India’s opening batswoman Smriti Mandhana has already made a name for herself and is climbing heights at the rate of naughts. Her unbeaten 90*, followed by a 106 has shot her to limelight instantly. Some cricketing corners are also touting her as ‘Lady Shikhar’, for obvious reasons. She has emerged as the mainstay of Indian batting and has been a key to India’s success. It is learnt that she picked up the bat at a tender age, according to her father, Shrinivas.

Her father Shrinivas said, “She was a mere three years old when she took a plastic bat in her hand and since then she continues to hold the bat and hit big shots.”

“We never forced both of them to choose cricket. After playing some state-level tournaments, Shravan gave up active cricket and joined my business. Smriti continued and is now excelling for India,” said the father, who too has played district level cricket.

“She had never played any other game except cricket. Even as a child, she played plastic ball cricket and had never touched any toy,” he added.

But it seems all was not right with the southpaw before entering into the coveted ICC tournament. She was in fact carrying an injury. It was a knee injury, which could have ended Smriti’s World Cup dream. But that was not to be, as she battled with her injury to overcome it. But her mother Smita is still concerned when Smriti is batting or fielding.

Her mother Smita also expressed her concern and said, “Every action of Smriti during her match increases our tension. Not only when she is batting but also while fielding. There is always fear in my mind which has increased after the recent injury. I feel she should play safely.”

“She always gives her 100% in every match and after she was injured. Her physiotherapist had said that her attitude of giving 100% may not stop her playing after any injury. But her attitude only increases our tension even when she is fielding and running after the ball,” added Smita.

Smriti Mandhana

Smriti Mandhana

“We listened to advice from a Matunga cricket club coach in Mumbai. He told us ‘don’t force cricket on her though she has got the talent. Let her play till she enjoys playing and that way she will become a good player’. We followed it and we were not shocked after she was selected to represent Maharashtra at an early age.”