At an age when most cricketers are just about finding their feet in the international arena, Smriti Mandhana has already established herself as an indispensable part of India’s line-up.
“Everyone has certain goals for themselves, and you do go through such phases but you can’t just forget your goals. If you are feeling down, your goal should keep you going. I know what my goal is – to play for India – and that keeps me going during the ups and downs,” she pointed.
“That knock gave me the confidence that yeah, I can do well at senior levels and there is a very good future for me in the game,” Mandhana said, reflecting back.
Luckily for her, and for India, lack of sufficient age-group competition did not deter her progress. In two years’ time, having consistently hit the headlines, Mandhana was one of the debutants in the new-look national side for the home series against Bangladesh. Since then, there has been no looking back.
The setback came early in the career, but fortunately again, the consequences were not drastic. Though the sub-par World T20 campaign in 2014 in Bangladesh did teach her that international cricket was all about survival of the fittest, unshakable confidence in her own abilities kept Mandhana going.
“I think without self-belief you can’t survive a lot of international cricket, at that level. To be able to achieve your dream – any dream, not just cricket – you need self-belief to go all the way and perform,” said the southpaw who has the only domestic one-day double-century to her credit.