Hungry Mandhana wants to carry on

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 01 Jul 2017 10:22:24


TAUNTON,

June 30,

(PTI),

IN THE form of her life, Indian opener Smriti Mandhana is hungry for more and wants to carry on her dream run through the rest of the ICC Women’s World Cup, here.  It was a real gamble for the selectors to pick her for the tournament as Mandhana suffered a torn meniscus and anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee, which meant that she had not played any cricket since January.

The 20-year-old from Mumbai, who was understandably a little scratchy in the practice games that preceded the ongoing tournament, rediscovered her touch and reposed the faith of the selectors with match-winning knocks of 90 against England and an unbeaten 106 versus the West Indies.

“It’s not over yet but I’m really happy that I’ve made a good comeback after the injury. The first match, back in the practice match against England, I was really off-touch and I was very nervous,” said Mandhana., who turned out for Brisbane Heat in the 2016-17 Women’s Big Bash League. “After that I scored 82 not out against the West Indies in a practice match so that gave me confidence that my batting was not lost. I can bat. It was really tough coming out of the injury but I’m happy. I’ve done enough in two matches for India and hopefully I can continue that form,” she said.

“I was determined to do well to show (the selectors) that they made the correct decision,” added Mandhana after slamming her second century in 25 ODIs. Mandhana is far from being a typical Indian batter. In fact, she prefers English conditions to those back home. She played a part in a Test victory on English soil in 2014 at the age of just 18. “I love the conditions here, I love playing in cold weather. It makes me happy inside. They prepare good pitches,” the stylish left-hander said. “It’s not that I don’t like playing in India, but I like playing here more. I just concentrate on my game, there’s no TV and nothing to distract you so that helps me concentrate on my cricket.

While a six-month absence from the game is considered as a huge blow before a global tournament, Mandhana used it to her advantage. “While I was injured I made sure that I worked on my weaknesses. Many people have seen my game so I worked on that I tried not to play too many shots because I had a habit of playing too many shots after getting set. That was the thing I worked on in the last two or three months,” she said.

With 196 runs in just two games, Mandhana has no intention of stopping and has already warned that there is a lot more to come, especially with arch-rivals Pakistan next up on Sunday in Derby. “I’m not satisfied at all, I haven’t worked really hard for the last five months to get fit just for a 90 or a hundred. I want to do well for India and win the World Cup for India. That’s what I’ve been craving for in the last five months,” she said. “That’s what keeps me going after 50 because I have a tendency to get out after 50 so that’s what I keep telling myself. I hope I continue the same form,” she said.