New Delhi:Batting sensation Smriti Mandhana was adjudged ‘Womens Cricketer of the Year as well as the ‘Womens ODI Player of the Year by the ICC earlier this year. Smriti also became the youngest T20I captain for India when she led the women's team against England in the first T20I in Guwahati in March.
But it hasn't been easy for the 22-year-old who has broken stereotypes and hurdled
past skepticism of her pursuing a team sport. Coming from an orthodox Marwari background, Smriti noted: "My mother wanted me to play sports, but she preferred an individual sport than a team game. She wanted me to play tennis but she realised that I am crazy about cricket. So we decided on cricket. My parents' role has been huge in shaping my career."
Smriti, the first Indian to score a double hundred in a domestic one-day game, also said that there were societal concerns of her getting tanned in the sun.
"There were some conversations about me getting tanned while playing in the sun and things like 'who will marry me'. But I never reacted. My mother told me, ‘let them say... When you will play for India the same people will admire you'. Now they recognise me and look up to me. This boosts my confidence like nothing else," Smriti said.
Despite having family members who were cricket enthusiasts, it took nothing but hard work to get through to the Indian national team. It all started when she was picked up in the Maharashtra U-15 team at the age of nine. A couple of years later, she made it to the state U-19 side.
One of the leading faces of women's cricket in India and the brand ambassador for Bata, Smriti highlights the single-minded focus, hard work and power that one needs to fulfill dreams. She stands to highlight the importance of determination, discipline and the power of a good pair of shoes in the pursuit of excellence.
"Representing 'Power' as the brand icon truly reflects my inner strength and power. The brand has empowered me and my dreams. Bata's vision to enable more young Indians onto a path of fitness with the #FindYourPower campaign reflects my beliefs; that passion, determination and discipline can help one achieve any goal they set for themselves," she said.
Although, Mandhana has become a household name all around the world, there are moments where a world-class athlete strives to do better. Part of the #FindYourPower campaign, Smriti found her challenge when she powered through in South Africa to score a century.
"My century in Kimberley was quite satisfying and then I had a good home series against Australia and England. I heard people saying that I didn't score much in Indian boundaries, so I had a point to prove to. I find strength in positive motivation and I work towards the things that I am not excelling at. There is a battle within and that is the one that matters greatly," she signed-off.
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