Not Sachin Tendulkar, but Mithali Raj is a bigger inspiration for women cricketers, says Smriti Mandhana

Whether it be Smriti Mandhana or anyone else, Sachin Tendulkar's fans won't take it well when anyone tries to diminish the importance of the legend.

Smriti Mandhana, the new pin-up girl of Indian women’s cricket team, is somebody who likes to speak her mind. Many of the women cricketers like Mithali Raj, Smriti Mandhana, Veda Krishnamurthy, Jhulan Goswami were present at a recent event hosted by India Today, known as Mind Rocks. These champions seemed to be having a great time amidst all the glitz and glamour. But a certain statement by Mandhana on Sachin Tendulkar made news as it did not go down well with the audiences present at the event. Her statement certainly made a few people uneasy and uncomfortable. In a country like India, where cricket is nothing short of a religion and Sachin Tendulkar a God, one has to be cautious when speaking about or addressing the legend.

Mandhana said, “I don’t think anybody will ask us who is our favourite male cricketer. I believe girls will start playing cricket and I think they will be compared to Mithali Raj and not Sachin Tendulkar.”

The 21-year-old was referring to an incident when Mithali was asked to name her favourite male cricketer.

The reply was, “Do you ask the same question to a male cricketer? Do you ask them who their favourite female cricketer is?” Mithali had replied to the scribe in question.

Talking about the prospect of a women’s Indian Premier League (IPL), Mandhana said:

Women’s IPL will be a great thing. The domestic players will get to play with the international stars. I’m sure BCCI will think about it.

Mandhana shot to limelight after she scored two centuries in the Women’s World Cup. But later on in the tournament, her form faded away, however, India still made it to the finals increasing the popularity of women’s cricket more than ever.