India’s left-handed opener Smriti Mandhana was named ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year for 2021. She beat competition from Tammy Beaumont of England, Lizelle Lee of South Africa and Gaby Lewis of Ireland to clinch the honour.
This is the second time that Mandhana has bagged the title, the first one being in 2018. The 25-year-old from Sangli in Maharashtra outshone most others with 855 runs in 22 international matches at an average of 38.86. The year also saw her score one century and five half-centuries.
In the limited-overs series against South Africa where India won just two of the eight matches at home, Smriti played a major role in both wins. She made 80 not out as India chased down 158 in the second ODI that helped them level the series and scored 48 not out to win the final T20.
“I congratulate her for this well-deserved award. She has proved her mettle in all three formats of the game. She is brilliant in knocking off the white-ball,” tweeted ex-player Diana Edulji.
Smriti proved herself in the multi-format series against Australia where she scored 86 in the second match in the ODI series. She compiled a brilliant century in the only Test (the first of her career) and was awarded the “Player of the Match” for the same. Moreover, she scored her second T20 fifty of the year in the final T20I.
She made India’s first-ever pink-ball Test even more memorable by smashing her maiden century in the longest format. The left-hander played her natural game, to begin with, and scored a run-a-ball half-century, playing with caution under the lights.