Smriti Mandhana, India’s stylish opener has been named as the International Cricket Council (ICC) Women’s Cricketer of the Year. The 22-year-old, who has also been named as the ICC Women’s ODI Player of the Year, achieved the feat by giving some exceptional performances throughout the year. She scored 669 runs at an average of 66.90 in 12 ODIs and 622 runs at a strike-rate of 130.67 in 25 T20Is from January 1 to December 31, 2018. Mandhana played a crucial role in India’s semi-final appearance at the ICC Women’s World T20 in the West Indies, scoring 178 runs in five matches at a strike-rate of 125.35. She is currently ranked fourth in the ICC Women’s Players Rankings for ODI Batters and 10th in the ICC Women’s Players Rankings for T20I Batters.
The left-hand batter becomes only the second India woman player to win an ICC award after fast bowler Jhulan Goswami, who was named the ICC Women’s Player of the Year in 2007.
Reacting to the news, a delighted Mandhana said, “The awards are pretty special because as a player when you score runs, you want the team to win, and then when you get acknowledged for your performances through these awards, it motivates you to work harder and do well for your team.”
“The century I scored in South Africa (in Kimberley) was quite satisfying and then I had good home series against Australia and England. A lot of people used to say I do not score that much in India, so I had a point to prove to myself. That was something which really made me better as a player. And then, of course, the first four matches of the ICC Women’s World T20 were quite memorable,” she added.
ICC Chief Executive David Richardson congratulated Mandhana, saying: “Smriti is a worthy winner of the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Award and I congratulate her on behalf of the ICC. Smriti enthralled fans with some wonderful performances in what was a memorable year for women’s cricket, with the ICC Women’s World T20 helping build on the momentum of last year’s World Cup.”
“I would also like to congratulate other winners of the ICC awards, which are a recognition of performances during a calendar year and something I am sure players will cherish for a long time,” he added.
(Featured iamge : CricketCountry.com)