Pitch Please: “If you want to pursue anything, you have to believe there is no limit to what you can achieve,” says Indian cricketer Smriti Mandhana

She’s proving herself, one century at a time. 

21 July, 2023
Pitch Please: “If you want to pursue anything, you have to believe there is no limit to what you can achieve,” says Indian cricketer Smriti Mandhana

A bout of jitters, a curious excitement, and the feeling of a pit in my stomach came over me as I walked into the large, airy room to meet the vice-captain of the Indian cricket team, Smriti Mandhana. What followed was a glimpse into the incredible mind of the brilliant sportsperson, leader, and woman. She made her debut for India at the age of 16. She’s played 78 one day international games and 119 T20 matches for the Indian cricket team, and broken many records. Needless to say, there’s been no looking back for her. Her journey has set an example for young girls across the nation, and we couldn’t be prouder.

In conversation with Cosmopolitan India, Mandhana spoke about her childhood, the limitless possibilities of her dreams, and more. 

Cosmopolitan India (CI): The word limitless holds a special meaning in your life. Could you elaborate on it? 


Smriti Mandhana (SM): If you want to pursue anything, you have to believe there is no limit to what you can achieve. If you set limits for yourself, you restrict your growth and success. Limitless-ness has had a huge significance in my cricketing journey. I never limited myself saying ‘I will only play state cricket’ or ‘I will only play until I achieve a certain goal’. It’s always been about wanting to achieve more. 

CI: What about Her Story drew you to the brand? 

SM: When Her Story came up with the idea that the line of jewellery will have a story behind it, I felt it was unique. I had been to jewellery stores before, but there was never any meaning associated with it. Ambition is closest to my heart, and the jewellery is designed keeping that in mind. It made me happy to think that when someone, especially women, come to buy the jewellery, they will feel inspired by it and be motivated to pursue their passion. 

CI: Which sportsperson did you look up to as a child? 


SM: I didn’t watch a lot of sports as a kid. We didn’t watch a lot of television at home; we spent time playing outdoors more than staying in. I didn’t really have any sportsperson as my idol, but my mom was probably my biggest inspiration. In the last few years, I’ve looked up to players like Serena Williams and Alex Morgan who have brought women’s sports to the forefront. 

CI: What has been your most memorable innings so far? 

SM: Whenever I am asked this question, I always hope that my most memorable innings is yet to come. But, I do think my most memorable innings was about five years ago, when I was playing in Nagpur. I have scored centuries before and each one is special, but in this game, I scored eighty-something runs, and it was still special because I had to play a little differently— I was at an age where I was an aggressive player, but in that game, I had to play more defensive. And playing out of my mould made me a more mature player and I learnt a lot from that innings. 

CI: How did you feel when you were chosen to be a part of the India squad? 


SM: I have always been composed; I never get over-excited or dejected about things. So, even when I got the call, I felt grateful and that was about it. When I called my parents, they were over the moon and probably more excited than I was. For me, it was a lot more about focusing on the game and proving myself. 

CI: What is your biggest dream? 

SM: It has to be winning the World Cup for India. We’ve been so close to winning it, twice. 

CI: You were 22 when you first captained the Indian team, what kind of a leader did you want to be?

Smriti Mandhana

SM: At 22, I had already played five years of international cricket and ten years of national cricket, so, even though I was young, I think I had the maturity in terms of experience. As a leader, it was more about trying to understand your team and what they want from you. A captain is as good as their team and you can’t change their game. It’s about creating a comfort zone, where the players can walk up to you and talk to you about anything, even beyond the field. I had always wanted that. 

CI: What would your advice be for young girls who want to play cricket? 

SM: Just enjoy the process. Sometimes you get so caught up in thinking about what is going to happen on the field, how you’re going to play, and so on, but sometimes, you just need to enjoy. 

CI: What bothers you the most about how women’s cricket is perceived today? 

SM: At this moment, we’re doing pretty well. People are aware of women cricketers. The one thing that used to bother me a lot was when I used to play with boys and if someone mis-fielded or missed a catch, they would mock them, ‘Don’t play like a girl’; you can just say ‘don’t bowl badly’, it doesn’t have anything to do with the way girls play.