It was the time when India was looking for a reliable opener. India did have a few in the name Thirush Kamini, Punam Raut and a few to name but none of the players was as reliable as Anju Jain used to be for India. Though Smriti Mandhana debuted in the April of 2013, it was not until the October month of the same year where she made heads turn with her scintillating knock of 224 off 150 balls in the West Zone Under-19 Tournament while playing for Maharashtra against Gujarat. There started her career.
The big break in the international level came to her during India’s tour of England where the team locked horns for the longer format of the game, which itself a rare occasion. Smriti’s half-century and valuable partnership with Thirush Kamini helped India to script history by winning the match in England. After that, she was in and out of the team, blame the Indian talents that kept knocking the doors.
The inconsistency among the Indian openers helped Smriti to open the innings and her first ton came against Australia on a losing cause in 2016. It was the year where she started to make it big. She was named in the ICC team of the year, She became the one of the two Indians to play in the Big Bash League, Australia along with Harmanpreet Kaur. She played 12 matches for Brisbane Heat before injuring herself while taking a catch. The injury forced her to sit out for months and she finally returned for the World Cup qualifiers and the 2017 World Cup was really a big turning point in her life where India lost in the finals.
Smriti, who failed to continue her form into the latter part of the World Cup knew something was wrong with her technique. She went back to the basics, changed her stance and never looked back.
Right from 2018, Smriti has played 15 ODIs and has scored 865 runs with an average of 72.08. She has scored 84, 135, 0, 12, 67, 52, 86, 42, 53*,73*,14, 51, 105, 90*,1 (last match). No wonder she was named as the player of the year, ODI player of the year and she also was selected in both the teams of the year. Talking about T20Is, she has scored 680 runs in 28 matches with four 30+ scores in five matches. She top-scored the KSL, the league where she became the first Indian to play in. Considering the fact that the World Cup is not that far away, India is super dependent on her and Harmanpreet Kaur to score and win matches. It was certainly evident in the first T20I against New Zealand where India lost nine wickets in nine overs and eventually lost the match.