The 22-year-old played a crucial role in India’s semi-final appearance at the ICC Women’s World T20 in the West Indies, scoring 178 runs in five matches at a strike-rate of 125.35.
India’s stylish left-handed opener Smriti Mandhana has won the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Award for the ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year and also been named as the ICC Women’s ODI Player of the Year, the International Cricket Council announced on Tuesday.
The 22-year-old, who has also been named in the ICC Women’s ODI Team of the Year and the ICC Women’s T20I Team of the Year, scored 669 runs at an average of 66.90 in 12 ODIs and 622 runs at a strike-rate of 130.67 in 25 T20Is during the voting period, which ran from 1 January to 31 December 2018.
Mandhana played a crucial role in India’s semi-final appearance at the ICC Women’s World T20 in the West Indies, scoring 178 runs in five matches at a strike-rate of 125.35. She is currently ranked fourth in the MRF Tyres ICC Women’s Players Rankings for ODI Batters and 10th in the MRF Tyres ICC Women’s Players Rankings for T20I Batters.
Mandhana, who was selected by a voting academy which included respected members of the media and broadcasters, becomes only the second India woman player to win an ICC award after fast bowler Jhulan Goswami, who was named the ICC Women’s Player of the Year in 2007.
Reacting to the news, a delighted Mandhana said: “The awards are pretty special because as a player when you score runs, you want the team to win, and then when you get acknowledged for your performances through these awards, it motivates you to work harder and do well for your team.
“The century I scored in South Africa (in Kimberley) was quite satisfying and then I had good home series against Australia and England. A lot of people used to say I do not score that much in India, so I had a point to prove to myself. That was something which really made me better as a player. And then, of course, the first four matches of the ICC Women’s World T20 were quite memorable.”
Harmanpreet named ICC World T20 team captain
India's Harmanpreet Kaur was named captain of the ICC Women's T20I Team of the Year, which also includes two of her compatriots Mandhana and Poonam Yadav.
Opening batswoman Mandhana and leg-spinner Yadav were also included in the ICC Women's ODI Team of the Year, which has New Zealander Suzie Bates as captain.
The ODI and T20 sides were selected by a voting academy, which has former players like Lisa Sthalekar, Charlotte Edwards, Anjum Chopra and members of the media, and took into consideration performances in the 2018 calendar year.
Harmanpreet has been rewarded for spearheading India to the semi-finals of the ICC Women's World T20 2018 in the West Indies in November.
"In that tournament, Kaur scored 183 runs at a strike-rate of 160.5, while in the 25 matches in the calendar year, she accumulated 663 runs at a strike-rate of 126.2. Kaur is ranked third in the MRF Tyres ICC Women's Player Rankings for T20I Batters," the ICC said in a statement.
The 29-year-old Harmanpreet said she was surprised to have been named captain of the World T20 XI.
"To be honest, it was really surprising for me. The last two years we did not get enough T20I matches to play and it was really tough for me to build that confidence in the team and show that self-belief that we can do well in T20Is. Credit goes to all team members, the way they worked hard and show that self-belief," Kaur said.
"This award means a lot to me to build my confidence, BCCI is showing confidence on me - that I can do well in the format and I am looking forward to do well in the future."
The T20I team has players from five countries, including four from the ICC Women's World T20 2018 champions Australia. Two players are from New Zealand and one player each from Bangladesh and England, besides the three from India.