-getter in the tournament but wants to score big again. In the past, she admitted, she had often thrown away her wicket after getting past fifty.

“I’m not satisfied at all, I haven’t worked really hard for the last five months to get fit just for a 90 or hundred. I want to do well and win the World Cup for India. That’s what I’ve been craving for the last five months. That’s what keeps me going after 50 because I had a tendency to get out after 50. So, that’s what I keep telling myself, so I hope I maintain the same form. I tried not to play too many shots because I had a habit of playing too many shots after getting set. That was the thing I worked on in the last two or three months,” Mandhana said.

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The youngster’s exploits, combined with her love for English conditions, have given the Mithali Raj-led side lot of confidence as they look to win the ICC Women’s World Cup for the first time.

First Published: Jun 30, 2017 22:47 IST

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