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'I never thought I'd hear people say they felt threatened to bowl to me'

the Napier ODI
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Ishita Mazumder / © ESPNcricinfo Ltd
Lasith] Malinga
Kia Super League
The World T20
T20 World Cup
Megan] Schutt
the Board President's
ESPN Sports Media Ltd
the World

Smriti Mandhana

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Jemimah Rodrigues
Arundhati Reddy
Rajeshwari Gayakwad
Afzal [Khan
Ishita Mazumder / ©
Lea Tahuhu
Mithali Raj
Anant Tambvekar
Heather Knight
Jhulan di's
Annesha Ghosh /
Anya Shrubsole
Fran Wilson
Marcus Trescothick
Trevor Griffin
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Kumar Sangakkara
Matthew Hayden
Ellyse Perry
Meg Lanning
Salliann Briggs
Harry di
Danni Wyatt

Western Storm

Western Storm
South AfricaIndia

Old Trafford
the Arjuna Award

Kuala Lumpur
Before Kuala Lumpur
New Zealand
South Africa
the Nagpur ODI

the ICC Awards
the Asia Cup
the T20 World Cup

Positivity     51.00%   
   Negativity   49.00%
The New York Times
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Ahead of her maiden stint as India captain, the 22-year-old opening batsman spoke about life on the field and off it, and what the future holds for her and an Indian women's team in transition. Generally, I'm not someone who'll call up people to say, "Look, I have done this and that." They get to know from Instagram and later they tell me. But I do know they feel proud because sometimes my mother says, "God, I don't know what good I may have done to get a daughter like you" and all that senti stuff (laughs). We're together, we try and do our best, work out what's best for our team, but professional friends to me is, after I go back to my room, it's not necessary I'll hang out with them, or that after I go home I'll be chatting with them all the time. I never wanted to play cricket to score in just one out of four matches. It's still the timing game for me, and in women's cricket, the moment you think of overhitting the ball, you mess up. She's got that slingy action, like [Lasith] Malinga, so that makes her difficult to read, but [Marizanne] Kapp is more difficult to face than Tahuhu because her in-between lengths put the batsman in two minds about which foot to play on. The fact that she never cribbed about it, and took on that pressure - that's one thing I'd like to have in my head, because it's hard when you know your wicket is important and that if you lose your wicket, the course of the match might change. I feel like, "Haan, haan, chalo, my batting is in good shape." If you ask me what shot I'd like to practise for two hours, it would be the front-foot cover drive, but in a match, if I hit a front-foot straight drive, I feel good about my batting. It's been a long time, nearly two years, since I stopped bothering about what people think of my batting or how I bat. It was never that I didn't know how to play on the front foot, I used to play front-foot [shots], but yeah, one and a half, two years ago, the first thought on my mind whenever a pace bowler used to bowl was to go on the back foot. If it's a short ball, my natural instincts are going to kick in, but if I keep thinking about back foot, I'll never be able to go on the front foot. There used to be a time when people used to say I played front-foot balls on the back foot, and now other cricketers try and play those balls on the back foot. And how many cricketers in the women's game can play on the back foot anyway? I'm not talking of a pull - how many can play a back-foot shot on the off side? For example, on the Nagpur wicket [in the ODIs against England last year], I can't afford to play on the back foot. If I'm batting well in the nets, or while knocking, if I feel good about it, it generally reflects in the match. I discussed it with him too, because he knew a lot about my grip as he had watched me in the nets, where, after five minutes of struggle, I would start hitting the ball like that (makes a gesture indicating clearing the rope). I keep watching a lot of videos of my batting every time something goes wrong or I don't feel comfortable. So I had to take the responsibility of changing my game and play that kind of a knock, and India won the match. Some of the other girls, say, during my KSL and WBBL stints, got a one-month break, or were playing domestic cricket. When you're playing domestics, it's a different thing, I feel, because it rejuvenates you rather than keeps you in that mental-fatigue space, because you know your team-mates. This fatigue thing is good in a way because we always wanted more matches in women's cricket. I like the weight to be in the middle of the bat, not at the bottom, because I am a 60% back-foot player. Score big, only then will I give you my bat." From the South Africa tour to the T20 World Cup, I played with her bat, and even before that. I still don't know why - it's something I'm trying to figure out, but the amount of cricket we play, and if you play a long innings and you start power-hitting at the end, something or the other changes. When I go back home with my grip changed, if I try to play over the covers and the ball goes towards midwicket, it looks very bad. We don't talk as much while batting as we talk off the field because she likes to be in a serious kind of a zone when she's batting. I told her, "Whatever it is, we're going there to chase it, not just play the match." If we ever have a discussion about cricket, which is rare, we talk about that partnership, because chasing 333 against Australia, in front of 15,000 people - no one quite expected us to even try. Whenever I don't feel good about my batting, I watch your YouTube videos." I have read a lot of comments about [Sourav] Ganguly sir, about people feeling I bat like him. But frankly, I didn't watch him bat that much because I didn't watch cricket on TV until I was 14-15 years old. But frankly, I don't relate to Perry that much because she's a different kind of a player - she takes her time, likes to build her innings, takes 30-40 balls before she starts accelerating. If the first ball is in my slot, I'll play the shot that's needed. And with Hobart, I felt it would be a similar kind of responsibility like the Indian team: to bat through the entire innings. Mandhana on her WBBL season: "With Hobart, I felt it would be a similar kind of responsibility like the Indian team - to bat through the entire innings" Mandhana on her WBBL season: "With Hobart, I felt it would be a similar kind of responsibility like the Indian team - to bat through the entire innings" Mandhana on her WBBL season: "With Hobart, I felt it would be a similar kind of responsibility like the Indian team - to bat through the entire innings" Annesha Ghosh is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.India opener Smriti Mandhana talks about changing her batting technique, and what she expects from herself in South AfricaIndia opener Smriti Mandhana talks about bouncing back from the injury that nearly ruled her out of the World CupAt the age of 15, Smriti Mandhana wanted to forego a career in cricket and instead study science.

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