When Sanjana Chakraborty caught up with Smriti Mandhana, the cricketer was in Australia for the Big Bash League. Calling her experience quite good and revealing what motivates her, this young sportsperson is a woman of few words but with words of wisdom.
Best Female Cricketer of the Year, Best ODI Player of the Year, Best Women’s International Cricketer, and so many more titles to count. All of 22, Smriti Mandhana has set the bar rather high in the cricketing field with her showing no signs of stopping any time soon. With her game getting better and each game honing her skills, Smriti is all about believing in one’s self and bettering yourself come what may.
Excerpts from the interview.
You’re all of 22 and you’re already ‘Women’s Cricketer of the Year’ for 2018. What were your first thoughts?
I felt really nice when I learnt about it. I remember reading about Jhulan (Goswami) ji receiving the ICC Women’s Player of the Year 2007 in the newspaper. It’s a very special award and feels to good to be acknowledged for your performance.
At the same time, with so much going, do you feel the pressure?
You’ve got to do what you love. I still play cricket, I do it to listen to the sound of the ball hitting the bat. In fact, that’s the best feeling ever. I just got a major injury just five months shy of a big match. It was a race against time for me. I never went into that phase where I panicked or blamed the past. Those five months taught me a lot. I changed and for the better, and realised why I started playing in the first place.
How would you describe your journey thus far?
The journey has been good so far. I keep playing and I still feel that I’ve only played 10% and there’s a lot more to look forward to. Rather than living in the past, I like to just live. In the moment.
What kind of goals do you set for yourself?
I like to be consistent, so my goals are all set in the present. For me, it’s important to enjoy your life and enjoy what you love doing, and I enjoy cricket for the sport it is and the joy it brings to me.
Who has been the biggest influence in your life?
Biggest influence has been my brother, with whom I used to play with since I was a child. Sachin Tendulkar and Kumar Sangakkara have also been a huge influence.
When people make silly comments about girls playing cricket or sports, what do you have to say to them?
(Laughs) It’s best not to react. Instead, I try to show them through my batting. Win a World Cup and that’ll keep them quiet.
A piece of advice to young girls out there?
You need to find joy in the smallest of things. If you crib about the process, then it loses its essence.
When not playing what else do you like doing?
When I’m not playing, I love sleeping. I love play stations. I watch movies, too!