Smriti Mandhana can carry Indian women’s cricket for a long time, says Gambhir

Smriti Mandhana scored her maiden Test century in Australia | Getty Images

Former Indian cricketer Gautam Gambhir has on Wednesday (October 6) showered rich praise on India Women’s team’s star batter Smriti Mandhana after her amazing century in the one-off pink-ball Test in Australia.

He said that the left-handed batter Mandhana has the ability to lead Indian women’s cricket for “a long period” and can play a significant role in the future of women’s cricket in India.

Gambhir’s comments came after she scored a sensational 127 in the recently concluded pink-ball Test against Australia Women.

Mandhana became the first Indian woman cricketer to score a Test century in Australia. The 25-year-old has now 325 runs in four Tests at an average of 46.42 to her name. She has also scored 2377 and 1901 runs in ODI and T20I cricket respectively.

Gambhir wrote in his column for Times of India“Just because she bats left-handed (like me), I am not biased towards Smriti Mandhana. I genuinely believe that along with a few others, she has a pair of shoulders that can carry the Indian women’s game for a long period.”

Analyzing Mandhana’s game, Gambhir noted: “Mandhana is easy on the eye, someone who has based her batting on timing rather than power. She operates in partnerships, can place the ball in gaps as if she is operating with a Google locator. Success sits easily with her and she has recently touched 5 million followers on Instagram. I wasn’t sure to mention the last trait of ‘The Mandhana Package’ but then my social media team was insistent.”

He was also impressed with Mandhana the way she is still in touch with her childhood coach Anant Tambvekar and didn’t forget her roots.

Gambhir further mentioned, “I liked the fact that Mandhana is still in touch with her childhood coach Anant Tambvekar. Sometimes, as the wheel of life gathers pace, it is easy to forget your roots but clearly, the lady hasn’t. If I read the news article alright, the coach asked Mandhana to go for a ‘Big Daddy Hundred’ and she obliged during the pink-ball Test match against Australia.”

He also pointed out how Mandhana managed to get the attention with her performance in the pink-ball Test despite the match was coincided with the ongoing second leg of IPL 2021 in the UAE.

Gambhir signed off by saying, “It is not easy for a lady cricketer to catch media attention when IPL season is on but this was different. Thankfully, Mandhana’s feat got enough time and attention.”